11 Oct Osoyoos Travel Diary
Woke up on Friday at 9am and couldn’t wait to escape the gloomy weather in Vancouver. We planned a winery road trip with our friends Leila and Denny a little while ago and reality is I didn’t have time to even do any research about what to do, what to eat and where to go. The last 6 months Will and I were both swamped by work and house building, we just haven’t take a proper vacation since the last trip to Europe. When Leila suggested to tag along and do a road trip together, I was so excited because for many years we hardly thought of travelling across Canada, we have travelled far enough to Europe, Asia and Africa to find the most spectacular and photogenic places, but for some reason we haven’t explored that much in Canada given the proximity to serene nature. It’s our country 150th birthday this year and that gives the best reason to at least pick somewhere to go, even better when going with foodie friends.
I realize I have missed out Oliver Osoyoos wine country for so long even it’s only 5 hours away from Vancouver. I’m probably the last one who still haven’t been there among our group of friends. So that’s it…we chose to go around the harvest season so we could catch up with the Festival of Grapes along with visiting a handful of wineries.
We have been to Kelowna couple years ago and assume Osoyoos is more or less the same. I was totally wrong! The drive along Highway 3 was way more scenic and fun to drive, especially during fall season with the vibrant rich colours transitioning everywhere along the way. We got so amazed by the beautiful landscape that reminds me of Provence or Tuscany.
We were staying at Spirit Ridge at NK’MIP Resort and what I like the most is the location and view to offer. It sits on top of the rolling vineyards overlooking the Osoyoos Lake. The suite offers similar facilities that a typical luxury Whistler lodge would include, with a decent size patio and private outdoor Jacuzzi. The view is everything for a slow vacation, I highly recommend booking a suite facing the vineyard and the lake.
Now onto wine tasting, with over 40 different wineries you can choose the well known ones from La Stella to Jackson Triggs, but we opted for boutique family run wineries this time. What we experienced was way beyond just simple wine tasting, we get to chat with the owners and winemakers to learn about the process from growing to bottling, history of the vineyards, and even interesting story on how they name their wines. Of course the most valuable part is to learn about their passion about growing grapes to wine making. Every bottle tells a story.
In Stoneboat Vineyards, the owner Lanny told us about the story behind how their most popular white is named after his very good friend Alessio, imagine how special to have a bottle with your name on it. Nevertheless, Alessio is also my favourite white from this winery, fruity with a nice melon finish but it’s not overly sweet, it’s a nice easy drinking wine. Walking through the vineyards, learning about the winemaking process and tasting the ready to harvest wine grapes… I have never expected the wine grapes could taste so sweet and juicy. The experience makes me much more appreciated with every single sip of wine from now on.
I have also tasted the most unique red wine with a smokey finish (almost like a drinking barbeque) at Church and State Winery. The grapes soaked up the smoke from forest fire last year and instead of trying everything to remove the smokey flavours, the winemaker embraced it and turned it into a very limited production of red. The vineyard is also extremely scenic overlooking the Coyote Bowl and sipping wine in an outdoor patio with a storybook scene is definitely one of the trip highlights.
Lastly we stopped by River Stone Winery and were greeted by the most friendly host Bob and furry friend Charlie (he’s also on the wine label too!). Bob got a great sense of humour and not only he introduced a collection of their specialty wines to us (that sparking white merlot…especially) but also told us about the history about the region and story about their branding.
Golden fields with hay barrows, lush orchard trees, rolling hills and vineyards… we spent most of our time just soaking in all these beautiful nature around us. Before leaving we have also checked out the Festival of Grapes in Oliver where all the locals and winemakers from the region gathered together to celebrate the harvest season. It’s fun to join the community and be part of the Grape Stomping competition, enjoying Okanagan wine from selected wineries and handmade crafts showcased by the local artisans. It’s never too late to explore the wine region even after the harvest season, there will be more events coming up and if you have a chance…check out the Winter in Wine Country festival from November 24-26, 2017.
Spirit Ridge at Nk’Mip Resort
Address: 1200 Rancher Creek Rd, Osoyoos, BC V0H 1V6
Phone: (250) 495-5445
Address: 356 Orchard Grove Ln, Oliver, BC V0H 1T1
Phone: (250) 498-2226
Church and State Wines
Address: 1445 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay, BC V8M 1J5
Riverstone Estate Winery
Address: 143 Buchanan Dr, Oliver, BC V0H 1T2
Phone: (250) 498-0043
Kismet Estate Winery
Address: 9580 Rd 20, Oliver, BC V0H 1T0
Phone: (250) 495-4462
Rust Wine Co
Address: 4444 Golden Mile Road, Oliver, BC V0H 1T1
Phone: (250) 498-3276
Tourism & Events
Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country