It is our third official season for the tasting room to be open with no appointment necessary. We are now open daily from 11am to 5pm for you to drop by to taste and purchase our wines.
I am very fortunate to have a handful of knowledgeable staff to guide you through your wine tasting of Blue Mountain wines and make helpful recommendations for visits to other wineries, events and activities to partake in while visiting the Okanagan Valley.
I would like to introduce you to some of the personalities behind the tasting bar at Blue Mountain for the 2014 season!
How did you become interested in wine?
Angela Grant - Although I did take my first wine course over 10 years ago as part of the Hotel and Restaurant Management Program, I think touring the Okanagan really peaked my interest when I saw how much soil, climate and the wine making process can change the way each varietal tastes.
Chantelle Bruwer - I studied Marketing Management in Stellenbosch, South Africa. In my final year of studies I met my (now) husband, Ernst - who's passion for wine & the wine industry had an influence on my career choice.
Heidi Astles - As a former flight attendant, I travelled extensively, and was fortunate to experience different wines from around the world.
Julie Planiden - Growing up in the Okanagan, wine was always in my backyard so to speak. Then I married a chef and had the opportunity to travel and live in many parts of Canada. During these years I had many amazing food and wine experiences.
Kornelia Brieke - In the 80's I met Albert Le Comte who introduced me to Gewurztraminer and I have loved wine ever since.
Favorite wine region in the world?
Angela Grant - Call me biased but I love the wines from the Okanagan! Unlike many other wine regions in the world, there are less guidelines, allowing wine makers to be creative and I love how the orchard fruits shine through in them.
Chantelle Bruwer - I'm going to be true to my roots... South Africa. Some of my favourite wine regions in South Africa include Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, the Overberg, Walker Bay, Elim, Constantia & Cape Point.
Heidi Astles - I would have to say Australia, my husband and I have visited all of the wine regions there. We especially enjoyed the Yarra Valley, which is just east of Melbourne.
Julie Planiden - Although I have travelled, I have not visited many wine regions. So on my bucket list are Champagne, Sancerre, Burgundy, Oregon, Tuscany, Australia, and South Africa.
Kornelia Brieke - Alsace Region - Rhine in Germany
Favorite Grape Varietal and why?
Angela Grant - Pinot Noir, it makes my favourite red, can be made into sparkling and also Rose.
Chantelle Bruwer - Shiraz, my love for this varietal started when I worked at Raka winery in South Africa.
Heidi Astles - Gamay Noir - It is a great red to drink in its youth, slightly chilled. Pair it with red meat, or a rich flavourful fish like salmon.
Julie Planiden - Lately I have been drawn to Chardonnay. I think it is a versatile grape variety, extremely food friendly, think halibut, buttery popcorn, lobster, or nothing at all. I appreciate that it has so many incarnations, fully oaked, stainless steel fermented, lightly oaked, malolactic fermentation, the list goes on.
Kornelia Brieke - Gewurztraminer as it has nice tropical fruit flavours, spice and sometimes smokiness. It goes great with lots of foods.
Have you ever hiked in the Okanagan Falls area before? Our go to hiking guru Sue Mavety sure has! My aunt Sue has spent a number of years hiking around the hills in the Okanagan Valley.
How long have you lived in Okanagan Falls? What attracted you to the area?
12 years. I visited the Okanagan a lot as a child and with our children when they were young and we wanted to leave the Lower Mainland area.
What do you enjoy most about hiking around the Okanagan?
The weather is normally dry as compared to hiking on the coast where I used to live. And you get some lovely views without having to climb really high to get out of the dense vegetation that is on the coast.
Do you hike with an organized group and if so what is the name of the club?
Yes I belong to the Penticton Adventurers Club. (I am president at the moment) We are a hiking/social club for people over 55 years of age. We have over 100 members, about 70% of which are hikers. We hike 2-3 times a week and our hikes range from rambles too strenuous in difficulty.
What time of the year is your most favourite time to go on a hike?
I enjoy hiking at all times of the year, they each have their own special attributes. We hike the lower trails in the valley in the winter, but I love the snow and we do a lot of snow-shoeing with the club as well. The flowers in the spring and summer are beautiful and there are so many different varieties to see. The golden colours of the grasses in the fall are also wonderful. And we have seen deer, mountain sheep, bear and moose on our hikes.
