The calendar might say winter is upon us, but it’s summer year-round at Ancient Hill Estate Winery. Owners Richard and Jitske Kamphuys have set up the winery’s guest area to provide a warm welcome to groups in search of a great winery experience.

Groups of up to 120 people can be accommodated in the Robert MacKenzie-designed building with a beautiful Old World look, enhanced by the use of dark woods and paintings. Corporate events, weddings and private parties become memorable in a space designed to allow for people to move around easily and socialize.

A full, roomy kitchen is available to caterers selected by groups or arranged by the winery.

Richard says Baco Noir, Pinot Noir and Gewürztraminer are all excellent wines to enjoy on a winter’s evening and each one pairs beautifully with a variety of food choices.

Ancient Hill’s vineyards, planted in 2005, include Baco Noir, Pinot Noir, Lemberger, Zweigelt, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris. The cool climate grapes grow well in higher altitudes like the Ancient Hill site that overlooks the Kelowna airport.

Currently available reds are the 2009 Lazerus (a Lemburger-Zweigelt blend), 2009 Pinot Noir and 2010 Baco Noir. White wines include the 2010 Pinot Gris and 2009 Gewürztraminer, a 2011 BC Wine Awards Gold Medal winner. The Pinot Noir was a finalist in its class in the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival and the Pinot Gris brought home a Bronze Medal from the Canadian Wine Awards.

It’s fair to say that Richard and Jitske have come a long way since arriving in Canada from the Netherlands 20 years ago. The orchard they purchased is now, as it was in the 1940s, a productive vineyard and the wines they produce are finely crafted gems that reflect the terroir.

“People tend not to associate wineries with winter activities, but you can enjoy a winery’s atmosphere at any time of the year,” Richard says. “We work hard at making a good impression.”

~ Lorne Eckersley