While Markus Frind may have sold his popular online dating site, he hasn’t stopped helping people fall in love. Although this time it’s his BC winery for which folks are falling heads over hills.

Not one to do things halfway, Frind decided to build on his over 500 years of family farming heritage and leverage his acumen for technology. So, he purchased the historic BC Premier Bill Bennett property in West Kelowna and created North America’s first truly beach winery.

Katherine McEachnie, wine educator, bestselling author and wine judge demonstrates the perks of the beachside Frind Estate Winery.

Cutting edge technology is used in the winery’s operations and in its winemaking. An exceptional team was recruited including renowned winemaker/viticulturist Eric von Krosigk, a perennial medal winner for his exquisite wines and co-founder of Summerhill Pyramid Winery.

General Manager Ruth Hanbury is beloved in the Okanagan wine industry having fervently worked her way since her arrival to Canada in 2012 from the tasting room of Summerhill Pyramid Winery to its Director of Consumer Sales. Prior to joining Frind, she was President of Liquidity Wines in Okanagan Falls and was instrumental in building its international recognition as a leading boutique winery.

Frind Estate Winery General Manager Ruth Hanbury pours Sparkling Brut.

In addition to stewarding the vineyards and adding new vines on his properties, Frind has also shone his light on the lands, hiring such landscaping expertise as my old friend Jeffrey Norgren. The original rose garden is carefully tended and new botanical enhancements are underway.

Rose garden meticulously maintained.
Jeffrey Norgren, part of the Frind team maintaining the winery’s grounds.

To check out this fabulous addition to the Westside Wine Trail, I headed there in late September with my friend Katherine McEachnie, an esteemed wine educator, bestselling author and wine judge. From the moment we drove up to the sign and followed the road along the vineyards down to Frind’s lakeside location we were impressed.

Tasting Room

Decorated in warm tones and rich wood features, the tasting room manages to captivate your attention from Okanagan Lake to taste the selection of elegant wines. We did a tour of the facilities checking out the beach, the gardens, Annie’s Beach Café & Lounge and the Premier’s Lounge – a private tasting room which is a tribute to Bennett. Then Ruth led us through the current portfolio, starting with a beautiful Sparkling Brut that had just been released. Neither one of us could resist leaving without a couple of wine purchases.

Dining at Frind

Frind also scooped up talented restaurant veteran Lucia Martin as Hospitality Manager. She saved us a prime patio location to savour lunch and helped guide our menu choices. A full-service bakery, Annie’s Beach Cafe & Lounge offers wine-friendly seasonal food you’ll want to include it in your visit. In that sensuous setting, we sipped on Rosé as we polished every crumb and left with a few bakery items for home.

Sipping Rosé with a dip of Hummus, Artichoke & Quark Cheese with House Focaccia
Rosé and a shared dip plate on the patio at Frind Estate Winery.
Annie’s Beach Café & Lounge Shrimp Salad Wrap with side salad.
Sauerbraten by Annie’s Beach Café & Lounge.
A full-service bakery, Annie’s Beach Café & Lounge offers almond croissants.
Brownie for dessert at Annie’s Beach Café & Lounge.

Pinecone Philosophy

An abstract golden pinecone is featured in Frind’s branding as representation of three aspects meaningful to the founder and his family – science, symbolism and sentiment. Read more about its significance at under “Our Story”. On the website, shop for the wine and learn how to join the Wine Club.

The three aspects of the Frind pinecone — science, symbolism and sentiment.

It is such thoughtfulness about every element of this winery that’ll having you falling in love, too.

Meditative sculpture at Frind Estate Winery.
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Roslyne Buchanan (aka Roz) Roslyne Buchanan is a regular freelance contributor to food, travel, wine, home and lifestyle magazines. Her work has appeared in Food & Wine Trails, WestJet Magazine, OpenRoad Driver, Savour, Niche, Destinations Travel Magazine, My Van City, and Based in Penticton, she enjoys spectacular views of forests, vineyards, lakes, and hills beyond and regular visits from wildlife. Enchanted by the food and beverage industry and all things culinary as well as recreational pursuits such as travel, golfing, skiing, hiking, tennis and snorkeling. For her it’s the perfect balance to pursue her passion for writing with integrity and joy to share firsthand experiences. Most of her adventures are shared with her husband, Mark and when they’re not out exploring, they are managed by two felines Baja and Floyd. Find her personal blog at, follow her on twitter @RozDB and Facebook @roslynebuchanan


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