The Best of Dining and Wine in British Columbia and the World

Moon Curser wines

British Columbia will not be the first place you assume of when looking for a superb wine-touring vacation spot, however it must be! BC has 5 main wine areas and has grown from 17 wineries in 1990 to over 275 presently. Over 84% of the grapes of Canada are produced in the Okanagan space of BC. The different areas are Similkameen Valley, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

One cause that it might be shocking is an assumption that BC is just too far north. For instance, the 50th Parallel Property Vineyard, close to Kelowna BC, is about 82 miles north of the US border, so very far north of Napa. Nevertheless, a lot of BC will get virtually 2 extra hours of daylight than Napa, which undoubtedly provides the space a bonus for rising hours.

When figuring out whether or not a specific crop will develop in a sure space, agriculturalists use a warmth index generally known as Rising Diploma Days, or GGD. The GGD models are calculated by a method that subtracts the crop’s reference temperature, which varies by species, from the day by day imply temperature of the space. This components offers a GGD quantity for the area. So, whereas the Okanagan Lake could be very far north, the GGD for the area is 1200 in the north and 1566 at the southern finish of the lake. This compares to Napa’s GGD of 1458, or Burgundy, France which is 1319.

However what about these chilly Canadian winters? Okanagan Lake is an enormous physique of water. It’s 84 miles lengthy, and its most depth is 761 ft. As a result of of its measurement, the water temperature takes a very long time to vary it acts as a kind of regulator. It retains the surrounding areas cooler in the summer time and hotter in the winter.

One other mitigating issue is the rain shadow impact. The coastal mountains alongside the BC coast get tons of rain, however by the time the climate system has reached the Okanagan it has dried up. The city of Osoyoos (alongside the US border) will get simply 12 inches (318 mm) a yr. That is nice for the vines as a result of it retains away the mildew that always plagues wine grapes. The crops’ want for water is definitely taken care of with irrigation.

The Wineries of the Osoyoos-Golden Mile Bench-Oliver

And of course, you possibly can’t develop grapes with out the right sort of soil. As a result of of the numerous terrain in the space, the Okanagan has many various microclimates and soil varieties. As an example, the sandy and loamy soil, with wonderful drainage have produced some of our favorites from Moon Curser Vineyards (Osoyoos Area). 

Moon Curser wines

From naming their wines “Afraid of the Dark” (white mix of Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne), “Dead of Night” (pink mix of Syrah and Tannat), and their wine membership named “The Highly Suspicious Wine Club” the people at Moon Curser are clearly having fun with the native legends about smugglers in the space. Throughout the gold rush, this space on the US border was prime smuggling territory for these minors who most popular to not pay taxes to the border brokers. The moon was not their good friend. However, it would be best to be buddies with their wines. We actually loved the Afraid of the Darkish white mix. The peachy nostril of the viognier makes it the good summer time wine.

The Golden Mile Bench district is residence to many wonderful wineries and is BC’s solely (for now) formally designated sub-region (sub-GI). As a result of it’s situated on the western slope of the valley, the Bench will get morning solar and subsequently has cooler summer time afternoons. A major vacation spot is Hester Creek Vineyard.

Hester Creek Winery

Hester Creek isn’t just a vineyard, there’s additionally the Terrafina Restaurant and the lovely Mediterranean-style villa suites for visitors who’d wish to spend extra time soaking in the environment. The six Villa suites are situated excessive on prime of the hill overlooking the vineyards. They’re superbly appointed with soaker tubs, granite counter tops, king-sized beds, and décor that may have you ever waking up in a completely totally different hemisphere. And of course, they every have a sweeping view of the vineyards.

Chef Rod Butters

A brief stroll down the hill you’ll come to the Terrafina Restaurant. Chef Rod Butters began out in life hoping to finish up in the Baseball Corridor of Fame, however a shoulder damage pressured him to rethink his trajectory. So, as an alternative of throwing his 90 mph fastball, he ended up throwing warmth in the kitchen. He educated in culinary arts at the Pacific Vocational Institute and has labored at prime motels and eating places in Toronto, Vancouver, Whistler and Hong Kong. And in 2007 he was inducted into the B.C. Restaurant Corridor of Fame! Earlier than it was fashionable to supply your meals regionally, Rod was dedicated to this idea, even bringing recent peas from his personal backyard for his Pea Soup Gazpacho, which was scrumptious! Additionally scrumptious have been the wood-fired and very artistic pizzas on the menu. The Terrafina Boards are an actual deal with! Served on a big picket block, you possibly can construct your personal treasure from an inventory of about 20 treats comparable to bread, heat olives, tapenades, charcuterie, and sausages, simply to call a number of. To go together with all this superb meals, we loved a pair of Hester Creek wines. The Syrah-Viognier was fascinating, each by its full physique style and its look. The shade of the pink Syrah grape is definitely deepened and darkened when blended with the white Viognier! We additionally loved the Previous Vines Trebbiano, which is a refreshing wine with apple notes. Trebbiano grapes account for round a 3rd of all white wine in Italy. Hester Creek’s Trebbiano vines have been planted 50 years in the past, making this their Golden Anniversary yr.

