Since founder and proprietor Stephen Cipes established Summerhill Pyramid Organic Winery more than 30 years ago, he and his team have lobbied to enhance the quality, enjoyment and pleasure of purchasing luscious British Columbia wines. A long list of firsts for the industry include legislation to allow food to be served in wineries and, recently, for wineries to be able to serve all alcohol products in their eateries, not just wine. Now, perhaps the most significant first is to introduce a real Canadiana Small Plates Food Hall. Says Cipes, “We are launching authentic, ethnic, organic, wine-paired small plates for those…

A member of Shuswap Wineries (shuswapwineries.ca), Recline Ridge Vineyards & Winery proudly represents the advantages of wine touring northwest of Vernon. About a one-and-a-half hour’s scenic drive from the Kelowna Airport, Recline Ridge offers a leisurely perspective and diverse tasting experience. They are open daily in high season. See reclineridgewinery.com for hours, wine purchasing details and where else it’s available. Bring a picnic or select locally produced meat snacks, cheese, preserves, crackers and Recline Ridge wine gums from the cooler. Have your feast on the licensed patio with a glass or bottle of Recline Ridge wine. Here, the season is…

Summer in Armstrong offers an eclectic mix of food, drink, music and celebration. When you make your summer plans, be sure to include Armstrong as a must-stop destination. Summer Events • Don’t miss Valley First Music in the Park, a weekly event that treats your ears to such bands as Mace, Six Shades of Grey and Turtle Valley. This event is free, although donations are accepted for the Feed the Valley Project. The fun happens every Friday, beginning at 7 pm and runs June 22 to August 24. Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy the tunes while your children swim…

The wines of British Columbia continue to delight and surprise those who have the pleasure of tasting them. I fondly remember the day I tasted my first BC Merlot. Before that fateful day, I was a scotch and vodka gal and my only experience with wines was the inexpensive sweet ones that resulted in youthful hangovers. Every now and then, usually during the winter holidays, a well-meaning dinner guest would bring a bottle of their favourite “inexpensive” wine for dinner. Needless to say, with those types of early wine experiences, I was not a wine drinker. It was the fall…

Tucked on a hillside overlooking the stately Similkameen River sits Vanessa Vineyard, a small artisanal vineyard that specializes in growing five grape varieties for its limited-edition reds. The vineyard only produces 3,000 cases a year — available exclusively online, at their tasting room and at high-end restaurants like Hy’s, the Hotel Georgia and the Wedgewood Hotel. Vines grow everywhere on the 74.55-acre estate, row after row planted in accordance with the terrain, rooted in the rocky sloping landscape. The natural incline provides good air drainage and minimizes risk of frost. Each element of the west-facing vineyard — its topography, climate,…

Nestled on bench land overlooking the Similkameen Valley, Seven Stones Winery is well-known for its full-bodied red wines, a spectacular view and mysterious caves. Tucked away under seven feet of earth, the caves offer a beautiful and unique feature to the winery. At 3,500 square feet, the caves have enough space to facilitate public and private events as well as provide the comforts of home to aging wine in only the finest of French Oak barrels as classical music plays 24/7. Cool Caves The caves at Seven Stones are the only ones of their kind in Canada and have been…

They’re celebrating at Clos du Soleil! This small artisanal winery recently won three medals at the Decanter World Wine Awards, the world’s most prestigious and influential wine competition. The three silver medals were awarded to: Capella 2016, the winery’s premier white, an elegant Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon; Signature 2014, a flagship blend of red Bordeaux varietals; and the 2013 Estate Reserve Red, the pinnacle of the estate’s portfolio, designed specifically to highlight the estate’s unique terroir. Multiple wins like this in such a high-level international competition are rare. This is a significant achievement that speaks to the…

Owners Fred Farinha and Alex Nunes were both born with an understanding of wine. It’s in their history and blood. As a boy growing up in a Portuguese village known for its wine and olives, Alex recalls climbing inside the wine barrels to clean them and being paid a candy. He says that kind of experience “sticks with you.” Fred grew up on the South Okanagan land where Adega now sits, surrounded by his family’s orchards which specialized in tree fruit. He remembers his family making wine with an old press and laughs recalling how they used Californian grapes. Nowadays…

At Spirit Ridge Resort there’s beauty everywhere: the dramatic views of Osoyoos Lake, the ancient mountains, the Sonoran Desert, the verdure of the vineyards enfolding the resort. Look around and it’s easy to understand why the ancestors of the Osoyoos Indian Band considered this area to have curative properties. The landscape here is magical. You can feel the stress of daily life disappearing. The Okanagan people have lived here in the South Okanagan for thousands of years. Come and learn about their amazing history at the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre situated in the heart of the resort. Nk’Mip (pronounced in-ka-meep)…

In a recent editorial, I described how the wineries and growers across BC give back to their communities and the province. In April of this year, the Naramata Bench Wineries Association (NBWA) held two fundraisers, one in Victoria and one in Vancouver. “We are pleased to announce that our two NBWA Annual Spring Wine events in Victoria and Vancouver supported the raising of significant funds for two organizations we sponsor,” said Tina Baird, marketing director of NBWA. “We are grateful to everyone involved in these two events.” According to Baird, Wine for Waves (Vancouver) raised $19,000 for Ocean Wise Seafood…