You have no excuse not to come to Bonitas," says Bonitas Winery Co-Owner Lawrence Hopper. "You can walk, bike, drive in, boat in, and fly in." Surely the maxim about enjoying the journey rather than the destination could apply to this unique Summerland winery if the destination were anything less than spectacular. Fortunately, spectacular only begins to describe the experience at Bonitas. 

Bonitas is one of the few Okanagan wineries capable of hosting weddings, with some added special features. Brides-to-be can make an unforgettable entrance at their wedding by landing on the new, recently constructed helicopter pad. "They can even toss the bouquet out of a helicopter!" says Co-Owner Diane Esslinger. The new larger pad is in a better location than the old one, which is now used for large outdoor tents. "It looks amazing when the whole bridal party walks down the wide, centre row," says Lawrence. "Before they had to go around the outside. And here you get better pictures from the photographers of people coming down the middle."

Along with the amazing vineyard vistas is their portfolio of wines. New this summer is the Vino Blanco, a value-driven white blend and complement to the red Vino Tinto. "The Vino Blanco goes around our theme. It's just beautiful white wine. It smells fresh, nice and clear," says Lawrence. "A lot of people come here and just enjoy smelling the wine." Diane concurs. "Lawrence has such an ultra-sensitive sense of smell," she says. "That's how we make the reds." Lawrence prefers to make the wine guided by scent rather than through taste. 

The Reserve Pinot Noir, now with screen printed bottles, will be the stand-out red this summer. This full-flavoured, concentrated style of Pinot Noir exhibits wonderful dark cherry and earthy aromas with a long, finish. "We like our fruity finish," says Lawrence.

~ Luke Whittall