I have frequented some wineries in Napa and Sonoma just to get away from the hectic schedule of slaving in the real world. This therefore gives the hint that my ‘escapades’ to some moments for a trip to ‘la la land’ is the wine country in the Northern parts of California vineyards. Of course each and every bouquet that describes the myriad of aromas and flavors that constitute each of the wineries' character will just put you in a hypnotic state to experience the calm needed. I never became a wine expert, but I know the balance I prefer in getting myself what I am looking for in my glass of ‘vinos’.
I recently had an opportunity to breeze through some Thompson Okanagan wineries of Canada and allow me to share the delightful 2-day wine tasting experience through some photos and videos, and some fruit U-pick-ing which eventually culminated with a celebration of Canada Day in downtown Vancouver for July first.
The Okanagan Lake held the town of Penticton and all of the wine estates thereat are members of the Naramata Bench Winery Association. We had our ‘déjà vu’ moments at the Hillside Winery and Bistro, east side of the Lake. It was so good being there again exactly one year after toasting to my niece’s wedding reception, having the same fine specialty wines we had tasted from its cellar. The great food complimented the view from the dining hall as it was truly breath taking! More so – the experience would be indescribable with its Rosé wines and Syrah and Mosaics. Some of their best sellers are the 2013 Gewürztraminer, winning Gold in the All Canadian Wine Fest 2014, 2011 Syrah, winning Silver in the All Canadian Wine Fest 2014.
The Dirty Laundry Vineyard was likewise a novelty - we saw the Kettle Valley Steam Train tracking along the sides of the vineyard. The trellis that gave a pleasant shade to the outdoor dining area and the ‘personal garments’ that hung up the clotheslines as part of the decors of the winery ‘amused’ us. Their wines are certainly far from being laughed at though: applause to the Bordello which gained a ‘silver’ in the 2013 NW Wine Summit, Best of Varietal Meritage Red Blend, OWFS Best of Variental Awards 2014. We also went to the Howling Bluff, where we tasted the Pinot Noir 2009 pride – Lieutenant Governor Award Excellence of BC wines 2011. Poplar Grove’s Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Merlot and their signature blend called The Legacy’. We also had our samples of their famous Tiger Bleu Cheese and Double Cream Camembert. The Serendipity Vineyard, likewise has its prize winning Bordeaux blend called the ‘Serenata’, a double gold at the 2011 Finger Lakes International wine competition.
Wild Goose Vineyards has its own front liner, with its 8th Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in BC wine for their Mystic River Pinot Blanc 2013. Monster Vineyards, is another great place, the Elephant Island, 2013 Best of Varietal Wine Awards for Best Viognier. Stag’s Hollow on the other hand is BC’s Winery of the year 2012, and it had its (real live) deer - peering at us as we drove in from the winery next to it. The Black Widow Winery’s Pinot Gris is a good recommendation, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards’ Gewurztraminer… Silver Sage Vineyard – if I may state - is my favorite (so far), not only because of the great ‘finish’ from the complex wines the estate produced, but I particularly love the way Victor and Anna Manola both personally poured their vintages with a touch of witty and pun remarks of funny intoxicated truths about getting tipsy. Anna is hilarious! (in a nice, professional way… see the video I took as she personally flaunts her winery’s best sellers.)
There are many other fine wineries in Thompson Okanagan BC – about 132 of them in all to visit, and I am certainly being unfair to the other vineyards that I can hopefully visit in the future and taste the Merlot, Muscat, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvs. In the meantime, a toast to fine wines and in the wise words of an anonymous contributor framed to a wall of a retail store I quote “Wine is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”!