EAT’s Wine Chain: Jean-Martin (J.M) Bouchard at Road 13 Winery

Eat’s Wine Chain

Blue Mountain Winery’s Matt Mavety passes the glass to Jean-Martin (J.M) Bouchard at Road 13 Winery.


Winemaker Jean Martin (J.M) Bouchard Road 13 Winery rocking a Movember. Photo by Claire Sear

Quick Stats:  Jean Martin (J.M) Bouchard


• Born and raised in Quebec, Canada. Stumbled into the wine industry by chance in Australia.

• Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Quebec. Bachelor of Wine Science, Charles Sturt University

• Celler Rat:  Australia: St. Hallet WinesWirra Wirra WinesTorbreck Wines, Moorilla Estate Winery. Germany: Wurttemberg State Winery. Alsace: Domaine du Clos Landelin,  Assistant Winemaker at Australia’s Penfolds and British Columbia’s Sumac Ridge. Winemaker from 2003- 2010 at Ontario’s Hidden Bench Winery.

• Varietals  include- Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gamay Noir, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, & Syrah.

• Sparkling –yes. Varietal: Chenin Blanc

• Reputation for micro-managing grapes during harvest where grapes are picked according to taste by rows within each block within each vineyard.

• Known to favor wild yeasts and minimal use of fining and filtration techniques. It’s all about wines that express the terroir.


How did you become a winemaker?

Completely by chance. I was working in Western Australia at a youth hostel, a surfer hang-out, when one of the surfers got a job in a winery in Margaret River as a lab manager which was according to him the greatest job. He convinced me that if I could handle long hours and getting my hands dirty it was a better career choice than going back to school for mining  engineering because I could work while getting a degree in wine science…


First winery you worked at?

Cellar Rat-Moorooduc Estate, Australia  (As a result of the surfer mentioned above who got me the job.)


Hidden Bench Winery in Ontario was a small virtually unknown winery when you took over in your first official role as Wine Maker.  What was the first restaurant to carry your vintages from Hidden Bench?

In 2007, Treadwells Restaurant in St. Catherines, ON carried my first Hidden Bench 2005 vintage “Terroir Caché” a Bordeaux Blend. This was followed by Toronto restaurants Canoe and George.  These restaurants really helped raise the profile Hidden Bench Winery .


As the new winemaker for Road 13 what has been your focus?

Finding and building partnerships with small vineyards and growers who have a passion for growing exceptional grapes that match the high standards of our estate vineyards.


How would you compare the varietal character of a BC grape versus another area?

There is strong Black Sage character of sage, mint and eucalyptus found in our Road 13 Bordeaux Blends which is very distinctive to BC. This trait can be found in our Jackpot Fifth Element.


Is there a distinctive micro-climate special to Road 13?

Yes, the area known as the Golden Mile which starts just south of Oliver. Our winery is on the west side of the valley with rich soil that helps us produce powerful yet elegant wines.


Can you find Road 13 wines outside of British Columbia?

Yes, our wines sell out every year currently through our distribution in British Columbia and Alberta. Road 13 wines are carried in Montreal, Quebec by DNA restaurant and we are considering for 2012 some Ontario restaurants because they have expressed keen interest in carrying our wines.


Favorite wine region outside of Canada?

Ribera del Duero, Spain.   


 Favorite home-cooked meal and wine pairing?

Beef Bourguignon with a great Burgundy


Favourite Road 13 wine and food pairing? 
The Sparkling Chenin Blanc with a Piedmont cheese named “La Tur”.  The acidity of the sparkling wine is heavenly with the dense, creamy blend of pasteurized cow, goat and sheep milk cheese.


Dead man walking-last wine request?

Dom Pérignon 1995  


Best thing about living in the Okanagan?

Ski-ing hard and fast!


Favorite Cocktail?

A spicy rum and coke with my father. A family tradition.


What beer is currently in your fridge?

Both Coopers Sparkling Ale and Coopers Pale Ale.

An Aussie tradition- in fact in Australia, many wineries will ship in pallets of Coopers Sparkling & Pale Ale just for the harvest. Pale Ale is the harvest tradition because it has less alcohol and Coopers Sparkling Ale is what we drink after harvest.


What Okanagan restaurants have you recently eaten at?

During harvest, we live at the winery. We are very fortunate that Pam & Mick Luckhurst the owners of Road 13, have been supplying our team with a catered lunch every day from Tinhorn Creek Winery’s restaurant, Miradoro during the past six weeks of harvest.  


As of today what is your favorite grape varietal?  

Pinot Noir


Burgundy or Bordeaux?



Special wine memory?

Vertical tasting of six of the best vintages of Bodegas Vega Sicilia from the 1950’s to 1998 with the winemaker at Montreal’s Grande Degistation de Montreal. 


Last wines you recently tasted or enjoyed?

I belong to a local Okanagan winemakers tasting club organized by Rhys Pender and recently at my request we tasted some wines from Bodegas Vega Sicilia. 


Your vision for the future of  Road 13 Vineyards?

I want to maintain the passion for excellence from our entry-level wines to our special Jackpot top tier wines.  Our entry level wines have to be delicious and I want to keep the Road 13 promise of always over-delivering on value for price-point.


Anything new at  Road 13 Winery?

For me working with the varietal, Chenin Blanc. Also, we have found a great site for growing Petit Verdot for our Bordeaux blends. This year the Petit Verdot is truly exceptional and we may actually bottle a single varietal. (*Reader’s Note: Petit Verdot is traditionally used in some of the best Bordeaux blends in the world. As a varietal it is the bridesmaid, never the bride. However this is changing especially in the new world where wineries are beginning to make Petit Verdot where it is gaining a reputation for intensity and power. )


Winery or winemaker anywhere in the world you admire?

Cape Mentelle Winery in Margaret River, Australia for their ability to make consistently good wine.  Their Zinfandel is “a real bull terrier”. 


BC wine/winemaker that you are currently taking note of? 

Honorable mention goes to Darryl Brooks of Cedar Creek Winery but the wine glass will go to……… be continued with our new wine chain winemaker…….tba



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