9 August 2012

Miss M's Favourite Okanagan Wineries

If you are ever up in the beautiful Okanagan region of British Columbia, you must visit some of its amazing wineries for tastings.  After spending a week in the stunning desert town of Osoyoos, I have some favourite wineries and wine picks to share.  Osoyoos is just south of Oliver, which is known as the "Wine Capital of Canada", boasting wineries of all sizes and varieties.  I would definitely recommend staying in more picturesque Osoyoos (preferably near the lake) and making the short drive north to Oliver to visit its wineries.  We also ventured farther north to Summerland which was a bit of a longer drive but a gorgeous one at that.

Many of the wineries have restaurants or at the least a selection of breads, cheeses and meats to purchase and enjoy on their patios, so you can easily make a day (or two) of visiting some of these spots.  Generally speaking most wineries will offer you a 3 to 5 wines for tasting for free or a minimal fee that you can use towards your purchases.  My favourites wineries in no particular order are:

Dirty Laundry
I won't spoil the story for you because the staff in the tasting room tell it so well, but they do fabulous job of extending the theme of the winery to make your visit to Dirty Laundry a truly memorable experience.  I loved everything about this place - the lighting, the fun lingerie draped everywhere, the amazing patio...oh yeah and the wines were fantastic too!  My recommendations would be their "blush" wine called "Hush" (it's a blend of red and white grapes) as well as their Riesling and Port called "A Girl in Every Port".  Dirty Laundry is top of my list to go back to next time I'm in the area.

Dirty Laundry winery in Oliver, BC

Hester Creek
If you are looking for wines that you can pour down your throat with ease (haha!) both the whites and reds at Hester Creek are easy to drink even if not paired with a meal.  I adore their Late Harvest Pinot Gris for a sweeter after dinner option, as well as their Pinot Gris and Cabernet Merlot.  The tasting room is absolutely gorgeous and so is their onsite restaurant which we heard has great pizzas.  If you are looking for something smaller than a full meal, they do also offer a $10 food and wine pairing at multiple times during the day where you can learn how to pair wines with complimentary foods.

There are lots of expansive and expensive wineries to visit while in the Okanagan, but I highly recommend visiting some of the charming smaller vineyards to have a more personalized tasting experience.  Our stop at Thornhaven felt more warm and welcoming than some of the larger "touristy" wineries we visited.  The tasting room is small but the wines were surprisingly good (well for a winery that I had never heard of).  I definitely recommend stopping here on your way out of Summerland after you visit Dirty Laundry.  My favourite at Thornhaven was their Pinot Gris but I know my bf enjoyed their reds quite a bit as well.

Road 13
Road 13 was the first winery we visited in the "Golden Mile" area of Oliver and it was a great start to our wine tasting adventures.  Their wines are very crisp and clean for the whites, and deep and layered for the reds.  A lot of their wines are a blend of different types of grapes, which after multiple tastings I found I really actually enjoy blends.  My top picks at Road 13 were the Stemwinder, Honest John's White and Rockpile.  The tasting room has a castle-like facade and a fake drawbridge in front of the door, which adds to the charm of their already beautiful location high on the bench above Oliver.

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