Just down the road from Sunset Ranch Golf & Country Club, a European-style warmth awaits at Ancient Hill Winery. The panoramic valley views from the picnic area and intricate gardens allude to the gracious reception that you’ll receive. From the substantial wood-carved doors with wrought iron accents to the stone fireplace and lighting that whispers of bygone castles with fine paintings by Jitske Kamphuys adorning the walls, the wineshop radiates welcome. After touring the museum-like surroundings, sidle up to the massive wooden tasting bar to taste firsthand the approachability of the wines. The Rosé 2012 is an excellent summer choice with more intensity than most thanks to Baco Noir in the blend. It’s that fine grape experienced as well in its barrel-aged flagship red, the Ancient Hill Baco Noir. It is a top seller and consistently popular, a tradition sustained in the recently released 2011. Look forward to the 2011 Ancient Hill Pinot Gris release, an ideal summer sipper.

Only the second owners of this property in the last 67 years, Jitske and Richard Kamphuys have lived here for 22 years. It is distinguished as one of the pioneer sites where grape growing began in the Okanagan in the 1920s and ‘30’s. They are proud to have put in a lot of sweat equity to return this charming, rural property back to its roots as a vineyard. While Ancient Hill is located in the Ellison area just across from the Kelowna Airport, you don’t notice its proximity to an urban area as you feast on the contents of your picnic basket from its deck and picnic area. If you didn’t pack a lunch, select from its cheese and cracker baskets to enjoy with its wine. As you sip from your glass, see how many raptors you can count soaring overhead or species of wildlife roaming the grounds.


~Roslyne Buchanan