Posts Written ByLesley Buxton

Howard Soon, acclaimed Master Winemaker at Vanessa Vineyard, remembers 2015 well. “[It was] the kind of summer where you could just snap your fingers and the grapes were killer ripe.” He knew this would be an important year for their winery’s Cabernet Franc. “Heat makes wine rich,” he explains. The vines grow on sloping, well-drained, rocky terrain and bask in the sun from west to southwest exposure. The result: Cabernet Franc 2015, winner of Double Gold, Best in Category, at the All Canadian Wine Championships 2018. This year alone, Vanessa has received nine medals from three prestigious competitions. This Cabernet…

The ambience at Ricco Bambino is Italian elegance meets new nostalgia; understated and fun, inviting and relaxed. It’s feminine with a sexy, masculine edge – think Sean Connery as Bond in Thunderball in his open pink shirt and white shorts. The upholstery is crushed velvet; the colour scheme is light pink and pale gold, accented with large potted palms, green spaces and two state-of-the-art concrete and stainless-steel tanks. This space is every iconic image you’ve ever known: Sophia Loren’s ’70s-style mink coat, Michelle Pfeiffer’s long white halter dress in Scarface, Madonna strutting the stage in her iconic Gaultier bustier. Everything…

Tucked on a hillside overlooking the stately Similkameen River sits Vanessa Vineyard, a small artisanal vineyard that specializes in growing five grape varieties for its limited-edition reds. The vineyard only produces 3,000 cases a year — available exclusively online, at their tasting room and at high-end restaurants like Hy’s, the Hotel Georgia and the Wedgewood Hotel. Vines grow everywhere on the 74.55-acre estate, row after row planted in accordance with the terrain, rooted in the rocky sloping landscape. The natural incline provides good air drainage and minimizes risk of frost. Each element of the west-facing vineyard — its topography, climate,…

They’re celebrating at Clos du Soleil! This small artisanal winery recently won three medals at the Decanter World Wine Awards, the world’s most prestigious and influential wine competition. The three silver medals were awarded to: Capella 2016, the winery’s premier white, an elegant Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon; Signature 2014, a flagship blend of red Bordeaux varietals; and the 2013 Estate Reserve Red, the pinnacle of the estate’s portfolio, designed specifically to highlight the estate’s unique terroir. Multiple wins like this in such a high-level international competition are rare. This is a significant achievement that speaks to the…

Owners Fred Farinha and Alex Nunes were both born with an understanding of wine. It’s in their history and blood. As a boy growing up in a Portuguese village known for its wine and olives, Alex recalls climbing inside the wine barrels to clean them and being paid a candy. He says that kind of experience “sticks with you.” Fred grew up on the South Okanagan land where Adega now sits, surrounded by his family’s orchards which specialized in tree fruit. He remembers his family making wine with an old press and laughs recalling how they used Californian grapes. Nowadays…

At Spirit Ridge Resort there’s beauty everywhere: the dramatic views of Osoyoos Lake, the ancient mountains, the Sonoran Desert, the verdure of the vineyards enfolding the resort. Look around and it’s easy to understand why the ancestors of the Osoyoos Indian Band considered this area to have curative properties. The landscape here is magical. You can feel the stress of daily life disappearing. The Okanagan people have lived here in the South Okanagan for thousands of years. Come and learn about their amazing history at the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre situated in the heart of the resort. Nk’Mip (pronounced in-ka-meep)…

Golden Mile pioneers, the Gehringer Brothers, continue to woo wine critics with their exceptional vintages. Their summer lineup — the 2017 Dry Rock Sauvignon Blanc and the 2017 Gewürztraminer-Schönburger, discussed in the last edition of Wine Trails — is already making a mark. Winning Wines At the recent 2018 British Columbia Best of Varietal Wine Awards, a competition that brings together 26 different varietal categories, 550 wines and 14 judges, the Sauvignon Blanc took home the award for Best of Varietal and the Gewürztraminer-Schönburger picked up a Gold. Another award winner was the winery’s Desert Sun, which received a Silver.…

The Reserve Tasting at Culmina is designed to cultivate an in-depth understanding of the artistry and science that goes into each of their wines. Tastings are intimate (maximum 10 guests), ensuring personalized attention. The tasting starts on the patio with a splash of wine setting a relaxed tone. Here, everyone sits family-style on the long, antique Doukhobor table surrounded by the exceptional views. At Culmina, guests are always poured the best of what they produce — a reward for visiting. Their flight-style tastings include award-winning wines as well as their iconic signature wine, Hypothesis. The Reserve Tasting is $10 per…

This summer, visitors to the Golden Mile Bench’s pioneering property, Hester Creek Estate Winery, are in for a superb treat: an exclusive release of the 2017 Viognier, only available at the winery. With just 100 cases crafted, this minimum production wine is the perfect indulgence and won’t last long. The hot days and cool evenings of the south Okanagan are the precise combination one needs to grow Viognier fruit with an impeccable balance of aroma, acidity and flavour. This classic varietal showcases lovely, lifted floral scents of orange blossom and orchard fruit. The mouthfeel is pleasing and full, with a…

Things are gearing up for a great season at Red Rooster Winery. At the restaurant, The Pecking Room Patio Grill, Chef Darin Paterson, owner of the renowned Penticton restaurant Bogners, has created a seasonal farm-to-table menu highlighting the very best of local flavours and produce. It’s both imaginative and inviting. There’s something for everybody with delicious vegan plates, seasonal vegetarian options, made-by-hand charcuterie boards and homemade pizzas – perfect for sharing. The winery is also offering new flight selections of wine. This tasting option offers guests the opportunity to learn about each wine’s distinctive properties. It features bigger pours and…