B.C. VQA, British Columbia Wine, Little Engine Wines, Naramata Bench, Okanagan Crush Pad, Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, Robin Ridge Winery, Roche Wines, Spearhead Winery, Stag's Hollow Winery, Tightrope Winery, Wine, Wine Tourism
Last week, I was pleased to drive up to the Okanagan Valley on a day that sparkled with sunshine and a great winery tour itinerary.
Over the course of 8 days, I visited 12 wineries, one brewery and one cidery. I swam in Lake Okanagan. Twice. I rode my very first scooter – by myself. (Thank you, D) And, I did a deep dive into our incredible wine industry that is alive and kicking and observing all safety procedures incredibly well.
For those of you aching to hit the road and get out to do some wine touring, I have a selection of wineries to visit based on my experiences last week. These are not in any particular order – but all incredibly worthwhile. Have fun. Be safe.
- Okanagan Crush Pad – Summerland, B.C. There is ample room at the Okanagan Crush Pad to enjoy an incredibly priced $20 tasting flight alongside small bites until the end of July (prices may go up in August). There are four tasting options to choose from, such as ‘Raised in Concrete’ that will please your palate. Everything has been thought out perfectly and is delivered professionally. Dog friendly. Reservations required. Open from 11 – 5 PM daily — a first-rate experience.
- Robin Ridge Winery – Keremeos, B.C. Based in the heart of the Similkameen Valley, Robin Ridge Winery is one of my favourite places to visit. Winemaker, viticulturalist and proprietor, Tim Cottrill is a gentleman whose passion for organic winemaking is humble and endearing. The wines are excellent, and I am still surprised by how many people do not know about them! Open by appointment.
- Tightrope Winery – Naramata Bench, B.C. Open for reserved tastings and by appointment, Tightrope Winery is always on my list of places to visit. Lyndsay and Graham O’Rourke pour passion and conviction into their work. Tastings are available in the vineyard – weather permitting. Try their Viognier, Syrah and Riesling, and you will leave happy! The tasting fee is $15 per person. However, fee waived with the purchase of two bottles of wine.
- Stag’s Hollow Winery– Okanagan Falls, B.C. This was a first-time visit for me, and I am such a fan! Boasting a wide array of unique wine varieties, winemaker Keira LeFranc is a rising star who takes chances and crafts fantastic wines. There are three tasting options – White Wines, Red Wines or Mixed Wine Tasting for a fee of $10 per person and is waived when two bottles of wine are purchased. All tasting proceeds go to the SORCO Raptor Rehab. Reservations required.
- Little Engine Wines – Naramata Bench, B.C. – Little Engine is raising the bar for our B.C. wine industry. There are two tasting options by reservation. Choose either the Enthusiast for $10 with a tasting flight from their ‘Silver’ series wines. Fee waived with the purchase of one bottle of wine. Or, choose the Collector option for $20 and sample wines from their Silver, Gold and Platinum series. Fee waived when you spend $50 in wine. Winemaker Scott Robinson is one of the most skilled winemakers I know.
- Spearhead Winery – Kelowna, B.C. – Another first for me on this trip, I have nothing but good things to say. Spearhead Winery is known for their Pinot Noir portfolio, so you know where to go if this grape variety makes you happy. You can select either the ‘Chilled White’ flight, the ‘Pinot’ flight with two chilled selections and three red Pinot Noirs or the ‘Red’ flight with four Pinot Noir selections. Reservations required, and there is a fee of $10 – waived with the purchase of two bottles of wine.
- Roche Wines – Naramata Bench, B.C. – Yes, another first for me – I told you I had a great itinerary! I have wanted to visit this winery for years, and this was the time. Steeped in French tradition, Pénélope Roche, who shares winemaking and viticulture responsibilities with her husband, Dylan has six generations of winemaking in her blood. Tasting is available by reservation only and is $10 – fee waived with wine purchase.