What hikes would you recommend in OK Falls?
Being in a small town hiking is really at your doorstep. The KVR (Kettle Valley Railway) is always an interesting "walk" as opposed to a hike. There is lots to see along the lake and you can go north from OK Falls to Kaleden (just over 4km one way) or you can head south down the river all the way to the south end of Vaseux Lake (this is long probably close to 8km one way from the town site of OK Falls). It is also different from the northern route as it is along the river most of the way.
The hike up Peach Cliff area gives some wonderful views of the valley both north to Penticton and south past McIntyre Bluff. You do not even need to go to the top to get some great views. There are many trails but they are not signed or flagged. They are animal trails that we humans have now used enough that they are very apparent. There is also an old mine in the area with some tunnel openings and an old quarry filled with water where they did some open-pit mining. An old rapidly deteriorating shed with core samples is also in the area. We usually see deer and often mountain sheep in this area as well.
Thank you for sharing with us Aunt Sue!!
Join the Community Celebration in the heart of Okanagan Falls at Kenyon Park!
If you've driven up Vancouver Hill on the way to wine touring on the Naramata Bench and ever wondered what that glut of parked cars is just as you leave town, it's definitely the hungry patrons of The Bench Market.
No longer the best kept secret in Penticton, this place is a busy favourite spot for locals and visitors alike. Great sandwiches and salad, and arguably the best coffee in Penticton, The Bench has been hopping since it opened.
Fresh baked goods are a favourite, as are Eggs Benny on the weekends. While there are some seriously good meat sandwiches happening here on many occasions, there are plenty of vegetarian options perfect for lunches in the hot Okanagan sun.
The Bench Market
368 Vancouver Avenue
(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!
(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
Penticton is located in the centre of an amazing agricultural area. From May through October some of the best fruit, produce, and grapes in the country can be found here. This has of course led to a burgeoning culinary scene set against the perfect backdrop and paired with some delicious Okanagan wines.
Here are a few of our picks for places to eat in Penticton:
Lunch / Dinner
- The Cobblestone Restaurant and Wine Bar at Naramata Heritage Inn
- The Patio at Lake Breeze Winery
- Hillside Estate Winery Bistro
- Vanilla Pod at Poplar Grove Winery
- The Kitchen at Misconduct Winery
- The Hooded Merganser at Penticton Lakeside Resort
- Theo's Greek Restaurant
Of course there are many other great restaurants throughout the Okanagan Valley.
If you have any other suggestions, or if there is somewhere that you've particularly enjoyed, please feel free to comment below!
In the spirit of the 2013 Wine Blogger's Conference being held in
Penticton this weekend, we thought it appropriate to create a series
of blog posts highlighting some of our favourite things to do here in
Whether you're joining us locally from the Okanagan, or from abroad in
Canada and the US we welcome all of our cyber wine friends to this
amazing part of the world.
We hope you'll enjoy a sunny weekend here along with some fantastic
wine and great people. Should you require any information while you're
here, or would just like to stop by for a glass of bubbly please
contact us in the tasting room and we'll be happy to assist you.
If you're just tuning in and wondering what's happening for the
conference, or would like to attend, you can find full details at the
Wine Blogger's Conference website.
The choice to use cork as a closure for wine is something of a contentious debate. While there are many arguments in favour of a manufactured screw cap closure, or Stelvin Cap as it is known by popular trade name, there also exist many arguments against.
Blue Mountain continues to use all natural corks. This is partly due to the availability of top quality corks, and the increased quality of the cork available to us. It is also a style of winemaking that we feel has worked for us. Oxygen transfer, or lack thereof, into the bottle over time is a significant factor in how a wine ages over time, and we have reached a point where we know how our wines age in the bottle given the methods we have been using. A changeover to a metal screw cap would dictate a new approach to making our wines, and would also take time to understand whether or not we had made the correct choices in type of enclosure, type of glass, cap liner porosity, etc.
While there is certainly a place for the screw cap, we are sticking with the natural cork for our wines based on experience and testing over time. While we would never say never, at the moment there's just something satisfying about popping a cork. Call us old fashioned, but we like it that way.
What do you think? Do you prefer cork or screw cap?