Wine touring has become a popular past time here in the Okanagan Valley, and with that has come the rise of a number of wine touring companies offering a ride to wine lovers around the valley.
We've compiled a list of some of the tour groups that we've seen come through the winery over the summer. Now if only we could get out of the tasting room and out into the vineyards to visit some of our neighbours.
- Top Cat Tours
- Okanagan Wine Shuttle
- Uncorked Okanagan
- Okanagan Wine Country Tours
- Grape Escapes
- Wine Your Way
- Desert Country Wine Tours
- Grape Friends Lounge & Tours
- Wine Tours Gone South
- Sunshine and Wine Tours
- Experience Wine Tours
And of course if you want to do it in style you can always travel by helicopter.
However you do decide to see the wineries of the Okanagan, please be sure to arrange for safe transport, and be sure to drink some water along the way. We look forward to seeing you in OK Falls!
How did you become interested in wine?
It all started with tasting it, enjoying it at wine festivals and simply having a good time. I wanted to know more about the beverage which is not only a great pairing to food but also an awesome companion for good times with friends and family.
And then I pictured what a lot of people dream of: Overlooking my own vineyards one day. Thanks to my twin brother who started studying viticulture, when I was still thinking about the idea of getting into the wine business I got inspired and have started to turn my passion into a profession. Cheers to wine ;)
Favorite wine region in the world?
I definitely need to see a lot more wine regions to answer this question appropriately. However, so far I enjoyed the D.O. Penedès in Spain. I enjoy Cava - the fresh uncomplicated Spanish sparkling wine and I like the pride of the local people for Cava. Besides this I loved the atmosphere of a little community called Aniane close to Montpellier in the wine region Languedoc Roussillon in the south of France. There are lots of wine regions in the world to discover and I am just about to experience another amazing one in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley!
Favorite Grape Varietal and why?
Red or white? ;) I am generally passionate about wine and I love it’s diversity. “Anything but Chardonnay. No matter if it’s oaked or unoaked” was what I used to answer. However, I experienced it is not only the variety but also the winemaker and his philosophy what can make the difference. I am a big fan of Pinot Noir. It is not easy to cultivate, takes a lot of attention and comes with a nice fruit and acidity. It is also very versatile - as a single varietal wine or in a blend for example in Champagne, Pinot Noir always takes a big part. It is an elegant variety which is not bold but comes with a strong personality. However, I also like full bodied varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon or crisp white varieties like Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc with a bit more acidity and minerality. And then there is Pinot Gris. Smoother, creamy and nice peach flavors.
Red, white, rosé and sparkling wine ;) It would probably be the wine I enjoy drinking without even thinking about the wine itself because the company I am having it with is that great. HonestIy I can’t think of my favorite wine from any particular wine maker or region. I enjoy whites which are gently matured in French Barriques or white wines with a nice crisp taste. I love Tempranillo from the Rioja, Chianti and other full bodied reds for example from Chile or the South of France. I think it also depends on the season, the mood and the occasion. I discovered that taste is actually an ongoing process which is constantly changing almost like evolution. However, that’s what I love about wine…its so versatile and there is always something new to discover.
What you like best about being in the Okanagan?
Besides the beautiful drive next to the lake and vineyards every morning on my way to work it would be: new impressions and experiences in a different culture. It’s a great privilege to live and work at a place where people go for holidays because it is that awesome. I really appreciate being here and the best: It feels like holidays.
What you miss most from home besides your family?
What do you hope to learn from your experience at Blue Mountain Winery?
To clear up some clichés about Canadian (BC) wines when I am back home. Canada is mostly pictured with hockey, the Rockies, and forests but not with wine and if it was wine then its ice wine. Discovering a new wine region and specially one that is not very famous in Germany and Europe is a great opportunity. I hope to learn more about different and innovative marketing tools and activities being used and to experience Canadian customer needs.
What do you hope to be doing 5 years from now?
Still enjoying the wine business as much as the first day I decided to get into it.
To provide people with sparkling wines they enjoy.
Winemaker anywhere in the world that you most admire and why?
My brother. For the passion and ideas he puts into producing our own sparkling wine.
Favorite wine memory?
Les vins de Gérard Depardieu ''Le Bien Décidé'' Aniane Rouge in the Summer of 2011 in Aniane
The Sloan Family has been farming along the east shore of Skaha Lake for over 50 years. They take pride in producing quality fruit picked fresh for you each day.
They invite you to relax under the grape arbor with a juicy peach or a crisp apple... why not try their ice cream, fresh fruit smoothie or ice cold apple juice? Take in the beauty of the area and share their love and passion for farming.
(Photos by: C.K. Stenberg)
Are you looking for a great place for lunch in Penticton?
Paul Cecconi's Brodo Kitchen is serving up a fresh array of soups and sandwiches for the lunch and early dinner crowd. Enjoy a glass of Okanagan wine with friends while you eat at the communal table.
Located in the former Amante Bistro space, the new Brodo Kitchen has been put together in a modern country aesthetic with an open airy feel.
