Tag Archives: travel

2012 Summer Adventure: Okanagan Wine Tour

Sorry it’s taken so long to get this up, please check out my previous post on a little background on the annual summer adventure if you are interested :)

 This year, one of my besties that I have known since elementary school – I won’t even go into how many (many) years that is – recently moved to Kelowna, so I thought, what a perfect opportunity to make an excuse for a visit… and a wine tour! E had a few weeks off work at the beginning of June and I had a family wedding in Vernon June 9, so we decided that this year, we would make it a week (more or less) of family and fun.

 E has family up in Kamloops so she headed up there for a few days and then we met up with L in Kelowna on Wednesday June 6. Well, some things kind of fell through last minute, and long story short, we ended up staying in a hostel because L was in the middle of an impromptu move – it ended up being a total BLAST and we met some really fun people! So the plan was: Kelowna June 6/7, Vernon Jun 8/9 and hit the road back home Sunday June 10.

For those of you not familiar with Kelowna, it’s the largest city in the Okanagan Valley. The Okanagan is a region in south-central BC, stretching nearly 250 kilometers from Enderby to Osoyoos. Well known for its hot summers, scrumptious fruit orchards and more recently its wine, Okanagan vineyards account for more than 90% of all wine produced in British Columbia and is Canada’s second leading wine producer.  Here you can find nearly every style of wine across the whole spectrum of sweetness levels and with over 200 wineries, the Okanagan region’s unique weather allows more than 60 grape varieties to be grown, including (but not limited to) Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot noir, Pinot gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Ehrenfelser, Syrah, Malbec, and Zinfandel.

I highly recommend an Okanagan wine tour for those of you who live close enough to visit. Many wineries have unique and delicious food services available showcasing gourmet local cuisine, served either inside the exquisite wineries themselves or on spectacular patios, all with impressive lake and valley views.We did a tour with Un-corked Okanagan and they were absolutely fantastic! The experience was so positive, I’m going back again {this year} with the hubbs to do another tour :) One of the owners/hosts, Jim, currently serves as a Director of Tourism in Westside and is a plethora of information on the wine industry in the Okanagan, they pick up at most hotels in the area and their website was too easy –check it out (linked above) or their Facebook page for more info: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Kelowna-Wine-Tours-Uncorked-Okanagan/119681701413738

 

We started off the morning of June 7 at 9am, and with coffee in hand, we strolled the Kelowna waterfront. Jim picked us up at the lovely Delta Grand for 10, where we headed off to our first winery of 8 that day, to kill a little time before meeting up with the rest of the group. This is when E and I decided that we may as well purchase at least one bottle per stop – yes, I came home with a case in my trunk :) Jim kindly upgraded our tour because there were two small groups who booked different tours that day, so we ended up going together instead (getting lunch included) and meeting some new friends.

 We did the bottleneck drive tour, and the wineries we visited (in order) were:

  • Mt. Boucherie
  • Greata Ranch
  • Sleeping Giant
  • Thornhaven
  • Dirty Laundry
  • Sonoran
  • Sumac Ridge
  • Mission Hill

After our first stop, we met up with the rest of the group and hopped into the new Mercedes van with our host, Herb. It was a full day of wine and laughs and we were on the road from 10am – 5pm. With about a full glass of wine at each place after the generous number of tastings, needless to say, we were a bit “tipsy” by the time we stopped for lunch at Sonoran – the tastings may be small, but they sure do add up!

Herb was such a fantastic host! It takes an exceptional kind of guy to drive five women around (half drunk, mind you) and put up with all their shenanigans :) Another special touch that Un-Corked offered was that all day, Herb was taking photos and by 6am the next morning he had sent us each an email with a link to over a hundred fun-filled pics. Thanks again Herb!

So, after a long day of wine, we curled up in our bunk beds and hit the sack to prepare for a day of shopping and the 1 hour (hung-over) drive to Vernon.

