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An Ode to Okanagan Wine Country

You are such a tease BC wine. Friendly, approachable, desirable and delicious. I was dazzled by your beauty, style, varieties and classiness. You won me over quickly. My heart still flutters just thinking about your tasty qualities on my lips Bench 1775 Chill.

I miss swirling you in my mouth, sipping of your delectable charms. And charms aplenty you are conferred; you are a tease Hainle Vineyards Gewurztraminer Ice Wine.

Where are you now? You reside in another country, hundreds of miles out of reach. Unattainable, you are limited in your availability. Why did you have to be so powerful Black Hills Estate Nota Bene 2011 Bordeaux?

Before flying from your vale I wandered the Sunday streets of Penticton...looking for you. An empty cardboard box my only companion. I speak of you Lake Breeze Gewurztraminer.

Empty handed I left, your lingering taste seared into my synapses. You tease, you terrible, delicious tease. Yes, you Painted Rock Red Icon.

I still taste the memory of you. You linger, oh so sweetly. When will I share in your delights again? I speak of you Black Sage Vineyard and your 2007 Pipe.

There is room in my home, at my table. Do not remain isolated in British Columbia. I would love to show you off to family and friends. You are charming and worth knowing. I want you in Washington Township 7 Chardonnay.

And you my Naramata Bench, caressed by the winds of Okanagan Lake, blessed by lake effect, your vineyards tended so carefully by hands not mine. I miss you. We only just met. Oh you tease BC wine country. How can we be friends La Frenz?

Again, I will retire to an evening made restless with thoughts of you. Perhaps I should seek Therapy, would a case of Freudian Sip be enough? Thank you Okanagan Wine Country. Thank you for sharing your beauty and charms.

I long to return to your valley, anon.


Reception along the Okanagan Lake.

In June I attended the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference in beautiful Penticton, British Columbia, Canada. This was my fourth time attending the Wine Bloggers Conference. A serious, focused group of wine writers and wine industry members descended on BC Wine Country. It was a good mix of Canadians and Americans. I enjoyed re-connecting with friends from past conferences and making new friends who are also passionate about wine.

New Canadian wine friends, Andy, Luke and Valerie.
WBC11 friend Jon of Hand of God Wines.
Posing with April of Hawks View Cellars WBC12 friend.
WBC11 friend James The Wine Guy.

These conferences are not just about the social and social media aspects of wine. It's learning about local and regional wines and the people who make the wines. It's about a sense of place and tasting it in the wine. What did  I learn? British Columbia is producing spectacular wines. Wines worth the trip to British Columbia. Because there's precious little exported.

View of Penticton, BC from Poplar Grove winery.

There's something happening in the Okanagan Valley. Something exciting. From 18 wineries not long ago, the Okanagan Valley now has 200 wineries. And yes, quality is strong. From serious delicious Gewurztraminer, to complex, robust, chocolaty Cabernet Franc.

Vineyard tour with Jeff Martin of La Frenz Winery.

The Okanagan Valley is at the northern tip of the Sonoran desert. Vineyards hug north and south facing mountainous soils. There's lake effect and micro climates. With only 6-8 inches of annual rainfall the Okanagan and Osoyoos lakes feed the thirsty vines.

Paddleboarding on Okanagan Lake.

Okanagan Lake is a large, deep lake in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. The lake is 83.89 miles long. Notable features of the Okanagan Valley include terraces which were formed due to the periodic lowering of the lake's predecessor, glacial Lake Penticton.

Friendly Red Rooster Winery staff.

There's also a vibe, a presence of excitement and passion. The people are vibrant. I met winemakers who came from South Africa, Australia, England and France. They came for a visit, but were captured by the beauty and potential that is Okanagan wine country.

Lake Breeze Winemaker Garron Elmes originally from South Africa.

What a stunningly beautiful place. This is a region to put on your must visit list. With a population of 35,000 Penticton is a small rural town, however it does not feel rustic or small town, it has the feel of being in the suburbs outside of a big city. There's something happening here.

The ever popular Poutine truck in downtown Penticton.

Okanagan wine country is more a destination than a wine to look for on the shelf. Production barely meets the cravings of BC consumers; little of this delicious juice makes it across the border to the US. You have to go to the source.

Kiwanis Walking Pier, Penticton, BC.

Savour locally produced refreshing sparkling wines, luscious, decadent ice wine, crystal crisp white varieties and contemplative reds, while basking in dynamic vistas of lake, mountain and rough terrain. Okanagan Valley I want to return.

BC Wine Resources:

A Few Tasting Notes:

Black Sage Vineyard Pipe 2007 dark fresh tobacco, Australian black licorice, dark chocolate, gingerbread, BC VQA Okanagan Valley 19.5% alc. lovely port styled wine. Yum!

Painted Rock 09 Red Icon ABV 14.3% @paintedrock dark wine, dark fruit, sage, espresso bean, floral, balanced with lovely peak mid palate, grippy tannin say "hello" and create a desire for slow roasted leg of lamb, cherry, sage, cola on finish. $55 and worth it! Enjoy friends.

Nota Bene 2011 Bordeaux ‎#wbc13 blend $52 ABV 14% by @nota_baby - blackberry, savory nose, dark fruit, deep notes of dark chocolate draw you in, huge finish. Spank me and put me to bed!

@hestercreek 2009 Hester Creek The Judge $45 tobacco ABV 14.1% cedar, manly nose, tobacco, coffee, cherry, lavender, sage, pepper, great finish, pow! With or without food you will enjoy!

@Township7 2010 Township7 Chardonnay. ABV 13.2% Naramata Estate, cases 818. Big flavorful Chardonnay, aged on lees, caramel on finish, fancy and suitable for date night with Lobster and Caviar! Like.

Bench1775 2012 Chill @bench1775 Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer - lemon stands out, it is refreshing, mineral, tart, long finish, guava, citrus skin on the finish $15.59 is a great price.

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