Wine touring in Oliver is both exhilarating and, at times, overwhelming. Canada’s Wine Capital offers no shortage of exciting destinations just waiting to be discovered, but one of the community’s most memorable experiences is to be found at a winery you’re likely already familiar with. Built atop land which has cultivated grapes since 1968, the winery now known as Hester Creek first opened its doors in 1982, and has since established itself as one of the Okanagan’s finest producers of quality wine.

A short ride up Road 8 has the traveler greeted by a 110-acre sea of vines and a palatial tasting room that could make the generational estates of Italy and France rife with jealousy. Wine tasting here is both welcoming and informative but Hester Creek offers far more than just a tasting experience. The site is home to the world class restaurant, Terrafina, and until the end of September guests can partake in a barbeque lunch every Friday. But for those who might only find themselves peckish, the wine shop is also flanked by a Mediterranean-inspired patio that welcomes picnickers and provides a rich selection of delicatessen specialties and charcuterie. Guided by a principled commitment to the local food movement, Hester Creek also offers pre-registered cooking classes in their home-styled kitchen, 40 throughout the year, which emphasize the use of seasonal ingredients.

With the wine festival season now upon us, Hester Creek finds itself preparing for its annual Fall Garlic Festival. This celebration of Okanagan artisans will feature live music and showcase over 20 different vendors on the front grounds of the winery. Garlic vendors will of course be the main focus of the festivities, but various other local gourmet food producers, crafters, and food carts will be present too. The Festival takes place on October 3rd. Admission is by donation and all proceeds stay in the community and go to the ‘Farm to Table’ program at Oliver Elementary.

2013 Hester Creek Syrah-Viognier

A signature product of a notable Okanagan vintage marked by record-setting summer temperatures and the starkly cool fall which followed. This predominately Syrah blend, a first for Hester Creek, displays a delicate balance of smoke and black pepper aromas that are matched with a complex palate of tobacco and dark fruit, with just a touch of freshly ground coffee. This gem of the 2013 season is available almost exclusively in the Hester Creek wine shop.

~ Blake Allen