Scottish Highlander cattle

It was only a brief drive from our Tuscan expertise to an entire different world. Covert Farms Household Property (Oliver Area) is an natural farm, vineyard, produce retailer, wine bar, and all-around enjoyable vacation spot. You possibly can spend some high quality time with the resident herd of Scottish Highlander cattle and llamas. They’re all the time completely happy to greet vacationers who include some recent alfalfa for them to nibble.

1952 Mercury farm truck

Then climb aboard the brilliant pink classic 1952 Mercury farm truck for a tour of their 650 acres. In case you are fortunate sufficient to be there in the spring – a favourite cease on the tour is the u-pick strawberry fields. However don’t overlook – this can be a vineyard! Favorites included the Amicitia Grand Reserve, which is a mix of Merlot, Cab Sauv, Petit Verdot, Cab Franc and Malbec. The heat notes of raisins, hazelnuts, and cherries made this good refreshment on the farm patio. We additionally actually loved the Grand Reserve Zinfandel with its zesty black pepper, figs and dried cherry notes.

In case you are feeling robust like a farm hand – you possibly can attempt the McIntyre Bluff Path, which begins at the farm. The 6.2 mile (10 km) path takes you as much as some lovely views of the farm and past.

McIntyre Bluff

Or, in case you are genuinely in testing your limits, enter the annual Freakn Farmers journey impediment race. Not simply your common run – the 20Okay course is sprinkled with 23 “farm-inspired” obstacles. What number of hay bales are you able to throw?

Naramata Bench/Penticton Area

Bench 1775

Bench 1775 vineyard has been named in the Prime 15 Wineries in Canada and the Prime 7 Wineries in BC at the 2017 Nationwide Wine Awards of Canada. The vineyard has wonderful views and even higher wines. Its huge record of particular person wine awards consists of many Golds, Double Golds, and even a Platinum or two.

Time Vineyard in downtown Penticton is one of the extra distinctive wineries we’ve ever visited. It’s situated in an previous movie show, constructed in the 1950’s. Proprietor Harry McWatters will protect half of that heritage by holding film nights and instructional occasions. In any case, he attended films there as a child rising up in Penticton. McWatters has been credited with being one of the pioneers of the Okanagan Valley’s wine business. He marked his 50th classic in BC in August of 2017. The time period Meritage refers to wines produced from a mix of two or extra grapes of the Bordeaux varieties. The time period was created in California when growers there started phasing out Bordeaux place names on its labels. McWatters negotiated the proper to make use of the identify in Canada and the first Canadian Meritage was launched in the 1993 classic. Time’s 2013 Meritage Purple gained Platinum in the BC Wine Awards.

Okanagan Falls

The See Ya Later Ranch in the Okanagan Falls space, was this yr’s residence of the “Chef Meets BC Grape – Taste of the Okanagan” occasion.  The pageant was made up of 45 BC wineries and 12 eating places providing tasting cubicles, samples and informative and enjoyable seminars and chef s demonstrations. The See Ya Later Ranch vineyard is situated at the prime of Hawthorne Mountain, surrounded by beautiful views. It was the good location to wander by way of three giant tents crammed with tasting cubicles or attend the chef demo in the pergola overlooking Skaha Lake.

Celebrity chef Mark McEwan

Superstar chef Mark McEwan (Prime Chef Canada) gave a really properly attended demonstration of sea scallops paired with a pleasant dry Riesling. One other very fashionable occasion was Shades of Pink, a tasting seminar specializing in rosé wines, with wines from Quails’ Gate, Off the Grid Natural Vineyard, and Volcanic  Hills Property.

Shades of Pink wine seminar

Whereas in the space, you don’t need to miss Liquidity Vineyard, Bistro and Gallery. 

World's number 1 chardonnay

Amongst their wonderful wines, the favourite of many is the 2016 Chardonnay Reserve, which gained the primary spot in the Prime 10 Chardonnays to obtain Gold medals at the current Chardonnay du Monde Awards in France. The Liquidity Tasting Room and Bistro is perched excessive in the mountains with a stunning view of Vaseux Lake. Their dedication to recent, sustainable meals is clear in the scrumptious and clever dishes, served at lunch and dinner day by day and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Together with regionally sourcing nearly every little thing they serve, many of the greens might be seen rising outdoors in their very own farm backyard.

