Gavin and Shana Miller are everything that's right and good about the burgeoning wine and food scene in the Okanagan. Living a long held dream to create artisan wines and hand crafted cheese, it's a match made in heaven. The highly regarded Winemaker, Gavin, now brings this expertise to his own wines and Shana, a former cheese maker with Poplar Grove, is creating her line of exquisite cheeses. On the dream team is Tessa Sjöblom, daughter of co-owners Wayne and Margareta Nystrom, who not only handles the marketing, but also has Tessa's Tree Fruits out front with fresh local fruits in season. Wine, cheese, and fruit–Okanagan flavour heaven!
Gavin is thrilled to release seven different wines from their seven acres of planted vineyard. "Although I always love the big reds, I'm excited to be making whites again," he enthuses. One of Gavin's personal favorites to drink on a hot day? Riesling. And his is delicious.
A viewing window looks into the creamery. "Cheese making is not glamorous or sexy”, says Shana, "but it's a dream come true for me." The true art is in the Affinage – what happens after the curd is formed using temperature, humidity, piercing, brining and aging. There's several flavors of washed rind cheese: Okanagan Sun2 mild, soft, and buttery; Gold, a firm, yet smooth and creamy; Gold French with herb d’Provence; Gold Italian with sundried tomato, garlic and onion. Also King Cole a full-flavoured creamy blue, Grey Baby a milder, soft, creamy blue (to die for); and U&Brie a buttery and creamy brie.
Share the dream at Upper Bench Winery & Creamery, with friendly owners onsite.
2011 Rosé $18.90
Lovely patio sipper, bursting with strawberry, yet crisp and dry.
2011 Chardonnay $24.90
50% new French oak, 50% stainless steel for three months. Clean citrus, lemon and pineapple, with creamy stone fruits, well integrated with long finish.
~ Terry Meyer-Stone