Written by: Blake Allen
You don’t have to board a plane to visit Europe; sometimes you can stumble into little pieces of it hidden right here at home. If you escape the traffic along Highway 97 and take a pleasant drive along the quaint little farms of Glencoe Road, you’ll find yourself at an authentic patch of Italy tucked into a vineyard in West Kelowna.
At Ciao Bella Winery, owners Roberto and Sharon Fiume, along with children Antonio and Olivia, quite literally welcome guests into their home with a warm and welcoming ciao! The family’s Italian roots, like the vines surrounding the winery, run deep and their passion for wine and for the Italian way of life is felt in every little detail here — be it in the intimate and unpretentious tasting room, the fresh cappuccinos and soft aromas of Italian food in the air, or the occasional sound of vineyard workers calling out to each other in Italian.
But for that truly authentic Italian experience, grab a bottle of wine and a plate of Spuntini (charcuterie the Italian way!) and relax in the rustic garden nestled within the vineyard, nicely tucked away from the rest of the world. Take your time in the pleasant silence of the area while you soak in the warmth of the spring sun. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d really found your way to Napoli, relaxing to the gentle chorus of songbirds, getting to know the family, or maybe just catching up with some old friends. Either way, you’ll leave here knowing what it means to be part of the famiglia!
Wines, Wines, Wines!
2018 Pinot Grigio: Done, like all Ciao Bella wines, in a classic Italian-style, this off-dry white greets the palate with a gentle hint of pear followed by a prominent note of green apple and a calming citric nose that lingers pleasantly. It’s easy to see with this vintage why this grape is BC’s favourite white wine.
2016 Rosé: Seemingly made for picnics at the beach, few wines so elegantly summarize life in the Okanagan as this rosé. A fruitful nose, fresh from the garden, with prominent notes of watermelon, grapefruit and an ever so subtle hint of raspberries, lingers on the back of the palate. All wrapped up in its vivacious pink body.
2016 Pinot Nero: This medium-bodied red won two gold medals at both of Canada’s premier National Wine Awards. An aroma of dark cherries follows from the nose onto the palate where it’s paired with notes of dark chocolate. This is not the first time Ciao Bella has been recognized as the home of BC’s best Pinot Noir, and this vintage is a fine illustration of why.