Sandhill, in constructing a grand tasting room in their historic Richter Street winery last year, has easily created the most comfortable winery destination in Kelowna. As the marquis brand for Calona Wines, Sandhill is producing top quality wines from six unique vineyards throughout the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys. While they are proud of these vineyards they also recognize that the grapes don’t just grow themselves. They honour the grape growers, some of whom have spent their whole lives on their vineyards, with photos of both the people and their vineyards on the walls. Both are important to the Sandhill story for visitors.

Once the grapes arrive at the winery, they are turned over to master winemaker Howard Soon. Sandhill’s wines are focused on single-vineyard, single-variety wines with a small number of blended wines. The Sandhill wines, with bright white labels, have all of the favourite varieties including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Syrah, and Merlot among others. The Sandhill Small Lots series offers more adventurous and exotic varieties not often found in the Okanagan like Sangiovese, Barbera, and Malbec and special single vineyard offerings of Viognier, Syrah, and Chardonnay among others. The Small Lots series also includes three unique blends called “One”, “Two”, and “Three”.

There’s more than just a tasting bar in this wine shop. A lounge full of soft easy chairs and comfy sofas is located just around the corner near the Small Lots Barrel Cellar for the ultimate in comfortable wine tasting. While it’s a good place to rest on your wine tour, it’s the perfect place to spend a Friday evening during Sandhill’s Happy Hour from 5-7pm. Wines by the glass for $5 and food available onsite from Culinary Ink Food-Bike. For locals it’s a perfect way to end your week. For visitors, it’s a great kickoff to your weekend!

Saturdays at Sandhill mean it’s time for Flight Club. “It’s a guided tasting of six wines on a different theme each week,” explains David Mann, estate manager for Sandhill. Themes may include “The Art of Blending”, “Food & Wine Pairing”, and “Blind Tasting” and are guaranteed to be a fun way to test your tasting skills. Space is limited and must be booked in advance. Held every Saturday from 7-9pm Flight Club costs $25 per person. Not just a special summer event, it will be held year round.

If you are looking to rent a convenient location for a special event, what better place than a winery? The lounge area and the Small Lots Barrel Room are both available for private bookings. The lounge can accommodate up to 210 people and the Small Lots Barrel Room up to 46. Contact the winery for more information.

~ Luke Whittall