This is a dynamic time for wineries in the Okanagan, and Red Rooster Winery wants to invite wine lovers to take part in the journey. They’re striving to create more than just great wine, they’re working towards building a community to share it with.

That’s why programs like their Adopt-a-Row are so important to Burke Ganton, Red Rooster’s VIP and Key Accounts representative. Not only does it give wine lovers the opportunity to learn hands-on what it takes to grow grapes, it builds relationships between staff, new clients and old — people who all share a passion. Plus, it gives members a tremendous sense of achievement. Imagine sipping a wine you helped to produce.

Members of the program meet twice a year, pruning in the spring and picking in the fall the grapes destined to become the Rare Bird Malbec. At the end of the season, they are rewarded with a case of wine that includes the very special Malbec they helped to create. The popular program includes two enjoyable weekends of food and wine. The membership fee is $325 plus tax. Spaces are limited for this sought-after event so don’t hesitate to contact the winery if you’re interested.

At Red Rooster, they love to share their knowledge, so if you love to learn, look no further, this is a match made in heaven. Try one of the private tastings in the funky tasting boutique, enjoy a private tour, or attend one of the wine and food seminars. It’s a great way to meet other wine-loving friends. Be sure to check out the winery’s events page on its website to learn about upcoming experiences.

For those just eager to relax, why not experience the view from The Pecking Room Patio Grill? On a sunny day, there’s no place like it. Chef Darin Paterson, chef of the well-known Penticton restaurant Bogners, specializes in creating dishes that pair beautifully with Red Rooster’s wine. Fancy a tasting? Relax and have it at your table. Try some wines from the exclusive Rare Bird Series. These limited editions can only be found at the winery.

A fabulous choice is the Rare Bird Pinot Gris 2016. Grown in Hidden Terrace, just north of Oliver, and fermented in the winery’s new 630-litre concrete egg for several weeks, this wine is a fantastic addition to the portfolio. This is a wine with a big-mouth feel. It’s fuller and rounder with a spectacular nose and great aromatic qualities — there’s honey, apple and apricot with a mid-palate splash of grapefruit. It’s pale and light and well-priced at $24.99. Try it with seafood, summer salads, rotisserie chicken and even that most Canadian of meals, poutine.

Another must-try from the series is the Rare Bird Viognier 2016. Viogniers are traditionally known for either being fruity or floral. This one favours a fruit-forward flavour with a stone fruit accent of peach. Burke describes it as a white that wants to be a big red.

He says, “It’s big across the board with big texture, big flavour and a big finish.”

A wonderful lemon yellow colour, it’s thick and dry, but at the same time imbued with fruits such as peach and melon. It has a snappy finish of lime. This wine loves spice, so pair it with Chicken Korma or Vindaloo, or a Thai Green Curry. You won’t regret it.

Another must-try wine is the limited-edition Reserve Syrah. Offering a wonderful representation of the terroir of the Okanagan, this is a wine with a rich lineage. Its predecessor won the 2015 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence. On the first sip of the Syrah, there’s a hit of floral, but this quickly gives way to hints of coffee, cocoa, sweet tobacco and blackberry. The finish is long, lingering and peppery. It goes well with rich foods, barbecue and even lasagna. It has many, many layers.

“It’s made to drink slowly,” says Burke.

It’s a cerebral wine to be enjoyed with your favourite album, best friend or lover. It’s the kind of wine that cannot be rushed. A reminder to all of us to slow down and enjoy the finer things in life, such as great wineries like Red Rooster.

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