Nighthawk Vineyards is off the beaten track of regular touring itineraries. Folks are drawn here, having enjoyed the wine at an event, or as repeat visitors, or because someone recommended it. But once here, via the scenic six-kilometre route from Okanagan Falls, the peaceful setting entices you to linger. Take your time — the Nighthawk team encourages it.
Owners of Nighthawk Vineyards, Daniel and Christy Bibby, know firsthand how magical the moments can be at a winery. Their love of the Okanagan Valley grew as they toured wineries with guests. Then there was a pivotal stay at Burrowing Owl Estate Winery when they woke up to vineyard vistas and started to envision that lifestyle for their own family. With a few twists and turns, they found their property, just past See Ya Later Ranch Winery, perched above vineyards and Green Lake.
The quaint tasting room is the first building you see as you turn into the driveway. Inside, the charm continues at the tasting bar with Nighthawk’s well-crafted array of wines. The wine labels and tasting room walls are adorned with the art of Alex Fong of Kelowna, a close family friend. Art themes are rooted in nature, which is fitting since the winery itself is named for nighthawks that nest in the area.
You’ll find selections of preserves and vinegars — a hint of the family’s culinary credentials. Aficionados drive from Kelowna just to snap up the Pinot Noir Vinegar, barrel-aged for a year and a half.
Daniel and Christy have built a long-standing reputation in the hospitality industry. In fact, it’s a family thing: all four of the Bibbys’ children are involved in the wine and culinary industry in some way. It’s a good thing because along with the romance of living the farm-gate winery life, comes a lot of hard work. Recent wet conditions that caused flooding throughout the Okanagan also hit the Nighthawk property. Rather than dwell on the loss, the Bibbys have mopped up and investigated solutions moving forward.
Daniel remarks, “We are so thankful for the support of others in this industry. Through them, we’ve learned so much.”
The wines are crafted in small lots with winemaker Matt Dumayne. During my visit, I tasted Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir Rose, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Nighthawk’s first Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Each wine is wonderful expression.
Pause to savour a glass or bottle in the licensed picnic area with a bucolic view of the valley, lake, vineyards and hills. Bring your own lunch or buy an artisan charcuterie plate prepared onsite.