  

We arrived in Vernon a bit early on Friday, so E and I decided to take in a local attraction that caught our eye… Planet Bee. What attracted me was, on the flyer it said “wine tastings” – of course :) Who knew that you could make wine out of honey! So we drove up the winding, dusty road and arrived at Planet Bee for our “mead” tasting. Made from fermented honey and water, mead can be produced from various different honeys, flavoured with spices or fruit, and made to be very sweet, very dry or anywhere in between. Good thing we each had a space left in our boxes, because we couldn’t leave without a honey-wine as well :)

  

To top off the week, we attended my cousin’s wedding. It was a lovely, private, casual ceremony overlooking the river, and with an open bar to conclude the trip, after 5 solid days of drinking, needless to say, I’m on a no-booze cleanse for the next 45 days. At this time I’m on day 27 (pat on the back) and going strong. For those who love their wine as much as I do, you will sympathize with me that it’s incredibly difficult to hold back when you have a case of spectacular, hand picked wines sitting on your counter waiting for you! Wish me luck that I make it to July 27!!

– B


 

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The “Annual Summer Adventure” a little background…

Well, it’s official… The 2012 Summer Adventure is booked! This year E and I are travelling to the sunny Okanagan for a friendly visit in Summerland, a Kelowna wine tour, and then top it all off with a family wedding!

A little background on the “Summer Adventure”…

Before I get too far into this year’s adventure (stay tuned for that post in a few weeks), I want to give you some background on how this little tradition all started… Last year, my girlfriend E and I thought it would be fun to go on a stay-cation and explore our “local” land. Since we both live in BC and we really don’t get out and travel around our own Country enough (let alone our own Province), we decided on a 10 day camping trip to Vancouver Island, with a few days to spend on Saltspring Island.

Here’s a map for those of you not familiar with BC and the Gulf Islands:

E is currently living on Vancouver Island in Victoria, so we decided that would be a good place to start off. So, on the Friday evening I packed up my car, literally PACKED! Little D and I said goodbye to the hubbs, and we got on the ferry to Victoria… Little D is my fur-baby… he may also be referred to as LD for short (or DD).

We spent the first night at E’s place, then set off for Tofino bright and early the next morning… in the pouring rain… Don’t you just love BC! Once we arrived in Tofino, the rain happily stopped for us and we camped beach-side in the sun for 4 days – our campsite was absolutely beautiful! We had all sorts of stuff planned (even a whale watching tour) but we just couldn’t pull ourselves away from that beach. It seemed to stretch on for miles and miles, and the sand felt like a soft sponge beneath my feet. We ended up giving ourselves natural  pedicures from all the bare-foot walking on that super-fine sand, and let me tell you, there is nothing quite like waking up to the cool, damp, mossy smells of the west coast, while enjoying your Baliey’s & coffee in the sun, on the beach, with two of your best friends!

After 4 days in Tofino (on a deflated air mattress) we were ready for a real bed to sleep in, so we packed the car back up and carried on to Parksville where we stayed with my Aunt, Uncle and their three dogs for 2 days. It was a great opportunity to get in some family time – they are so much fun, I always love visiting them! While in Parksville we visited a local market and of course, did some more beach combing where we picked up some lovely sand dollars to add to our already vast collection of shells from Tofino. We then had to “improvise” and get a new air mattress for our second round of camping…

So, once we had a few nights to recover from sleeping on the ground, we hopped on a small ferry over to Saltspring Island were we camped again for 2 days, then spent our final night in a quaint little B&B. I used to visit Saltspring often when I was a kid with a friend whose family still owns a cabin there. I absolutely ADORE that Island, so full of wonder… it really has a different pulse from the city. We spent the afternoon on Saturday at the “internationally acclaimed” village market where we picked up all sorts of local goods, and the last night we spent at a local B&B that was just too cute (and pet friendly of course). It was really nice to be able to have a comfortable shower, rest up, settle in for a bottle of wine (or two) and get a good nights sleep to prepare for our trip home.

Since we had SO much fun last year we decided then, that we should make this an annual thing… and thus, the “Summer Adventure” was born! This is something we just so happen to plan together, just us girls (no boys allowed), but we have always ended up meeting with and visiting others along the way. This year, we decided on a Wine Tour in the Okanagan that will be coming up this week (June 6-10) so stay tuned for my post on that adventure!

– B

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