It’s not your typical desert setting. Lounging poolside beneath the shade of a beautiful patio whose vista encompasses what seems to be the whole of the region’s tablelands. However, the Wine Experience Centre at the prestigious Black Hills Estate Winery is anything but ordinary in a region that can claim a similar moniker. Built in 2012, this work of modern architecture stands out in the small town of Oliver, and aptly so as there simply isn’t another winery in the Okanagan that boasts a tasting experience quite like Black Hills. This small, modest vineyard has transformed the extensive desert of Black Sage Road into something of a viticultural oasis.

Subscribing to a principled belief that wine tasting shouldn’t be a rushed experience Black Hills has pursued the ideal of a refined wine touring experience by blending its tastings with fine dining. The Vineyard Kitchen, run by Vintage Hospitality Group, makes use of fresh, local ingredients that are seasonally sourced from within approximately five kilometres of the estate. Everything from salads and charcuterie, to thin crust pizzas and personal wine guides are available for your table during this personal tasting, allowing the customer to bask in the experience.

Wonderful as this all is, on October 3rd pre-registered guests will have the opportunity to partake in an even more exclusive event here. From 3 until 5 in the afternoon the estate will be hosting a Vertical Tasting of its Nota Bene, an internationally acclaimed wine synonymous with both Black Hills and the region. As BC’s most successful blend the Nota Bene is the storied product of four separate harvests of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and two separate harvests of Cabernet Franc, all of which are picked, fermented, and barrel aged separately before becoming this spectacular red. This will be an exclusive opportunity for the public to sample all 16 vintages of the Nota Bene, from 2014 back to its very first vintage in 1999.

The festivities will continue late into the night with the annual Black Hills Harvest Party. While harvest parties are something of a traditional event for agricultural communities such as Oliver, the celebrations here will inherently have a more modern feel to it. Dinner will be served in time to watch the sun set at which point the dancing and entertainment will continue well into the evening. After all, life in the desert is most active at night.

~ Blake Allen