With the Naramata Bench fully completed in two days we now had a big decision ahead of us: go North or go South.
North seemed the most likely. With a number of interesting and well-known wineries up that way, and having covered quite a bit of the south already, it seemed the most logical choice. And besides, looking at the map we felt we had our work cut out for us. BC is expanding Highway 97, the main artery to Kelowna (where most of these wineries center around) from Pentiction (where we are staying) – the road gets closed 3 times during the day between Summerland and Peachland for blasting away and the clean up of rocks. This works out to be about the halfway point between the two cities. We decided to do as many above the construction zone on the Monday and below the construction zone Tuesday. We did these wineries in a “sip and leave” fashion: you try a few wines and if nothing impresses you, leave … if you find some wines that do impress, try more of their wines. Some winery names you’ll recognize because we have seen their names in Ontario or we have heard of them from others who visit.
I noticed that wineries in BC are hit and miss, like they are in any region. BC has this strong, fierce self-identity and self-awareness that all BC wines are the best … wish we had that attitude in Ontario. But mom and I are learning that just like in any region there are good producers and fair producers. As we learned on the Naramata Bench over the past few days, the difference between a very good winery and an average winery is passion – and you can make that distinction in the glass. Passion shows through, and so does plain old profiteering. On our northerly trip this topic kept coming up, and that perception really stuck with us as we continued into the south on days 9 and 10. The scenery remained, as always, awe-inspiring.
Wineries Visited in Order:
Monday … Gray Monk, Arrowleaf, Cedar Creek, St. Hubertus, Summerhill, Tantalus (closed), Calona/Peller/Sandhill, Rollingdale, Mt. Boucherie, Greata Ranch.
Tuesday … Sleeping Giant (fruit winery), Sonoran, Silk Scarf, Dirty Laundry, Hollywood and Vine, 8th Generation (formerly Adora)
Wines of Note:
Gray Monk 2007 Pinot Gris ($17.99); 2006 Riesling ($15.99); 2007 Gewurztraminer ($16.99); 2005 Odyssey Merlot ($23.99)
Arrowleaf 2006 Snow Tropics Vidal ($15.99)
Cedar Creek 2005 Merlot ($20.00)
St. Hubertus 2006 Pinot Meunier ($15.99); 2006 Gamay Noir ($14.99)
Sandhill 2006 Cabernet-Merlot ($19.99)
Peller 2006 Private Reserve Syrah ($19.99)
Sandhill 2004 Three ($34.99)
Mt. Boucherie 2006 Semillon ($15.99); 2005 Merlot Summit Reserve ($21.99); 2006 Gamay Noir ($14.99)
Greata Ranch 2006 Reserve Chardonnay ($25.00); 2006 Cabernet-Merlot ($19.00)
Sleeping Giant Blackberry ($15.95); Blueberry ($15.95); Strawberry Rhubarb ($14.95)
Silk Scarf 2007 Cherry Wine ($20.00)
Thornhaven 2007 Gewurztraminer ($16.90)
Dirty Laundry Threadbare Gewurztraminer ($17.95); Woo Woo Wines Gewurztraminer ($17.95); Madame Vines Gewurztraminer ($19.95)
8th Generation 2007 Riesling ($19.90)