Okanagan Summer Sipping

HPIM0910Long lazy days of summer are finally here. It’s hot and sunny, perfect time to leave the city for a few days and escape into the country. And what better place, but the British Columbia’ very own wine county, the vibrant Okanagan Valley. Swim in the warm waters of the Okanagan Lake and indulge in the bounty of regional food, splashed down by the exceptional, world-class, food-friendly wines.

hWhether you are a seasoned local or a visitor to our beautiful province, spending a few days in the wine country will rejuvenate and inspire you. If visiting from July 6-14, join in at The Summer Okanagan Wine Festival, a valley wide chance for guests to treat themselves to wine education, art & music, gourmet meals & wine tastings.  If lucky enough to be visiting during the 2013 harvest season, visit The Fall Okanagan Wine Festival which takes place during the heart of grape harvest. Enjoy numerous events throughout the valley including vineyard tours, winemakers lunches and specialty dinners.

Hot summer days call for lively, fresh and bright acidity white wines and sparklers that make great beat-the-heat-patio sippers and to accompany wide assortment of summer salads and light fair. Chill them a few extra degrees to add freshness.  Bubbles, crisp and light, add sparkle and elegance to any occasion. As a sipper, serve it with plain chips or green olives to get the party going.  My most favourite BC summer sippers come from the cooler north part of the Okanagan, ideal for producing traditional method sparkling wines and crisp, racy whites:

Gray Monk Winery owned by George and Trudy Heiss, the Okanagan founding family, celebrated three milestones in 2012; 30 years of winemaking, 40 years of wine growing and 50 years of marriage. What a year!  Their ODYSSEY WHITE BRUT sparkler delivers fine, elegant bubbles, aromas of lemon drops and green apple. Just off-dry with fresh and racy acidity, brioche notes and a creamy mouthful followed by a long, lingering finish. This lively blend of Riesling, Chardonnay, Musqué and Pinot Blanc makes a fantastic companion to smoked salmon – instant euphoria 🙂

Peller Estates Family Series 2010 Pinot BlancFrom one dream 40 years ago followed by three generations of excellence, European immigrant Andrew Peller committed to making award-winning wines of superb quality and character. Their Peller Estates Family Series 2010 Pinot Blanc is a smooth, fruit forward, medium bodied BC Pinot Blanc delivers a subtle nose of apple peel, pear and pineapple. The palate is dry with a touch of lemon drops and bright acidity followed by a long, lingering finish. Great paired with shellfish or light summer salads.


quils gate chardAlmost 60 years ago, Stewart family purchased the Quails’ Gate Estate knowing that it was potentially one of the best sites in the Okanagan Valley for premium grape production and they were right as the wines quickly become some of the best wines produced in this valley. Although renowned for their Pinot Noirs, the winery produces excellent cool style Chardonnay. Fresh and juicy with a touch of sweetness, this lovely white delivers aromas of tropical fruit, green apple and a hint of orange. Medium-bodied with a touch of toast, it is a great companion to grilled salmon or simple summer sipping.

Slowly sip the summer away and enjoy every drop!



2 Responses to “Okanagan Summer Sipping”
  1. Kathryn says:

    Hi Tania,
    Chef Laura and I are planning to do some exploring of the Okanagan wine country this weekend. Any specific ‘must see’ wineries we should be visiting? Also, despite being tied to Cabernet I have discovered how much I enjoy the Chenin Torrontes from Fuzion that I learned of from you. Anything like this available locally that you can recommend? Looking forward to your excellent advice. Best, Kathryn

    • Tania Thomas says:

      Hi Kathryn,

      The best way to learn is to visit the bigger ones and take their guided tours. Depending which tour you pick, they come with the tasting at the end. It is worth every penny. On the left bank of the Okanagan Lake, Mission Hill on top of the hill with it’s amazing retail display is one of them. You can stay for a nice meal on their breezy terrace and enjoy an evening concert under the stars. Quail’s Gate is an excellent smaller winery that excels in Pinot Noir and also come with an award winning restaurant and views that go forever.

      On the right bank there is Summerhill which produces great sparkling wines and CedarCreek, most southern of all Kelowna wineries with a big reputation. Hope that helps your Okanagan adventure ladies!

      Have a great time touring and tasting!


      Tania Thomas, CSW
      Certified Specialist of Wine