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Archive for the ‘Okanagan’ Category

What is it like to be driven around in a 1952 Vintage Mercury Pickup? An experience only found at Covert Farm! It’s an 1.5-hour tour on the 650-acre farm, and let me tell you all about it.

Covert Farms Family Estate Farm Tour

Covert Farms Family Estate Farm Tour

The Pickup

As soon as Mr. and I arrived at the farmhouse and signed in, we were ushered towards the vintage truck. It’s in a bright red colour and you couldn’t miss it. (more…)

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It was two years ago during our visit of Evolve Cellars, we learned from Christa-Lee that her family winery business ENCORE Vineyards had acquired the PenMar Theatre in Penticton and was converting the space into a winery. Now, we just got a sneak preview of the soon-to-open TIME Winery & Kitchen.

Time Winery & Kitchen, Penticton

At the time this was written, the winery was just one inspection away from getting the permit needed to open its door to the public. So during our visit, the staff was still putting on some finishing touches.

Time Winery & Kitchen, Penticton

Time Winery & Kitchen, Penticton

The PenMar Theatre was a four-auditorium theatre, originally built in the 50s with just one auditorium. Harry McWatters, CEO of ENCORE, has some fond memories of the theatre. He pointed to a corner of the now winery, and told us that’s where he sat on a date decades ago, as a boy, when the movie and popcorn was just 25¢.

Harry McWatters, Time Winery & Kitchen

The reconfiguration from movie theatre to winery took longer than expected.

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While we were in the Okanagan, of course Hester Creek wasn’t the only winery we visited. On this trip, we ventured out to Summerland, specifically the Bottleneck Drive area, and we discovered Evolve Cellars.

Evolve Cellars was open in 2015 and above the tasting room is e, its dining room. Simple decor – white wall, white table cloth, with big window panes overlooking a gorgeous view of its vineyard and Lake Okanagan. Bryan, Kathryn, Mr. and I made a lunch reservation prior to getting there, and we’re patting our back for making a good choice.

View of Evolve Cellars

Food

e’s lunch menu is quite interesting. I like that they incorporate their wine into many of the dishes. We shared a few appies, including the Seared Scallops. There was nice caramelization on one side of the scallops, the scallops were cooked to the right temperature, tender and sweet. The roasted corn salsa gave it some smokey flavours and crunch. For us, they were served on a spoon and it made a perfect bite (Mr. really liked it, because he always wants “a bit of everything in each bite”).

Seared Scallops

The Bruschetta was probably my least favourite appetizer. Don’t get me wrong, it was quite good.

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For the Canada Day long weekend, Mr. and I went to the Okanagan with Bryan and Kathryn. Last year, we received a certificate for a two-night stay at The Villa at Hester Creek Estate Winery, so we took the opportunity to spoil ourselves on this getaway.

Terrafina Restaurant

During our stay, Mr. and I also had dinner at the Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek.

Terrafina RestaurantTerrafina Restaurant

To start, we shared the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio. There was so much on the plate you can barely see the thinly sliced wagyu beef. The flavour combination was quite typical — capers, parmesan, arugula, aioli — what came as a pleasant surprise was the little sprouts sprinkled on top. They gave a slight crunch, an earthy note, which brought a new dimension of flavour.

Wagyu Beef Carpaccio

Mr. ordered the Ricotta & Confit Duck Pizza. It’s, interesting.

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If you think our Okanagan trip ended on the Golden Mile Bench, you’re wrong. We decided to venture further north, driving more than 50 km, to Penticton, and visit another famous wine region – Naramata Bench. That area has just as many, if not more, wineries as Oliver/Osoyoos. We only had time to check out four wineries, so it was really difficult to shortlist from the dozens of wineries in the area.

Nichol Vineyard

Wines Along the Naramata Bench

The wineries in this area are situated above sand cliffs that rise from the Okanagan Lake, with vineyards sloping up to the mountains behind. While you are enjoying some great wine, you will also get to take in a gorgeous view of the Okanagan Lake. Here is a recap of the wineries we visited, and wines we liked and didn’t like, strictly from a personal preference standpoint.

Nichol Vineyard

While most wineries in the region compete with each other over attractive signage, or even grandiose wine shop and tasting room, Nichol goes for the opposite. Located at the north most end of the Naramata Bench, if you don’t pay close attention, you might actually miss the turn-off to the winery.

It’s a neat little wine shop at the top of the vineyard, and it looks just like someone’s house. But it has some patio seating that allows you to enjoy a glass of wine, or even your packed lunch, over this view:

View at Nichol Vineyard

Because they sold out some of the varietals over a busy summer, we only got to try 4 of their wines. The Pinot Gris is definitely the gem in the lineup. The grapes were gently crushed and left to settle on the skins for 36 hours, giving the wine this salmon hue and a hint of tannin. It’s dry, citrusy, with the aroma of stone fruit. I usually prefer slightly sweeter white but I really enjoyed this one.

I was hoping to try its Cab Franc but it wasn’t available for tasting. Now I need to try finding it elsewhere; I think I will like it as well.

Winery website: www.nicholvineyard.com

Nichol Vineyard

Bench 1775 Winery

Remember I talked about the lack of flashy sign for Nichol? What caught our attention about Bench 1775 was its successful use of signs — “Canada’s Best Pinot Gris”, “The Best View of the Lake” — now we’re intrigued.

Bench 1775 Winery

Bench 1775 certainly has a great view! What makes it better is that its patio is extended right to the water so you are much closer to the Okanagan Lake and the water view is quite spectacular.
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