4 Great Wineries, 1 awesome day.
Okanagan Falls has no Falls. Well it used to have twin water falls where Lake Okanagan drained into the Okanagan River.In the 1950’s a flood gate was built to help stop spring flooding of farmers lands and that is how a town named after two water falls now has no falls. What it is lacking in water falls it is more than making up for with wineries. The OK Falls is home to 12 wineries that combined sell over $30 million worth of wine each year. I’ve visited one of those wineries already but I’m dying for a tour of some of the others. With my un official tour guide Allison Marking leading the 30 Days Of Summer tour of Okanagan Falls wines we are off to explore 4 great wineries. Thankfully she is driving and not me!
The first winery we stop at on our tour is Noble Ridge. Located at 2320 Oliver Ranch Road the vineyard is owned and run by Jim and Leslie D’Andrea who fell in love with the property in 2001 and since then have grown it from 3.5 acres of vines to over 21 acres. Into the wine shop we go for a tasting but before we begin with the wines I had to catch the view out on the patio, see the photo above. The view is amazing, but now it is some time for wine. We start our tasting with The One, a very nice sparkling wine that is picking up some awards. From there we moved through their Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and their white blend called Mingle. All very nice wines but the ones I’m really excited to try are the Pinot Noir, Meritage and Meritage Reserve. They did not disappoint at all. The Pinot Noir and Meritage Reserve were my favs and I can see a bottle or two calling my cellar home.
Our next winery is a short drive away and can be found at 4287 McLean Creek Rd. Meyer Family Vineyards is what I would call a boutique winery. Big enough to produce a nice quantity of wine but small enough that they can do exactly what they want when they want. A great example of this is seen in the tasting room where they do vertical tastings. What’s a vertical tasting you ask? It’s where you taste the same varietal grape but from different vintages or from different vineyards, for example we sampled four different Chardonnays and each one was different than the other. Chardonnay is not my #1 choice for whites but all very tasty. What I really enjoyed was their Gewürztraminer and the Pinot Noirs which for some reason I forgot to snap a photo of. I’m learning the more I drink the more I forget
Now this is a winery I know well. Located at 2145 Sun Valley Way Wild Goose Vineyards can often be found in my wine cellar, especially the Autumn Gold and their Rose. In fact I’ve been known to order a case every summer and have it delivered to my home. Wild Goose has been around for over 25 years producing great wines, in fact they received the 17th license from the Province t grow grapes but were the 1st Farm Gate license approved. What does that mean? It means they were first in OK Falls to grow grapes and make their own wine for sale. Instead of just tasting the wines here we decided to have lunch at their brand new bistro named Smoke & Oak. It’s only been open since May of 2014 and we are lucky enough to have Father & Son Adolf & Roland Kruger join us for our meal. What better way to taste wines than with food after all. Smoke & Oak is a BBQ with a German twist. Over our lunch we consumed brisket, pulled pork, ribs, spaetzle (gluten free and regular) as well as an amazing warm German Potato Salad. If you are wondering where the German influence comes from ask Adolf All the while we ate we drank. Happy days. When it was time to leave we all left with a little something, I already have a stock of the Autumn Gold & Rose back home so I couldn’t resist picking up a bottle of their Gewurztraminer which had just won an award.
Our last stop of the day is crazy! No really it’s at Kraze Legz Winery located at 141 Fir Ave. Owners Gerry and Sue Thygesen work the wine shop and greeted us when we arrived. This was probably our longest visit outside of lunch. Gerry is hilarious and his passion for wine and what they are creating shows through in his every word. Each wine is named after a dance or a phrase made famous during the roaring 20’s. There wasn’t a wine here I didn’t like but the stand outs for me had to be the Merlot Ice Wine, I bought a bottle, and the unreleased Port. By the time you are reading this they may have released the Port for sale. When I was there they gave us a wee taste and man it was fantastic. In fact it’s so good that a certain famous wine writer from Vancouver had told his friends about it which meant that Gerry and Sue had sold over half of what they produced before it was even released! I’d love to give you some great wine tasting notes but to be honest this is the 4th winery in one day and all I can tell you is that I loved their wines.
Wine tasting may be an art for some people but I think it’s a marathon race and there is no better place in the world to do it than in our own Okanagan. So I’ve now officially visited 5 of the 12 wineries in the OK Falls region, I guess that means I need to schedule another trip so I can visit the other 7 wineries.
Which is your favourite that you’ve visited I’d love to know.