Just like fine wine, the words “well-balanced” also describe Upper Bench Winery & Creamery. On a vineyard tour with owners Gavin and Shana Miller, it’s easy to appreciate the delicate balance between nature and nurture.
Gavin proudly shows off rows of pesticide-free vines. “There’s no Roundup on them – they’ve been left natural. There’s nice bugs that kills the nasty bugs,” he laughs. But while the grasses, weeds, insects and vines thrive together, this is not nature gone wild. A closer look reveals Gavin’s careful guidance. His shoot positions are just right, his vines stand straight – all to ensure the leaves and grapes get maximum sunlight. His meticulous effort pays off: “I want it [vineyard] to be sustainable. I want all the grapes to be in balance.
So when we come into the cellar during harvest everything is right and doesn’t have to be manipulated. If you grow it right, it’s easy to make wine.”
Next we enter the wine shop and cheese tasting room – where award-winning wines and cheeses form a blissful balance of acid and fat. I sampled the 2012 Riesling – a refreshing, crisp wine perfect for sipping on a sundeck. This “balanced” white – with hints of mango, papaya, gooseberry, lime, and elderflower – pairs nicely with a savoury slice of Shana’s hand-made U&Brie or French Gold. Prefer reds? Try the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon with King Cole or Okanagan Sun2.
Before leaving, I admire the winery’s newly renovated patio, where Gavin and Shana strive for a perfect balance of sun and shade. Under an inviting wooden trellis, guests can enjoy their favourite combinations of wine and cheese while overlooking a stunning view. “The more balance you have in your life – the happier you are!” says Shana. I couldn’t agree more.
~ Erin Trainer