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Posts Tagged ‘Penticton’

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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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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