Fresh bread and gourmet ingredients make for some seriously tasty fare at Brodo. We haven't tried everything on the menu yet, but we're working on it. Our bet's on the soup being a winter favourite here in Penticton.
483 Main Street
Lots is happening in the vineyards at Blue Mountain, Okanagan Falls during this time of year. Days are consistently warm and the grapes are going through a process called veraison.
Véraison is a viticulture (grape-growing) term meaning "the onset of ripening". It is originally French, but has been adopted into English use. The official definition of veraison is "change of color of the grape berries." Veraison represents the transition from berry growth to berry ripening, and many changes in berry development occur at veraison.
Pinot Noir clusters proceeding through the ripening process.
If you get a chance to visit the wineries in the Okanagan during mid to late August see if you can spot the transformation taking place in the vineyards.
Before long we will be harvesting these beautiful globes and making the 2013 vintage of the wine you love!
Avenue Bistro is the second restaurant venture in the Comox Valley for husband and wife team Trent McIntyre and Sandra Viney. As with their first restaurant Atlas Cafe, they have compiled a team of staff as passionate about great food & service as they are.
Trent's culinary talent shines in the kitchen, collaborating with Chef Aaron Rail to consistantly serve up fresh and exciting flavours. Sandra is the consummate host: her lively and personable approach warms the restaurant.
They have called on the talent of fomer Atlas Bar Manager Torrie Howlett to create the beer, wine and cocktail selections. In collaboration with local farmers, wine makers & brewers they continue to provide memorable dining experiences in the Comox Valley.
There is a new attraction in Vancouver that you won't want to miss on your next visit. Celebrating the incredible diversity and beauty of Canada be sure to visit FlyOver Canada at Canada Place. You might even recognize a certain Okanagan Falls Winery!
Buckle up your seatbelt and prepare for the flight of your life! FlyOver Canada incorporates state-of-the-art technology to bring you some of Canada’s most thrilling sights like you have never seen them before. You will hang suspended, feet dangling, immersed in a huge 20m spherical screen while our film takes you on a thrilling journey from east to west across Canada. FlyOver Canada and our production team from Sherpas Cinema spent over a year travelling from coast to coast capturing some of Canada’s most spectacular locations. Special effects like wind, mist and scents combine with the ride movement to create an incredible experience.
Dip into deep valleys where wild rivers rush by. Feel the wind in your hair as you fly over magnificent prairies. Gaze at snow-capped mountains that tower over the land. Seek the thrill of urban environments that buzz from morning to night. By the end, you will find yourself in awe of this amazingly diverse country.
This incredible journey of discovery covers over 6000 kilometers from coast to coast, all the while never leaving Vancouver! It is unlike any ride experience you will find anywhere in Canada. We can’t wait to see you!
On Sunday, July 7th, 2013 approximately 2700 cycling enthusiasts and racers will take to the roads in the South Okanagan to complete a race that is fast becoming a must do on any cyclist's bucket list. Weaving through beautiful lakeside vistas and lush orchards and vineyards the Valley First Granfondo is now in its third year and is drawing participants from all over North America.
If you are not participating cheer on the riders from any of the magnificant vantage points along the route. Here is a video clip of the section of road near Blue Mountain that the Granfondo riders will cruise along before stopping for lunch at Le Vieux Pin.
Cyclists leaving the starting point near Okanagan Lake heading towards Skaha Lake.
Here is the full route including some information on road closures for those of you still wanting to get out and tour some local wineries.
This long weekend, whether you’re heading up to the lake or hanging out in town, you’re going to need wine. The weather forecast points to right about average for July, so bring on the patio lounging and barbecues.
With the char-grilled flavour effect and often spicy or zesty sauces, a good rule of thumb for BBQ wine is not to go too delicate. An often overlooked wine, Okanagan Gamay Noir is the quintessential BBQ wine, not too heavy but still packed with buckets of lush fruit and just the right balance of smoke and spice. Whether you are grilling some artisan burgers or your family’s secret recipe ribs, Gamay is sure to be a hit on a hot summer day. Enjoy your Gamay chilled when the thermometer starts rising.
For your whites at the barbecue, Oaked Chardonnay is a solid match for grilled chicken or in season halibut right off the grill and Sauvignon Blanc is great with rich sable fish or a local artisan cheese board. You can never have too much Pinot Gris for when friends stop by. Marry the Gris with some oysters on the half shell or prawns on the BBQ and you will really win some points with family and friends.
For salads or lighter fair a crisp and refreshing Pinot Blanc hits the spot.
Our country is 146 years old this year and that is something to celebrate. Have some BC Sparkling on hand for when the fireworks get going or to kick start your party. After all sparkling goes with everything…even the red and white!
Happy Canada Day everyone!
Congratulations to all of the 2013 Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wines. Here are the Okanagan Falls Winery Association wines that won:
Stag's Hollow Winery
Cachet No. 03 Limited Edition 2010
Storm Haven Vineyard Riesling 2011
Wild Goose Vineyards and Winery
Mystic River Vineyard Pinot Blanc 2012
This year was the largest competition in the 11-year history of the awards, with 402 wines submitted from 109 wineries across the province. For a full list of the 2013 winners, check out the website.