Last year when we went camping in Oliver, we checked out a number of wineries along the Black Sage Bench. But Oliver is the Wine Capital of Canada, of course they have more wineries to offer! So when we were in Osoyoos this summer, we headed north and stopped by the wineries along the Golden Mile Bench, another area known for its great wines.
Wines Along the Golden Mile Bench
Keep in mind that while we drink a fair share of wine through the years, but we don’t consider ourselves wine experts. This post is more to share our experience at each winery. We picked out ones that we know of, or ones with an interesting name, or simply made an impulse turn based on how the winery looks. We will tell you what we like and what we don’t like, from a personal preference standpoint.
Rustico Farm & Cellars
Laugh all you want, but the name of this winery just caught my attention. Rustico – there must be something rustic about this place. And boy, were we in for a pleasant surprise! The heritage house, the vineyards, the donkey brothers and the tasting room – this just has so much character.
We got inside the “Tasting Saloon” and felt the warm welcome from the staff, even though the space was packed! Their wines all some have cheeky names. Among the number of wines we tried, here is what we liked:
- Farmer’s Daughter – A dry Gewurztraminer, citrusy and fragrant
- Saloon Sally – A Cabernet Franc Rose, surprisingly fruit forward
- Last Chance – A red blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Zweigelt, Blaufrankisch, Chancellor. Because they no longer plant the Chancellor, now is literally the last chance to purchase this wine.
- Threesome – Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot blend. This has the body to pair with rich, saucy dishes, or just a nice piece of steak.
Winery website: rusticowinery.com
Road 13 Vineyards
I have tried Road 13’s wines a number of times. The most memorable was at the Vancouver Home + Design Show Pop-up Dinner last year. Therefore, I wanted to visit the winery and try a few more of their wines. As soon as we got there, we saw a castle at the end of Road 13 (yes, the street is called Road 13), overlooking a gorgeous view of the vineyard and beyond. If you are looking for a castle wedding, this is the place!
It was a long list of wines to choose for our tasting. Of the several ones that we tried, we liked the following. Unfortunately we are not a huge Merlot or Syrah fan, so the reds here are not really for us, but overall, we found Road 13 quite affordable for the quality it delivers.
- Stemwinder – Marsanne and Roussanne blended with Chardonnay. This is on the sweeter side but very floral and great summer sipping wine.
- Honest John’s Rose – Mostly Gamay Noir, Merlot, Viognier and Syrah. This has a deeper red hue, fruity and not too tart nor tanniny.
- Pinot Noir – Buttery, smooth and richer than most other Pinot Noirs we’ve had before.
Winery website: road13vineyards.com
Hester Creek Estate Winery
This is one of the fancier wineries we visited. It has a number of private areas, in addition to the regular tasting room. Hester Creek also offers a few additional experiences (with extra charge) to enhance your visit there, including food & wine pairing, tutored tasting, cooking classes, etc.
Wines are slightly more expensive than the two wineries above, but still relatively reasonable. Here is what we want to highlight:
- Trebbiano – This rare varietal is very unique to Hester Creek, and this is 100% Trebbiano. It’s citrusy, off dry and would make a good food pairing wine.
- Character Red – A blend of Merlot, Syrah, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Quite rich for a red blend; smooth with soft tannin.
- Reserve Cabernet Franc – Big bold flavours, great for meaty dishes. This can be aged for 5-7 years, or even up to 10 years.
- Late Harvest Pinot Blanc – Delicious dessert wine with prominent stone fruit note
Winery website: hestercreek.com
Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery
Last but not least, we went to Gehringer Brothers, which is literally across from Hester Creek. This is owned and run by two German brothers, who have obtained their wine-making skills in Germany, thus offering German-style wines.
On average, the wines here were the cheapest of the 4 wineries here, but the quality was not compromised. In fact, we liked a number of their wines:
- Gewurtztraminer-Schonburger – This was on the sweeter side than many other Gewurtz, but I liked the fruity yet floral note in this German varietal.
- Desert Sun – Auxerrois, Chardonnay and Reisling cuvee blend, this is a good summer sipping wine or for pairing with white meat.
- Ehrenfelser – This fruit-forward white will be great to pair with spicy food.
- Late Harvest Riesling – Prominent note of stone fruit such as peach and apple, this is less sweet than the Pinot Blanc Late Harvest at Hester Creek, which we liked.
- Late Harvest Cabernet Franc – Not overly sweet, this has the berry note with just a little bit of tannins. Would be good for your cheese course.
Winery website: gehringerwines.ca
Overall, we were very impressed by the quality of wines the Golden Mile Bench has to offer, and they were all priced very reasonably and approachable for average wine drinkers. Walking into each winery, we were able to find something we know we would enjoy with the types of food we eat. I’m sure you will enjoy just as much as we did when you plan your next visit to the Golden Mile Bench!