BC Wine Tour 2011
Friday, 04 May 2012 14:23
Wine touring in the Okanagan used to be hard work – but not any more. These days, you can divide your time between tasting rooms with a wealth of distractions, from dining on view-kissed patios to visiting artisan cheese or vinegar makers, all of which are taking BC's blossoming wine culture to the next level.
While the north Okanagan has traditionally been the centre of wine activity, a few years back the folks down south decided it was time to get serious. After all, the south Okanagan produces some 65 percent of all grapes grown in the province. Today, newly christened Oliver-Osoyoos Wine Country is truly bursting with activity.
Nk'Mip Cellars, owned by the progressive Osoyoos Indian Band, remains the south Okanagan's anchor, with its impressively situated patio that yields sweeping south Okanagan views.
As for the best south valley non-wine experience? The Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre is a "must visit," offering an entertaining, often moving narrative of the Osoyoos Indian Band, as well as guided or self-guided natural history tours of Canada’s only desert.
Just up the highway in Oliver, after dropping by Road 13's smart new tasting room, it's time to pay a visit to the sun-drenched deck of newly minted Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek. Here you can drink in the panoramic view with chilled almond and bread soup or pancetta-wrapped ling cod, prepared by former Diva at the Met chef, Jeff van Geest. Four years in the planning, this very polished new addition to a growing number of south Okanagan valley dining destinations is headed up by Vancouver's Le Gavroche owner Manuel Ferreira.
Barely a screwcap's toss away, the folks at Hester Creek have been busy not only puffing the pillows at their luxury villas, (above the winery, each with its private patio and breathtaking view), but also pulling the wraps off Mediterranean-themed Terrafina Restaurant. Located in Hester Creek's former tasting room, Terrafina provides an intimate Tuscan-style setting with its old brick, wooden pillars and iron chandeliers.
The arrival of these two new destination rooms, along with Burrowing Owl's locally focused Sonora Room and the eclectic Passa Tempo at Nk'Mip's Spirit Ridge, means there's now no shortage of serious kitchen activity with which to while away those post-tasting hours – with sips of BC's best, of course.
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