Planning a wine tour isn’t all fun and games…although the wine tour itself definitely is!!! There are a few key points you need to decide on right off the bat so that you are sure to create the best trip possible…. 1. Who are you going with? 2. How many days are you going for? 3. How far will you be going? 4. Where will you stay? and 5. How hungover do you want to be lol!!!!! Once those questions are out of the way you can start planning….
I chose to do this wine tour with my cousins…so 4 of us in total. We chose to use the trip planner feature that was directly on the Wines of British Columbia website to make it as easy as possible on all of us and so that one person wasn’t left in charge of all of the research and planning. It really made it extremely seamless and helped us discover wineries I didn’t even know existed. We seriously crushed through more wineries than I could have ever imagined and still managed to make it extremely fun and relaxing. If you are planning on doing a wine tour in the Okanagan I HIGHLY recommend it because there are SO MANY hidden gems!!! Follow along below for all of the info on each winery that we hit on the first day of the tour….
We started off in Okanagan Falls at Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery. We had an amazing breakfast – it was a great start to the tour to say the least. They have THE MOST amazing picnic area with the most beautiful view! It would be perfect for a wedding, vow renewal, engagement or special date! I even took home a bottle of “the one” sparkling wine!!
Next stop was River Stone Estate Winery in Oliver. I FELL IN LOVE LOVE LOVE with their wine. Enough about the wine…it also was an absolutely beautiful estate, and the beautiful garden tended by Ted, the winemaker and owner… !!!
Next on the list was Burrowing Owl Estate Winery & the Sonora Room Restaurant. I mean, this estate is something else, you HAVE to go. The food, the view … the building is just stunning! It was just incredible. Endangered burrowing owls are rehabilitated and released into man-made burrows, which are covered with cages to protect the owls from harm. After a few weeks in a safe cage burrow they slowly let them out, a little bit each day, to teach them to live in the wild. No wonder why they named it Burrowing Owl…so cool!!!… I think at least lol!!! AND they use solar panels to heat all of the water at the winery…it was waaaaay more educational than I was expecting!!!!
After an amazing lunch, it was off to Black Hills Estate Winery. I learned SOOO much on this trip!!! I mean I am sure this is basic biology knowledge … but did you know that grapevines produce fruit as a defence mechanism??? The more the vines struggle, the bigger and juicier the fruit will be, which is meant to attract birds which will help to spread the seeds (by pooping!!! LOL). Therefore, the dry, sandy soils of the Black Sage Bench are excellent for producing quality grapes for quality wines. Ahhh … quite interesting!!!I fell in love with there carménère – it has green pepper / jalapeño undertones … BUT you can’t even buy it unless you are a part of the wine club!!!
Next up we were off to Platinum Bench Estate Winery. Murray & Fiona were such a cute team!!! Fiona handles all of the baking and cheese and Murray takes care of the vineyard and winemaking… Now how fun would that be!!! Their wine was also one of my favourites … because again it had that green pepper under tone! I took home the Syrah Block 23…yummm good thing I bought two lol!!!!
WOOOO!!! Are you still following me?!?! Off to Stoneboat Vineyards….we tried their Chorus Granita slushie The Chorus is their white blend and we mixed it with the Piano Brut. We also tried the Pinotage Icewine. Talk about yuummm! The musical names of the wines were chosen because of Tim & Jay’s love for music. They used to play piano as a duet. And they named it Stoneboat because a stone boat is a sledge for removing rocks from the land before machinery was around. Stoneboat’s vineyards are rocky so there was a lot of clearing to do back in the day, but it is excellent for the grape vines. Almost done, I promise…..
The last but definitely not the least stop of the day was Hester Creek Estate Winery & Terrafina Restaurant. This is an absolute STUNNING full service estate with guest rooms, restaurants, cooking classes, festivals, the works! We dinned here Saturday night and it was just magical… It was the perfect end to the perfect first day of the tour!! I am SO ready to hit my head on the pillow and dream up what tomorrow will bring….
And that my friends…is how you wine tour!!!
See you all in two weeks for the second half….