I rarely run out of wine, but a few weekends ago I realized the stash was getting dangerously low. Yeah, I know ā I live in the heart of British Columbia wine country, minutes from great wineries. How could I get close to running out of wine here? Shame on me.
Thereās one snag to dashing out to a local winery right now: itās winter. Not all of our wineries stay awake during the off-season; some close, some stay open and some open by appointment. So, whatās a girl to do? Go wine shopping anyway. Maybe even call on a winery ā just for good measure.
First, a visit to the Penticton Visitorās Centre was in order. Itās a fantastic place to grab some BC wine because itās got a VQA store on site. This one has a huge variety of wines from the Okanagan, you donāt have to travel far and theyāre open all winter. Bonus.
The staff is friendly and will happily show you some remarkable BC wines. And so I met Aaron, a wine enthusiast who knows his grapes. Heād set aside a few bottles of the 2004 Hester Creek Cabernet Sauvignon for me ā I had to book it there because there arenāt many bottles left. Their 2005 is on shelves soon, though. Yummy in a bottle.
Oh, but thatās not all. I also left with a couple of white wines: a White Meritage from Jackson-Triggs (white blends are less common) and two bottles from Larch Hills ā a Siegerrebe and an Ortega. Each of these white wines is under $20. (by the way, itās taken me ages to pronounce it: pretty sure itās see-ger-RAY-bee, baby)
Up the hill from Penticton youāll find Naramata, and the Township7 winery. Winemaker Bradley Cooper made time for me while I was in the area, even though the winery wasnāt open. Theyāre nice that way, like lots of our local wineries are. Good news! Township7 is open again as of this weekend: Friday through Sunday from 12:00pm ā 5:00pm.
Itās amazing how much time I can waste ā er, spend ā when buying wine. But dinner doesnāt make itself, so I had to head home. We were making sushi for some friends and I could think of nothing better to go with it than a dee-lish BC wine. White wine? Sure.
If youāre missing summer, this wineās for you. The Siegerrebe from Larch Hills is like tasting a little bit of summertime in a glass. Itās a sit-on-a-patio-out-of-the-summer-sun-and-gab-with-friends kind of wine. And it went well with the sushi, too. Nice.
Did we stop there? Of course not. After dinner we opened up that 2004 Cab Sauv from Hester Creek. This is hang-out-with-good-friends-and-tell-stories wine, the stuff you want to linger with. I think we were all sad when we saw the decanter was empty. (Yeah, I drained the bottle into a decanter for about an hour that time ā but go ahead and pour it straight into your glass. I do both.)
Sleeping vines doesnāt mean you canāt explore BC wine country. And all of our little wineries are just starting to wake up again, which makes it a perfect time to un*wine*d with an Okanagan wine. Think Iāll go and do just that.