Tuesday, August 01, 2006

our trip through the okanagan

Recently we returned from a quick trip to the Okanagan. We were fortunate this year to spend several days visiting some local wineries. Before Hannah and Luke were born we often spend our afternoon days sampling the wines and stocking up for the winter months. We started the custom when we tried a locally produced Marechal Foch from St. Hubertus at a dinner to celebrate our engagement. We came back in the summer and bought a few bottles for the following winter. Each summer we would try a few different wineries. As our lives got busier and we had less disposable income we let this little luxury go for the time being. We enjoyed getting back to our favourite haunts and discovering new places to explore.

I used to work for Divino Estate Winery during the summer months while I was a student at UVIC. I am committed to supporting the local wine industry and it is encouraging to see small estate wineries continue to appear and produce quality beverages.

Our two favourite areas are the Naramata Bench where you will find Hillside Estate Winery,Lake Breeze Winery, Lang Vineyards, and Nichol Vineyard. Nichol
Vineyard was "sold out" but we managed to bring home samples from the other three.

Our second favourite area is the "Golden Mile Wineries". These are all within the Township of Oliver and a cycle ride from my folks. Our new favourites are Burrowing Owl and Hester Creek. Hester Creek used to be Divino Estate Winery. It was lovely to see what new wines they are producing now. We brought home some solid reds and I look forward to drinking them this winter.

Even though we aimed to buy mostly reds we ended up with a good collection of Pinot Gris for the late summer - early autumn drinking. This is my new summer favourite.

Now let's get through the fast quickly shall we?


cathedral dweller said...

I went to Nichol Vineyards 2 years ago with my parents. The propietors have an interesting sense of humour. They are both former ministers - one was Presbyterian and the other United I believe - and many of their jokes had a not so subtle religious tone.

I bought a delicious pinot noir from there. But actually my favourite place on the Naramata Bench was "White Elephant" ... I think that is its name. They make all kinds of fruit wines ranging from pear to crab apple to cassis. A different experience than traditional red or white wines and should be placed within an altogether different category altogether but it is a worthwhile experience.

Next time you're on the Naramata Bench, give them a try.

Simply Victoria said...

I have never been to a winery (many breweries... a story for another day) but after seeing sideways, I really want to.
it's given me a new appreciation for wine.

RW said...

We shall have to plan a trip together - one summer -or they also have an Okanagan Fall Wine Festival around the first weekend in October. That would be a good time to go...

That is interesting - I remember that they moved to the Okanagan from Vancouver... I thought one of them played in the VSO - their winery is definitely a lifestyle. They make what they make; obviously don't have a problem selling it - they have a beautiful view.

Have to say that the fruit wines don't immediately appeal to me.... but I recognize that if I just put them into another beverage category and not compare to the traditional wines - are they sweet? Are they like dessert wines? Hmm.

The other place we went was Poplar Grove - they make homemade cheese as well as wine. We enjoyed our cheese immensely.

Matthew Francis said...

I visited those Naramata wineries back in 2002, I think it was.

Hillside and that Elephant one are both amazing. I love how they just pour you four glasses of wine as soon as you appear at their door.

Beautiful Okanagan hospitality.
And those fruit wines were amazing, particularly the cassis. A little bit of that in Champagne is a very cool summer drink.

cathedral dweller said...

the fruit wines are quite sweet. they're more of a dessert wine and not something you would want with a meal. they are a totally different experience.

you're probably right about the VSO thing. i probably have my facts wrong but i do remember one of them saying, i think it was the mr., that he was a former minister. he kept on making all these jokes about "getting saved" and what not.

Simply Victoria said...

are those pictures new? yours?
they're gorgeous.

RW said...

Yes. Those are my photos. Just took me a while to get them off the camera. The landscape shot is taken at Lake Breeze Winery... fairly typical of the view over the lake - and the colours are similar throughout the south okanagan.

kimberley said...

So lovely Ramona.

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