Posts Written BySarah Willard

Driving Oliver’s Black Sage Bench Road to Desert Hills Estate Winery is always fun. I’m excited – it’s my first visit since the Toor family released their 2010 Syrah and Mirage, opened their patio and made their paved driveway and parking lot expansion. I opened the wine shop’s big oak door to see a familiar scene. Proprietor Randy Toor, centre stage in his U-shaped bar, surrounded by 30 or-so visitors—completely in his element. The guests were from everywhere. Most were first-timers, having heard great things about Desert Hills’ wine portfolio: the big, bold reds, the fresh and tasty whites, the…

Congratulations to Wild Goose on winning their 9th Lieutenant Governor Award of Excellence for the 2014 Mystic River Gewürztraminer! Wines from Wild Goose’s Mystic River Vineyard have brought in six of their nine Lieutenant Governor Award wins – two for the Mystic River Pinot Gris, two for the Mystic River Pinot Blanc, and now two for the Mystic River Gewürztraminer. Meandering along the banks of the South Okanagan River near Oliver, Mystic River Vineyard features fertile soil of sandy clay and pea gravel. This 5-acre parcel is one of three vineyards that Wild Goose maintains in the Oliver and Okanagan…

Therapy Vineyards & Guesthouse GM Judi Skinner had a fabulous year celebrating the Naramata winery’s 10th anniversary. She’s thrilled with the increase in visitors and wine sales, and hearing rave reviews about Therapy’s new upgrades.  Their fully paved parking lot expansion provides plenty of room to accommodate wine lovers tasting at “The Farmacy” or relaxing at their new, family-friendly patio. Visitors always enjoy winemaker Steve Latchford’s delicious portfolio. Fans effervescently gush about his newest 2014 Artist Series Old Vines Chardonnay and Fizziotherapy Blanc. A Gold-medallist at the 2015 National Wine Awards of Canada, Fizziotherapy Blanc is a Chardonnay/Orange Muscat-based frizzante…

When Sonoran Estate Winery moved back to their original lakeside location 3km north of Summerland last fall, owners Ada and Arjan Smits anticipated changes. Their biggest news is congratulating eldest son Pieter Smits on opening his new Back Door Winery. Noticed the blue roof on the orange building near the Summerland Visitor Centre?  That’s Back Door Winery!  The vivid colours and super convenient location will tempt first time visitors. The hip staff, friendly service and tasty wines (plus grand opening case-lot sale!) will ensure repeat customers. Open 7 days/week, 10-6. Pieter and his staff invite you to stop in and…

After ten-plus years of making award-winning Alsatian-style whites, Bordeaux-style reds, sinful sparklings and decadent dessert wines, it’s apparent that Summerland’s Sonoran Estate Winery has what it takes to tempt any palate. Now that it has moved back to the original location at 21606 Bridgeman Road, things have come full-circle for the Smits family winery. The easy-access location, great portfolio and gracious hostessing has made Sonoran a must-see destination along Summerland’s popular Bottleneck Drive route. A picnic licence and delicious pre-packaged deli-fare allows their loyal following to enjoy a glass on the patio at a visually-stunning location on the slopes of…

Meandering along the Naramata Bench for oenological delights has become a sacred pilgrimage to wine lovers visiting BC’s Okanagan Valley. So, why must any oenophile worth his or her salt, dedicate time to visit Therapy Vineyards and Guesthouse? The beautiful location, welcoming staff, and delicious wines are all prerequisites in this region: Therapy simply offers more. GM Judi Skinner says their brand new paved parking expansion makes it “definitely one of the biggest on the Bench.” They’ll need that extra space to accommodate the increase in visitors, now that Lil’s Kitchen is up-and-running. This fabulous patio kitchen is parked on-site…

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary, Wild Goose Vineyards is a must-see destination all season long. The Kruger family invites everyone to come and join in the fun! To celebrate, Wild Goose is holding monthly events on the 25th of each month from June–September. Saturday, July 25th is the big party, featuring Juno award-winning blues artist Rita Chiarelli, with opening act, ‘Case of Blues’ (general admission, $40) and VIP passes (including BBQ buffet $75). This event will sell out. Purchase tickets on the website, by phone, or in the tasting room. Other special 25th celebration events will be announced throughout the summer.…

Guests to the popular Oliver winery were thrilled with the gorgeous renovations of their tasting room last year. It’s ample design and U-shaped bar made it easy to welcome the waves of wine lovers that flow into their wine shop annually. This season, the Toor family decided to embark on exterior improvements by increasing and paving the parking area. The new, easy-access driveway and parking lot can accommodate up to 25 vehicles and features a turnaround for buses and larger vehicles. The arid terroir that make for Desert Hills’ optimum grape growing conditions didn’t help the dust from their gravel…

Forbidden Fruit Winery is celebrating its 10th anniversary making award-winning wines with 100% certified organic fruit from its orchards and vineyard. Wines of Canada declared Forbidden Fruit one of the top 15 wineries to watch out for in 2015. Winepress Northwest Platinum Judging awarded them the sole Double-Platinum for a fruit wine (2013 Caught–Apricot Mistelle) and the only Double-Platinum for a BC red (2011 Earth Series Merlot), making it the first Pacific Northwest winery to win top prizes in both fruit and grape wine categories at a single competition. Double Gold medals were awarded for 2013 Cherysh and 2012 Impearfection.…

25 years ago, Wild Goose Vineyards was just one of three farm-gate wineries in BC’s Okanagan Valley. Of these originals, Wild Goose is the only one that’s remained family-owned and operated. From vineyard to glass, it’s a testament to the Kruger family’s hard-work ethic, excellent business management and passion for all that they do. “We’re greatly honoured to have been in the business 25 years and very proud to see the growth of the whole BC wine industry. It’s come a long way,” says GM Roland Kruger. “When you look at all the wineries, tourism, and agri-tourism industries now, it’s…