BC Stars

BC Stars Section

Okanagan Wine Tour 2016

Okanagan Wine Tour 2016

British Columbia
Friday, May 20, 2016 - 3:00pm to Sunday, May 22, 2016 - 11:00am
British Columbia

The second annual  BC Section Okanagan Wine Tour was certainly a Regional event. Our BC Members were enthusiastically joined by our friends from both the Vancouver Island Section, and Seattle.

Our Member, Paul Browne, negatiated an excellent rate for us at the Holiday Inn in Osoyoos, where our tour was based. Jen Alexander and her staff were wonderful to us. Our room had a nice view of the lake. I think even Bob Willetts enjoyed his stay, regardless of his unexpected cold shower.

This year, Event Organiser, Joseph Anthony, planned for us to visit some new wineries, some old favourites, and a good drive to see the countryside. Joseph once again produced his excellent "Michelin Guide" of maps and route guides for our various stops along the way. Saturday morning, we handed those out to all the participants who arrived overnight, along with some Mercedes F1 hats exclusive to the Canadian market, from MB Vancouver.

That morning saw us heading up the highway through the vineyards of Oliver and Okanagan Falls, all the way up to Pentiction and Naramata. Our first stop was at the Red Rooster and  Ruby Blues wineries, across the street from each other. We all arrived there safely despite the BC  Section President being the only one without GPS and trying to lead the convoy.

We very much benefitted from the spirit of competition between the two wineries. Both put on a good show for visitors, Red Rooster with their autonomous robotic lawnmower, and Ruby Blue with "Charlie" their very colourful and entertaining host. He encouraged us to try their light and  "fun" white wines. Peace, Love and Bubbles was their showcase wine, very much in keeping with their light hearted theme, highlighted by VW Hippy vans in the parking lot. In thegiftshop, it seems one could even buy very unique high-heeled shoes!  Elizabeth Suelzer was delighted with her new, very stylish purchase.

Nearby, overlooking Penticton, was Poplar Grove winery  with its very spectacular tasting room. We posed for a photo with cars and then ventured inside to meet our Tasting Organiser, Laura Veljacic. As we enjoyed our wines, Paul Jones of the Vanilla Pod restaurant introduced himself and made ready our private room for lunch. The food and the wines were excellent - everyone was wowed by the perfectly poached BC salmon. Great hosts and a wonderful experience.

The unsettled weather began to clear a little more as we made our way back south on the highway. With a good number of SL's and other open top cars in our group, some were tempted to put their tops down as the weather improved. There was much regret from the BC Section President, as his SL's hardtop was firmly bolted in place for the weekend. We headed for Tinhorn Creek and were warmly greeted by Hospitality Manager, Muriel Allen. The Tinhorn grounds are quite beautiful. We heard they had only just been saved from the advancing forest fires the year before. It seems that their moist irrigated crops stopped the fire from approaching onto the property.

Our last stop of the day, before dinner, was the hugely successful relatively new aboriginal resort and winery, Nk'mip ( Ink-a-meep), in Osoyoos. The complex is beautifully landscaped and the buildings are in the prevalent adobe style of the area. Our gracious hostess Casandra Capone greeted us and told us a bit about the winery, and showed us their tasty array of wines.

We had a good drive and a full day and we all took a little time to relax, before heading of to the Miradoro restaurant for dinner. The food was excellent, served at a leisurely pace, we had a good chance to share stories and recap our day's experiences.

Sunday morning, some of our group had to make an early start to get home, some wanted to sleep in a bit, but the rest of us headed up to a perrenial favourite, the Burrowing Owl Winery.  Many of the wineries we visited in the area this time, specialised in wonderful white wine varieties and we were able to taste some that we really enjoyed. However, Burrowing Owl is known for its award winning reds which are in demand and are hard to find on the shelves of BC liquor stores. We arrived a little early so we took the opportunity to take some photos outside, before heading in for our final tasting.

Inside, Delainie Aikens introduced us to their latest wines, and we posed for some last pictures, before making our farewells.

We are very grateful to everyone who drove such a long way to join us. A road trip like this is a great way to get to know some very gracious and wonderful people, and that's not just the wine talking.


Photos by Saras Mudaliar