Okanagan Falls Wineries Spring Release Tasting at the Kelowna Yacht Club
By Roslyne Buchanan.
Better than an adult Easter egg hunt, exploring the Spring Release Tasting 2019 of the Okanagan Falls Wineries Association (OFWA) in the gorgeous setting of the Kelowna Yacht Club (KYC) was an unbeatable trail of treats. Yet, like an Easter egg hunt, you must move quickly to scoop up these limited production wines. It’s best to visit the region as soon as you can now that tasting rooms are opening for the season.
OFWA brands itself as “the heart of wine country” and given its prime location, it is truly at the pulse of wine touring. With 14 award-winning and distinct wineries to visit, the OFWA loop is a trail that serious wine lovers will want to experience in a heartbeat. Okanagan Falls is situated at the centre with vineyards stretching north along Skaha Lake’s East Bench above the scenic shoreline. It whisks along Skaha beachfront past the Penticton Airport to the west side, next skirting Skaha Lake to Kaleden and heading south to rolling hills above Vaseux Lake.
While the OFWA Spring Release couldn’t duplicate all the tactile benefits of touring the region, it brought some of the crown jewels to Kelowna to share. Accompanied by delightful savoury and sweet bites artfully prepared by KYC’s culinary team, it was a delicious introduction to diverse wines and how to pair them.
Member wineries include Blasted Church, Bonamici Cellars, Crescent Hill Winery, Skaha Vineyard & Kraze Legz Winery, Liquidity Wines, Meyer Family Vineyards, Nighthawk Vineyards, Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery, Pentâge Winery, Play Estate Winery, See Ya Later Ranch, Stag’s Hollow Winery, Synchromesh, and Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery. Together, in over 185 hectares in vines and production of a combined 110,000 cases for a total of 1,300,000 bottles of wine annually, the region represents over 11 per cent of domestic wine bottled in BC.
Tasted at the event were exquisite representations of Albariño, Blanc de Noirs, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gamay, Gewürztraminer, Merlot, Moscato, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Viognier. With flavour profiles such as fresh blossoms, ripe fruit and exotic spices, you couldn’t help but think of patio pairing menus and summer sipping.
The theme of seasonal dining and charcuterie noshing continued with newly released blends such as Ad Lib White Bordeaux, Autumn Gold, Belviaggio Red Blend, Collage, Frizzante Gewürztraminer, Improv Red Blend, Meritage, Merlot-Cabernet Franc, Rosé, Roussanne-Marsanne-Viognier, Rover, Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier, and Turtle Rock Farms Tertre Rouge.
Plus, there was a Meritage Feature Table for those North American Bordeaux-style red and white blends. We were able to taste Blasted Church Nectar of the Gods 2016, Liquidity Wines Dividend 2016, Noble Ridge Reserve Meritage 2016, Pentâge Winery Pentâge Blend 2012, See Ya Later Ranch Ping Meritage 2016, Skaha Vineyard Equus 2014, Stag’s Hollow Heritage Block 2015, Wild Goose Vineyards Red Horizon 2016. With such depth to the selection, you’d have to buy at least two per vintage to address your inner voice struggling with the drink now, put away for later debate.
Learn more about the KYC at http://kelownayachtclub.com/.
To plan your adventure to “the heart of wine country” and access links to all the member wineries, go to https://www.ofwa.ca/ Here, you’ll learn which wineries offer picnic areas, casual cuisine or full dining; the winemakers and wines of focus; whether they offer wine club privileges; special events; and the stories behind the wineries and other interesting facts.
Through the website, find out how to #SipOKFalls on your own or assisted with details on partners such as touring companies, accommodations, and tourist information services.
Featured photo: Carson and Tysha Pope, Crescent Hill Winery, share stories of the winery, wine labels and spring release wines at Kelowna Yacht Club. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.