Ian MacDonald, the hands-on President of the possession group, can also be the artistic thoughts of Liquidity. Ian selected all of the design parts to create a shocking foyer, tasting room and bistro, all with an awe-inspiring view of the mountains over the edge of the infinity pool outdoors. The indoor and outside artwork installations function artists who work in a spread of mediums – portray, images, sculpture, and so on. On show at present is the touring exhibit of the Nationwide Geographic Society. 

National Geographic Society artwork

 It’s an indoor/outside exhibition which showcases the work of photographer Joel Sartore in the Nationwide Geographic Photograph Ark undertaking. It’s an formidable undertaking dedicated to photographing each species of animal in captivity. It’s on-going, with Sartore estimating that in the finish there will probably be over 12,000 portraits of totally different species, together with birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. The exhibit at Liquidity options greater than 40 of these compelling pictures, the place you come face-to-face with the animals of the Ark venture. The exhibition had been touring to museums and faculties round the world, however it had by no means occurred to the Society to have their venture displayed in a vineyard till Ian launched his profitable marketing campaign! The exhibit might be at Liquidity June 23 to September three, 2018.


At Fitzpatrick Household Vineyards the catch line on their web site says all of it: A Little Sparkle by The Lake. This vineyard produces some fantastic nonetheless wines, however they actually specialize in the glowing varieties. The property grows the constructing blocks of champagne, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Meunier. As all the time – the location and terroir play key roles in producing nice wine. Right here the solar shines from early morning all through the day however combines with a crucial early night shadow that reduces acid metabolism in the grapes, which is vital to creating an awesome glowing wine. Whereas there are short-cuts that different winemakers may take, at Fitzpatrick they use solely the conventional technique, which signifies that the wine ages on its lees (sediment of residual yeast and grape particles) for a minimal of 2 years, typically three. Their wine can also be 100% property grown. So what could possibly be higher on a scorching day, than sitting on a particularly cozy chair, overlooking the lovely Okanagan Lake whereas sipping some scrumptious Glowing Rosé! In fact, you’d additionally need to indulge in one of their unimaginable wood-fired pizzas, probably the Hunter, topped with elk salami, roasted garlic, recent oregano, shredded confit duck, arugula and shaved parmesan. The pizza dough is definitely fermented for 36 hours earlier than baking – which provides it a singular crispy and barely tangy taste.  


Kelowna/Lake Nation

Quails’ Gate vineyard is a favourite cease. It has been household farmed since 1908, and has seen so much of modifications (all enhancements) over the years. Whenever you go to, you possibly can take a look at the unique farmhouse, then stroll down the path to the lovely tasting room and Previous Vines Restaurant, named one of the prime 100 eating places in Canada. You possibly can learn extra about our go to to Quails’ Gate right here.

In case you are in search of a spot to remain – look no additional than the Grand Okanagan Resort.  Situated in the coronary heart of Kelowna, many of the just lately renovated rooms supply a dramatic view of the lake and mountains. The centerpiece of the foyer is the Oak and Cru Social Kitchen and Wine Bar.  Led by Government Chef Daniel Craig, the restaurant gives a culinary expertise that honors globally impressed delicacies ready with regionally sourced components. His experience completely balances the conventional and the progressive – making a menu that highlights and compliments the extraordinary wine bar. The wine cellar of over 300 labels, additionally supplies the greatest Okanagan wine-by-the-glass expertise. Additionally they function craft cocktails and an awesome choice of native craft beers.

When you is perhaps tempted simply to drink and eat your approach via the Okanagan, there are a lot of gratifying actions to work off some of the energy. From kayaking on the lake, swimming at any of the quite a few seashores, to climbing Knox Mountain, there isn’t any scarcity of actions. For these in search of a leisurely stroll, there’s the 2 km Waterfront Boardwalk, that connects with the Rotary Marshes wildlife park.

So, did we are saying that British Columbia isn’t typically thought of as a wine area? That’s undoubtedly altering! USA As we speak’s Readers’ Selection 2014 Awards names the Okanagan Valley as the world’s second greatest wine area to go to! It was crushed out for primary by a area in south-central Portugal. The Okanagan wine area is rising and getting higher all the time. And now – it’s formally world class!


Please notice that meals and lodging have been complimentary. Whereas this has not influenced this evaluate, the writers consider in full disclosure.


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