Okanagan Wineries

I recently had the opportunity to visit 20 wineries in the Okanagan (Kelowna/Summerland/Naramata/etc).

My favourite wine was the Pinot Noir Reserve from Quails Gate.

The most interesting was the deep red sparkling Shiraz from Sumac Ridge.

The best winery (by far) was Mission Hill although Summerhill as the busiest.

Unfortunately my trip did not include Oliver & Osoyoos where a lot of red grapes are sourced from.

Here are some notes from each winery:

Indigenous World Winery
-Marechal Foch was velvety
-Sparkling Wine ended with a surprise of grapefruit
The Hatch
-Frenzy Pinot Gris & Meritage were ok
Volcanic Hills
-Merlot was well aged
-Riesling Ice Wine was good
Mission Hill
-Pinot Noir/Meritage/Qualtrain were all good
-I did not try the Oculus
Quails Gate
-Stewart Family Reserves are only available in the Okanagan
–Pinot Noir was fantastic
–Chardonnay was good
-Known for their Sparkling wines
-use a gyropalette to perform riddling
-mainly easy drinking wines
-had the opportunity to go down in their caves
Little Engine
-Good selection of Merlots
-Their fortified wine contains Brandy & Pinot Gris
Poplar Grove
-Good lunch spot with an amazing view
-decent Pinot Gris
-CSM was a cool concept (spin on GSM)
-Legacy had good tannins
-Barrel tasting was a good treat
-Reserve Chardonnay only available by the package
-Reserve Pinot Noir was good with a short finish
Noble Ridge
-Kings Ransom is their top end all of which were good
-Kings Random Cabernet Sauvignon was not available for tasting
8th Generation
-Integrity Frizzante was their spin on Prosecco
-One of few wineries to produce the Kerner grape
-Classic Riesling (dry) was better than the Riesling (off-dry)
Cedar Creek
-Platinum Chardonnay aged in Concrete was good
-Cipes Brut was a decent sparkling wine and it contains Riesling
-Riesling was very good
-Very few blends
The View
-1 of 3 wineries in the Okanagan to offer Pinotage
The Vibrant Vine
-The Dragon was good
-Woops has an interesting story where the label is upside down
Sumac Ridge
-Black Sage Brand which most people don’t associate with Sumac Ridge
-Sparkling Shiraz/Zinfandel/Cabernet Franc/Pipe (port) were all good
Dirty Laundry
-The Hush (Rose) was not part of the tasting
-Merlot was good
TH Wines 
-No vineyards
-Nothing outstanding
-One of few wineries to produce the Oraniensteiner Grape
-The only winery that seemed to use Slovakian oak
-Pinot Blanc was good
-Reds didn’t stand out


California Wineries

I was finally able to experience Napa Valley (and others) and it was amazing.

Let’s start with the wineries I visited:

  • Artesa
  • Domaine Carneros
  • Mondavi
  • Jordan
  • Frog’s Leap
  • Beringer
  • Silver Oak
  • Peju
  • Thomas Fogarty
  • Concannon
  • Wente

Each winery offered a completely different experience.

For example, the tour & tasting at Jordan was incredible. I really enjoyed their Cabernet Sauvignon’s. It’s definitely an experience I would do again. You can even make it a weekend stay if you want.

Even though I’m quite familiar with Beringer wines, I had no idea that their Private Reserve Chardonnay was so good. Had I not tried their tasting, I would have never known this.

Concannon & Wente are wineries in Livermore, California. But don’t let that distract you. They produce excellent wines.

Overall surprises:

  • Wineries producing Meritage & French Colombard
  • Jordan uses egg whites in their fermentation process

Cabernet Sauvignon Reloaded

While my post from last year is still valid, there are a few new Cab Sauvs I’ve tried since then that I felt needed to be included in this updated list.

The new additions are:

  • Mount Veeder
  • Stag’s Leap Artemis
  • Knights Valley Reserve

All 3 are exceptional and they pair well with Ribeye.

I must stress that my listing is not meant to be economical by any means. With that said, there are economical ways to enjoy pricy wines. Some restaurants allow you to bring your own bottle and charge you a corkage fee. Depending on the what you paid for the wine combined with the corkage fee it may be something you may want to consider.

So here we are with the complete list (in no particular order):

  • Caymus Special Selection
  • Caymus
  • Beringer Knights Valley
  • Mount Veeder
  • J. Lohr Seven Oaks
  • Hall
  • Jim Barry The Cover Drive
  • Stag’s Leap Artemis
  • Knights Valley Reserve
  • Robert Mondavi Private Selection

If you are curious as to which of these is the best “bang for you buck”, I would recommend the J. Lohr Seven Oaks.