(Arctic Char entree at Raudz)
One of the original "farm to table" concept restaurants in the Okanagan, Raudz has become a perennial favourite place to eat in Kelowna. In fact, it has become a favourite for diners throughout the valley attracting patrons from places as far away as, oh say, Okanagan Falls.
Building on a stellar reputation built in some of Canada's best luxury hotel restaurants including the Pointe at the Wickaninnish Inn, Chef Rod Butters has put together an exceptional dining experience in Kelowna with partner Audrey Surrao.
(Crab Cappuccino at Raudz)
Food at Raudz is reasonably priced with entrees falling between $14 and $30, and is sourced as much as possible from local and sustainable sources.
The wine list is entirely local and selected from top wine producers across the valley. We are proud to have our Pinot Noir and Brut Sparkling featured amongst some of our other favourites from the Okanagan.
If you're looking for a great place to eat in Kelowna, definitely stop in at Raudz. Get there a little early to stake out a table or seats at the bar.
Raudz Regional Table
1560 Water Street
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
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.
Back for it's second year the Okanagan Falls Winery Association's Party in the Park kicks off summer on Friday July 12th, 2013. The event runs from 5pm till 9pm at Kenyon Park and tickets are going to go fast.
Get your beach party groove on with the great sounds of The Gal Avanters.
Meet the elusive winemakers and owners of the 12 OK Falls Winery Association wineries and enjoy the excellent southern BBQ prepared by The Chef Instead. Dinner and dancing with a live band at Kenyon Park seems like an awesome way to kick start an Okanagan summer! Tickets are $50 and are available at
So tell your friends, to come celebrate summer and the wine of Okanagan Falls on the beach, along with the personalities that make up the OK Falls Winery Association. Summer never felt so good.
From vineyard rookies to those connoisseurs who need a new angle on the Okanagan wine scene, try a Heli-Wine Tour. This is a one of a kind experience tailor-made by you which combines scenic helicopter flights around the Okanagan with stops at your choice of several participating wineries to enjoy the beverage that has made the valley so well-known. Valhalla Helicopters has agreements to land at approximately 30 vineyards around the Okangan, Shuswap and Similkameen.
A full day Heli-Wine tour is a 6 hour experience - starting at 10am and ending at 4pm - where you select about 4 wineries to visit. There are over 30 participating wineries from the Shuswap in the North to the US border in the South.
You may choose to go north with winery options in Kelowna, Lake Country and Salmon Arm, or select a southern route with vineyard choices in Lake Country, Kelowna, Summerland, Naramata, Penticton, Okanagan Falls, Oliver, Osoyoos, Cawston and Keremeos.The helicopter can seat up to 4 people (weight restrictions apply), but some wineries are only accessible with one couple onboard.
Most wineries have picnic spots and several have restaurants or will do a special catered lunch if you'd like to add that on.
It's that time again, when tasting rooms open their doors to welcome visitors to the valley and an abundance of festivals occupy every weekend.
Coming up in early May is the 19th annual Spring Okanagan Wine Festival. There are a myriad of events to attend and no shortage of options on dates, times and locations.
Deciding which to attend can be the toughest challenge but decide you should because many of these events sell out quickly and you don't want to miss out.
One new event this year is the Valley First Blind Wine and Cheese Soiree on May 11th at the Ramada Inn and Conference Centre Penticton. This involves items being served blind. Not guests being blindfolded. Wines are served with covered labels and cheeses are displayed without descriptions. Try your hand at guessing the type of wine or cheese. Tickets are available at selectyourtickets.com
Blue Mountain Vineyards is pleased to once again be a participating winery at Bacchanalia at the Penticton Lakeside Resort on May 4th starting at 7pm. Tickets will sell out quickly and are available from the Penticton Lakeside. www.pentictonlakesiderresort.com 250-493-8221
Every year in April we see the arrival of an Okanagan flower that holds a special place in the hearts of everyone at Blue Mountain Vineyard. The Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) is part of the Aster family but is also known as the Okanagan Sun Flower.
For Blue Mountain it is the flower that graces the tops of all of our bottles and appears on our labels. Arrowleaf balsamroot can also be found in abundance on the hillsides along Allendale Rd on the drive past the vineyards on the way to the winery.
The bright yellow flower prefers drier, open sloped and sagebrush flats from low to moderate elevations. Habitat we have heaps of in the Okanagan thus its appearance on hillsides all over the valley.
What you may not know is that all of the plant can be eaten. The leaves can be consumed raw or steamed and its large taproot can be dried, roasted or steamed. The bloom does contain small seeds that can be eaten raw or pounded for use as a flower. It therefore is a popular food for wildlife and domestic animals.
So get out on a local trail in the Okanagan and enjoy these sunny flowers over the next few weeks. Once the flowers are gone and the leaves fade it is difficult to find evidence of these welcomed bursts of colour.
Do you ever ask yourself what is the best wine in my price range that I can buy in this store right now? Now there is a way of finding out. WineAlign, Canada’s largest and most popular online wine site recently launched in BC and has more than 4,500 wines from the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch in its database with more being added every day.
WineAlign was founded four years ago by Toronto web entrepreneur and wine lover Bryan McCaw, with the aim of providing immediate, objective and comprehensive advice to shoppers at Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) stores. In 2012 WineAlign attracted over 967,000 different people, making it one of the busiest wine sites in Canada.
WineAlign now provides B.C.-based wine consumers with ratings and multiple critic reviews on wines available at their local BC Liquor Stores. It will also provide inventory levels at their nearest BCLDB store.
Following its debut in B.C., WineAlign will be exploring partnerships with private wine retailers in an effort to provide an even wider service to B.C.-based consumers.
"This is a light, spry, savoury, young and very complete pinot sports lifted cranberry, currant fruit with floral notes and beautifully integrated oak vanillin. It’s slim, tight, savory and complete. Excellent length here, with minerality, fruit and herbal notes nicely intertwined. Easy to like now but give it a few months to soften a bit. Should live through 2017." David Lawrason, Tasted February 2013.
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