view from Blue Mountain Winery
For those who don't know about it or have yet to participate in it, the Okanagan wine festival is a food and wine lovers utopia. This takes place in British Columbia's "Okanagan valley", one of the worlds smallest wine areas (just over 7400 planted acres). From October 1st - 10th there are over 150 events celebrating the valley's wine culture. The events include wine tasting, wine education, gourmet food, art, wine makers dinners, wine tours, vineyard experiences and a few others that I'm sure I've forgotten to mention. I can truly say that I get more excited about this event than any holiday. Although it would be great to take in every event it would be an impossibility due to the amount of events, time, travel and the inability of my stomach and liver to digest and process that much food and wine. However we were able to take in an array of diverse events throughout the ten days.
Oct. 1stAfter a traditional cappuccino and an early lunch we headed to our favorite local sparkling wine producer Blue Mountain Winery. The family run vineyard has a traditional story book feel to it and all of the characters perfectly fitted, they even named different plots of land after family members. Whether it is truly "story book" or not I can't be sure but check out their web site, read through it and comment back to me on your opinions. Better yet, go to the vineyard itself and meet the people (make an appointment first as they are always very busy).
We then spent the next 3 hours traveling from winery to winery sampling a multitude of varietals, enjoying art displays and the overall remarkable weather.
|Tangled Vines wine tasting|
The first winery of this group was the unpretentious Tangled Vines Winery. Here is an exert from their website “…made by three guys and a girl,” the ownership group are partners Craig McKenzie “makes the wine”, John Hill “sells the wine”, Maxine Hill “talks about the wine”, and brother Clark McKenzie. The branding of Tangled Vines is fun-spirited and full of double entendres, making every bottle of Tangled Vines an experience. This reflects the proprietor’s belief that wine is a lifestyle choice, a fun lifestyle choice.
|Tangled vines art display|
|Wild Goose Winery|
Making our way out of the "Okanagan Falls" area we headed to Naramata via Penticton. Although this area is dubbed the "Napa of the north" it certainly has it's own flavor. I for one hope the label doesn't stick, (nothing against Napa/Sonoma, I very much love the area) I simply feel that the area has it's own merits and quite frankly isn't a northern version of Napa, it's...well, Naramata.
Sorry for the little rant. Carrying on, we stopped in at Blasted Church Winery. More on this winery in a later blog (Oct. 9th).
|Blasted church. Didn't I say it was an exceptional day?|
|wine tasting at Blasted Church|
As the sun set we made our way to our final wine destination, the Naramata Heritage Inn. When you walk in, the place smells old, the way it should. I can't help but feel like I am breathing in history when I step into the lobby. The Inn itself has always been an epicenter for wine events at this time of year and October 2010 was no exception. This year was the wine makers dinner: "Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars-Pinots and Truffles". Oddly at this point in time I have a line from a "Kinks" song "and now we're back where we started" running through my head.
|dinner menu (if you hadn't already guessed)|
This was Ian and Jane Mavety's first wine makers event (as I understand it). Now that the kids have become proficient at running the day to day operations of the vineyard they finally have the chance to go out on the town. Although Ian is not a professional speaker, his "down to earth" presentation throughout the dinner was captivating. His speech and mannerisms resonated with honest integrity and a respect for his "terrior". I couldn't help but think that this was a man who will live and die on his vineyard and be completely happy and at peace in doing so.
|Ian and Jane (seated)|
The dinner itself was exceptional and chef Thomas Render performed his usual (and sometimes unusual) magic with the food and wine pairings.
Although there were many events to choose from on this day we were extremely excited to participate in this one. One of our favorite wineries at one of our favorite venues, perfect weather and great company. I love this time of year.
Please check out the links to the wineries and feel free to comment on this blog. Also, check back soon as I will be chronicling (that's a real word) the rest of our "wine festival" experience.
Blog you later.