There is nothing more exciting than venturing off on a weekend getaway! So, this summer Thomas and I intended to make the effort in seeking out the hidden adventures that lie in between the mountains of British Columbia, Canada. It has been a while since we have actually spent a whole summer at home and while our wanderlust continues to nudge us on our back, our home country, Canada, has some pretty spectacular beauty. One goal I had this summer was to visit our backyard wineries. Ok, I have a confession…I'm a wine-o!!! Spending time within our international travels, we have done our fair share of wine tastings in countries like Portugal, Argentina, Germany and France, Sooo… it only seemed fair to check out the local wine production for ‘quality control’ purposes.
Heading south bound on the Trans-Canada Highway we began our weekend on route to the town of Penticton. Our mission was to do a quick two hour pit stop in our mini-vacay to partake in the local tradition of 'floating' down the river. With the Canadian summer sunshine beaming down on us, we relaxed in the cool water, floating in our life jackets as the current of the water did all the work. Our desert surroundings reminded us on how hot it can get in the interior of British Columbia. When we reached the end of the river and dried off, we packed up and drove to the town of Peachland. Once we settled into our accommodation, we spent the rest of the night indulging our appetites with a fancy dinner at a local German style restaurant which embraced the traditional beer steins, wood carvings, music and culture. We enjoyed the rib tenderloin with a side of some sort of German styled bread and potatoes. Whatever it was, it was delicious.
The next day we woke up early and headed to the city of Kelowna. A quick thirty minute drive from Peachland, the city of Kelowna was the 'big ticket' item of our weekend adventure. After checking into our Airbnb, we grabbed some Timmies breakfast (complete with two bagel belts and coffee) and waited patiently to be picked up by the wine tour company, Uncorked! Thomas had planned out the day and surprised me by doing a guided day tour as part of our ten year anniversary gift. We were going to enjoy tasting wine, beer and spirits for the next six hours! When the van arrived, we were two of fourteen enthusiastic wine-o’s all quenching with thirst. The first winery we visited was Mission Hill; an up-scale styled vineyard that boasts their quality wine to family tradition and hard work. Although, the 45 minute wine tour is very knowledgeable and allows you to try quite a few different fine wines in their fancy tasting rooms, it felt a little too upscale for us. However, if you are looking for a romantic setting for any occasion, this vineyard could enhance that experience…for a shiny penny that is. One thing that I did take away from Mission Hill was a nice bottle of wine, a chardonnay to be exact!
The second winery we had the opportunity to visit was Quails Gate vineyard. Our host from the vineyard was named Pierre and his personality was fitting to the traditional wine connoisseurs we have met worldwide. Knowledgeable, but very seriously, he spoke of the importance of ageing wine and how to properly taste the wine. I enjoyed Pierre because of his obvious passion for wine which made the experience that much more enjoyable. We relished in trying a variety of house wines along with spending a good chunk of time running through the vineyards and checking out the viewpoint overlooking Kelowna. It was a good thing that we had a hearty lunch before visiting Quails Gate as some of their reds had a good kick!
Our favourite winery of the day, hands-down would be at Rolling Dale vineyard. This small local business served up, in my opinion, excellent wine and great personality from the staff; Generating the energy that Rolling Dale wines serve up. Rolling Dale sparks some delicious fruity wines and even better ice wine! Different from other parts of the world, BC interior wine often has been infused by different fruits due to an overturn in fruit farms being transformed into vineyards. The soil that the vines have grown from have soaked up that cherry or apricot infused flavor which makes the wine that much more unique to the rest of the world. This small vineyard embodies true local-ism as their wine is not sold in liquor stores and can only be purchased in-house or online directly from the source. As you can imagine we left with our good share of bottles…you know…six or so.
Wrapping up on our wine tasting experience, we continued forward onto hard liquor spirits. Although it was not my favourite part of the tour, it was a lot of fun to watch the gross post gin tasting expression that was left on Thomas’ face. After the second shot, I have come to realize that wine and gin do not mix.
Our last stop of the day was visiting a local brewery right in the heart of Kelowna. Tree Brewing Co. serves amazing on tap beer and provided that relaxed environment to enjoy that perfect brew after a long hard day of work...or liquor tasting. Conversations and trivia questions from the Trivia Pursuit cards available on site, wrapped up the perfect day we had on the tour. The tour bonded over our lack of 1980’s trivia knowledge.
Uncorked Tours provided quality service and we were lucky to have such a great tour guide (Chris) that kept the entire group laughing throughout the day. After being dropped off at our Airbnb, Thomas and I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing lake side, even getting in an afternoon nap! When we felt our stomachs rumble, we headed to a Greek restaurant to indulge in some tasty chicken and prawn souvlaki. Feeling lucky, we finished the night off at the casino, where we played more than a few hands of blackjack only to leave with even money.
Our weekend was fantastic! British Columbia boasts excellent wine and I am so happy that we took the time to visit only a handful of wineries available across the interior. Thomas and I plan to continue to venture back to the interior to visit smaller vineyards like Rolling Dale where we can kick back and indulge. After all, the key to a wine-o’s heart are those rolling fields of vines that last for days.