Tucked away just off Naramata’s main road along a dusty small town road dotted with farms, you’ll see the encompassing view of Okanagan Lake and feel the warm breeze for which the winery is named before the winery itself. It’s the kind of welcome one only receives in the Okanagan.
The early spring season is always an exciting time to visit the wineries, as the season brings with it the release of all the newest vintages and usually a new surprise or two. The doors at Lake Breeze will open for the season on April 14th and for those familiar with this historic winery (one of the first five in Naramata) expect the return of all your favourites, including the renowned Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, ready to be enjoyed under the sun at The Patio Restaurant.
And as the winery is to Naramata, so too is the Patio Restaurant to Lake Breeze. Lined with gardens and built, like the winery itself, to resemble a Tuscan villa (although the more trained eye may catch a fading glimpse of the original South African influence). Chef Mark Ashton uses organic produce sourced right on site from the winery’s own garden, and from the surrounding local farms to be used for seasonally inspired meals. In keeping with this mentality, the Patio Restaurant places a great degree of importance on sustainability and supporting the local agriculturalists. The meat is ethically sourced from BC farms and the winery itself is a participant in the Ocean Wise program and is committed to using sustainably harvested seafood.
The atmosphere here is casual, and quaint. Reservations are only taken for large groups (eight or more), otherwise patrons are welcome to seat themselves and peruse the menu. The main courses are usually the top recommendations of most visitors, but the appetizers and sandwiches are not to be passed by for those only looking for a snack. Charcuterie boards and local cheeses are on hand and everything is designed to be paired with a specific wine. While in the past The Patio has focused exclusively on contemporary Mediterranean dishes the menu has been revamped this year to introduce an Asian twist! As I mentioned earlier, the spring season will usually bring a pleasant surprise or two.
The best part about spring in the Okanagan is the escape from the house and the opportunity to explore and play in the sun once again. While the winding drive through Naramata and out to Lake Breeze is more than an enjoyable experience itself, to truly usher in what is sure to be one of the Valley’s finest season’s yet one really ought to grab a seat at the patio, enjoy a fine meal with a crisp wine, and experience the lake’s breeze for themselves.
2016 Pinot Gris
This perennial favourite is entirely Naramata grown, which is reflected in its rich, fruitful body grounded in the region’s distinctive earthy tones. Look for the gentle aroma of peaches and pear escaping from the glass and just a light hint of spice to the palate, a classic note for this beloved varietal.
2016 Sauvignon Blanc
A classic rendition on this popular varietal, expect the quintessentially crisp, citric note of grapefruit encased in a light fruitful body and balanced with a soft acidity on the finish.
~ Blake Allen