Winter wine tasting is one of my favourite ways to experience the Okanagan wine region. There are less crowds, easier to get in on short notice and you catch vineyards in crisp wintery scenes like in the video below…
Have you ever experienced winter wine tasting? It is one of my favourite pass times in the Okanagan wine region of British Columbia, Canada ~ my home if you’re new here. Winter wine tasting was particularly unique this year with the pandemic and all the ways our local wineries have pivoted to accommodate small “bubbles” of family or households with 6 or less.
If you’re unfamiliar with British Columbia’s latest pandemic rules, we are required by law to wear a mask when entering any place of business, double masks are just starting to be encouraged. Right now you’re only allowed to meet with your household bubble. I’ve found the line blurred in my current situation as I work with my family (out of their home right now) and we meet for lunch or dinner once or less per month. Once again the curve of infections is bending downward at around 400 cases per day within our province. But I digress…
This particular tour was spurred on as a wedding anniversary gift for my parents. I am currently 7 months pregnant and couldn’t partake as much as I normally would but that didn’t stop me from tasting and making use of the spit bucket.
Our local economy persists as new restaurants, breweries and wineries proceed with openings and eager locals looking to support them all in this precarious time.
I selected 3 wineries to take my family to celebrate and highly recommend you give each a try no matter what time of year it is! Please don’t forget to watch the view and subscribe to my YouTube channel as create monthly videos of life in the Okanagan and culinary travels around the world.
Stop 1. Summerhill Pyramid Winery: Sparkling high tea in the Okanagan is now becoming more popular. It usually only takes place during the off season as a way to bring in more locals but some local spots do continue the extravagance. The high tea menu at Summerhill Pyramid changes weekly and you can often see sneak peaks on their social media. Of course, no visit to Summerhill would be completed without a taste, glass or bottle (I’m not judging!) of the Cipes Brut, their famed sparkling wine done in the Champagne method and aged (as all their wines are) for a time in their pyramid. Quality tea is also part of the deal if you prefer to sip something warm (or are pregnant like I am).
Stop 2. Frind Winery Brunch Bubble Experience: Frind winery opened last year and in order to pivot during these tumultuous times they are now offering bubble dinning experiences. High tea, brunch and dinners are offered outdoors in the warmth and cover of a bubble near their beach.
Dishes are served family style as you sit and idle the afternoon or mid-morning away with a view of the snowcapped mountains and chilled lake. During our visit the softest snowflakes began to fall (see video).
Stop 3. Crown & Thieves Winery: This new winery opened in January of 2021. I am super excited about its potential as regulations ease up and outdoor patio construction completes. It is not only a stunning winery with a personality unlike anything I have seen in the Canada before (think Peaky Blinders meets a medieval church), but it is also a speakeasy that features the wine maker/owner’s (Jason Parkes) own band Proper Man.
If there’s one name you should know when touring the West Kelowna and Kelowna area of the Okanagan it is Jason Parkes. He’s behind some of my favourite sips within the Okanagan from The Hatch and Black Swift to Crown & Thieves which has been a wine brand long served by The Hatch but broke out to offer its own space.
Have you ever visited a winery during the winter months? If so where? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!