As I might have mentioned once or twice or 63 times, we have a busy summer, full of a lot of weddings and a lot of related wedding functions. Luckily, we did have one full weekend unaccounted for in July, so we stole away for a weekend of camping, wine tasting, and relaxation amidst the craziness that is Summer 2010. We even took a day off (having both worked Canada Day the week before!) so we had three days of luxury time off.
The weekend started at 5am on Saturday, heading out the door to the Okanagan (yup, same place as Jess’s stagette). Through Bernard’s work we managed to have a tour/VIP tasting of sorts set up for us at 10am (when the winery opened!) so it was an early start. On a funny note, we left before our storage room in the parkade was unlocked (locked overnight for security) so while i had luckily grabbed the tent, air mattress and cooler, we had no dishes, camp stove, lanterns. Whatever….off we go!
first glimpse of Okanagan Lake, aka heaven. I bug Bernard constantly about moving here. I think he believes I am kidding? I am so serious. And if you don’t pay attention to speed limits, it only takes 3 hours from Vancouver!
get this….we arrived half an hour early!! Wandered in a nearby park, found some locals to hang with.
Cedar Creek! This is the winery that we had a fancy winemaker’s dinner with back in April (you can read about it here) and they have some incredible wines. Including my favourite, their 2009 Ehrenfelser…..magic in a glass. Imagine the excitement when we showed up and our tour was led by the winery president himself!!
Gordon (winery president) and Bernard in the cellaring room. After this, he took us into a private tasting room and we did a fantastic tasting of well, everything. And then he poured us a glass of whatever we liked to take to the patio for lunch. Ahhhh…..
After Cedar Creek, we were referred to a goat cheese farm just up the road – they make goat milk gelato! It was a bit tangy, and less processed tasting than most gelato – I had pistachio and amaretto – sublime on a hot day. We also bought some cheese to have with our salad at camp that night. This label made me laugh.
We stopped at a few other wineries, and made our way north to Gray Monk Estate Winery – already picked up a number of bottles by then and tasted our way through some spectacular product. Time for a bite, we shared a cheese and charcuterie plate out on the patio. Again….ahhhh.
on Gray Monk’s patio
stopped at one of the Okanagan’s endless fruit stands to pick up dinner fixin’s
no camp stove? No problem. I pan seared lemon prawns in a disposable aluminum pie plate on the open camp fire, and tossed it with fresh cherries, goat cheese (from the farm!), greens and dressing. Yum!
On day 2, we started off the day with an inner tube float down the Penticton Channel (yup, the one we were going to do on Jess’s weekend). After that and a second lake swim, it was time to explore the Naramata Bench – one concentrated area of countless wineries in Penticton. We asked at each winery which other ones they recommended, and that dictated our travels. Some wineries we would never have visited without a recommendation, and every place we visited with a great stop. There is still so much more to see!
Mission Hill, easily BC’s most famous winery. Neat architecture, but we didn’t actually do a tasting here.
home with our loot! A few bottles for everyday, a lot of really great bottles to lay down for a few years, and a number of special occassion bottles. Three days, 25 bottles! It was so hot there that we had to keep shuffling food out of the cooler, eventually tossing it all, to protect our wine. Mission, successful.