It’s Spring and time for another Wonderful Wine Weekend organised by member Dr. Larry Burr. Our 2020 tour was postponed until 2022 and from May 27 to 29 we enjoyed the wines and visits with the principals and winemakers in the Okanagan and Similkameen wine regions. On Friday, our bus left the Watermark Hotel in Osoyoos for the Similkameen Valley and our first visit to Vanessa Vineyard with legendary winemaker Howard Soon followed by a visit to John and Virginia’s Orofino Vineyards. After a break for an excellent lunch at Row 14 restaurant at Klipper’s with a selection of Untagled ciders, we made our way to Clos du Soleil for a tasting including a pair of vintages of the Signature blend of five Bordeaux varieties. Then, fighting the strong winds of the valley, we tasted the fine wines of Corcelettes Estate Winery before returning to our hotel’s 15 Park Bistro for an amazing dinner to end our day.
Saturday saw us at Culmina Family Estate Winery on the Golden Mile Bench south of Oliver where we tasted some excellent wines presented by Estate Manager Maryke Vandermarel and finished with a 2020 Orange Wine Gewurtztraminer, a style popular with some but not a universal favourite. Next up was Anthony von Mandl’s impressive Checkmate Artisanal Winery tasting some of South Okanagan’s best and most expensive wines, a superb selection. Lunch was at Manny Ferreira’s Miradoro Restaurant for a tasty lunch with a selection of Tinhorn Creek wines to give us sustenance for our next visit to Le Vieux Pin where we tasted five wines focussed on Rhone varieties. Our final stop for the day was for an al fresco tasting of Bartier Bros. where we also met up with old friend Ingo Grady and tasted his personal 2018 RMX Red blend. We ended our day with a delicious dinner – lamb shanks or cassoulet with duck confit - at Convivia Bistro in Osoyoos.
No time for sleeping in on Sunday morning – three wineries to visit before lunch, starting with Moon Curser Vineyards where we met with Owner Chris Tolley and tasted his sparkling viognier and a selection of his Rhone variety wines and followed by a visit to the new Rainmaker wines with owner/winemaker John Pullen – our first winery with a racing car simulator next to the barrels! Finally, we stopped at the stunning Phantom Creek Estates, a winery said to have cost owner Richter Bai around $100 million. Truly impressive, we tasted some excellent wines as we were guided through the winery accompanied by General Manage Bill Lui (of One Faith fame). We ended our wonderful weekend with lunch at Phantom Creek’s restaurant with delicious food from Chef Allessa, including a beef tartare with deep fried beef tendons, a truly interesting experience.
Our thanks are many – first to our tour organiser Dr. Larry Burr for perhaps the best weekend visit yet, of the five that we have enjoyed over the past decade, to Sid Cross for his photographs and assistance with various visits, to Treasurer Diane Blaney for all the financial arrangements, to Top Cat Tours for their excellent driving skills, to the wineries for sharing their passion with us, and to Jim Robertson, Roxanne Florentine for sharing their photos of the tour. We will look forward to the next Okanagan visit!
TO VIEW SLIDESHOW FOR EACH DAY CLICK ON DAY1 - DAY2 - DAY3
or click on photo to enlarge
Photos by Jim Robertson, Sid Cross and Roxanne Florentine