A Weekend of Wine

A Weekend of Wine

June 20, 2011

Happy Monday to you! Was your weekend full of sunshine? I sure hope so. Summer is taking her sweet time getting serious here on the West Coast and it’s hard to believe that we’re in the final countdown until school’s out. Finger’s crossed that the sunshine will be here to stay as soon as that final school bell rings!

I’m fresh from a weekend away with some fab friends. We headed off, away from children and in search of the sun, to Osoyoos on Thursday afternoon but not without a major glitch in our plans soon after we left town. I volunteered to drive but shortly after we entered Chilliwack’s vicinity, my ride started chugging along in a very bad way. It turned out to be my fuel pump, perfect timing right? Long story short, my dad (who happened to be working in Chilliwack at that very moment) pulled into our truck stop, gave Sarrah a lift back to her house to get her car, and had my poor car towed to the mechanic with his towing account…crisis averted! Yay for my super dad and double yay that we broke down so close to home! A couple of hours later, we were back on our merry way. We made a lovely stop in Okanagan Falls for a delicious home cooked feast (courtesy of some of Jody’s sweet clients) before arriving at our Walnut Beach Resort destination. And here’s the view from our patio…ahhhhh!

Here’s where our weekend got interesting. We were pretty surprised that no one working in our resort or at the restaurant where we had breakfast seemed to have any idea about the dozens of local wineries surrounding our resort. It is wine country, after all, and we passed scads of familiar wineries on our drive between Oliver and Osoyoos alone! We really wanted to visit at least a couple if the weather stayed cloudy so we made a trip over to the Tourism Osoyoos building….our best decision of the weekend! While there, Jody managed to “recruit” a super knowledgable fellow to guide us on our tour of local wines the following day…little did we know how lucky we were! We had one quick wine tasting at Nk’Mip Cellars (pronounced ink-a-meep) before heading poolside to enjoy a couple precious hours of warm sun. We returned to Nk’Mip just in time to watch a gorgeous sunset followed by an amazing dinner at Passa Tempo Restaurant. We all loved the concrete floors, rustic wood and hits of deep blue throughout the restaurant’s decor, not to mention the white branches attached to the wall…

Passa Tempo Restaurant

I’ll introduce my gorgeous friends….starting from the left is me then Aprille, Sarrah and Jody. And the fine fellow in the tux was our “tour guide” for the day on Saturday…we’ll just stick with calling him “Yedi” for now, since we don’t want him to lose his job over our adventures in wine! He was the perfect host and designated driver for the next seven hours, yes, seven…

First stop, Burrowing Owl Estate Winery. Fantastic view from the tower and you can do a self-guided tour from the base of the cellars to the lookout at the top. Tasting was by donation and the proceeds all go to protecting the burrowing owl in British Columbia…great wine and a good deed!

Just down the road, we popped in to visit the owner of Desert Hills Winery, Randy and we all had such a fun time there. I think we tasted 8 of his award winning wines! Don’t let the plain exterior fool you, this family owned vineyard really knows what it’s doing…

My favourite tasting of the day was at Church & State. “Yedi” had told us the day before about it’s modern cellar and tasting room and I instantly fell in love with it’s minimal concrete and wood architecture. Natasha and John, the owner’s son, were so knowledgable and passionate about their wines. They tasted fantastic and I brought a bottle of their Pinot Noir home for my dad, although now I’m really wishing I brought one home for myself too!

Church & State

Next stop was Black Hills Winery. Fun fact, Jason Priestly of 90210 fame is one of the many owners! Now, as you can imagine, we were feeling pretty happy by this point and still hadn’t had lunch yet. Poor Dan, our tour guide, was very patient with us, as were the other lovely couple lucky enough to take the tasting with us. This tasting/tour cost $20 a person but was well worth it, although we probably should have done it earlier in the day to ease up on the giggling!

Lunchtime! We took a much needed lunch break at Hester Creek‘s new restaurant, Terrafina, and it was soooo delicious! We shared 3 of their wood fired pizzas and a caprese salad along with lots of water. The restaurant and surrounding gardens were absolutely gorgeous.

Rehydrated and full of pizza dough, we were ready to continue but, unfortunately, my camera battery was not. Luckily, Jody took lots of pictures for me! We enjoyed a lovely tasting inside Hester Creek…they have a fantastic kitchen set-up for chef’s cooking classes…before heading off to three more wineries. Tinhorn Creek has the most spectacular view and their new restaurant is pretty breathtaking too. Our server wasn’t very friendly (at all!) but the sweet lady Carol who welcomed us made up for her snootiness. There’s an amazing amphitheatre below the restaurant that hosts twilight musical performances throughout the summer. Silver Sage was the next vineyard on our list. It had some really fruity wines that tasted exactly like granny smith apples and berries, although they were a bit too sweet for my taste. The tasting host was hilarious and they have a killer hot pepper infused wine, and I mean killer! Our final tour of the day was at La Stella. The tower and building were picturesque and I made sure that Jody took some pics of the blown-glass lights for me. They had some amazing coabalt blue ones illuminating the spiral tower stairs too. Oh, and did I mention that “Yedi” gave me a prize for enjoying the most tastings of the day? Mmm hmm, that’s right.

Our cloudy weekend weather turned out to be perfect for our day amongst the grapes and we are so thankful to “Yedi” for taking us around…we could never have found so many great wineries on our own! It sounds like a lot but don’t worry, the tastings are very small and we paced ourselves well, with lots of snacks on the road between vineyards. Visit the South Okanagan Wine Association to see some of these wineries and more that we missed. And do make sure that you have a designated driver like we did. There are literally hundreds of fantastic vineyards now up and running in the Okanagan and I’m already looking forward to my next visit! Time to recover first though…



Please note that we did not receive promotional compensation or perks of any kind from the hotel, wineries or restaurants mentioned in this post.

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