Prior to falling in love with an Okanagan boy, I had never before visited Canada’s wine country. Now I get to go there once or twice a year. Lucky me. And with each trip to his home town, Kurt, who doesn’t drink at all but is a super rad boyfriend, makes sure to take me on a little boozey tour. Here are some of my favourite places to sip:
The experience: I visited Ex Nihilo on the recommendation of 2 of it’s employees, possibly the vitner and his son? The owner and his son? I don’t even know, but it doesn’t matter. I served them last fall when I was still a part time waitress and they were awesome. This place is great. They have a set tasting menu, all of which were great. The space is beautiful and has lots of art, which you are encouraged to tour, wine in hand. The young woman, Nina, who gave me the tasting, was unreal and is absolutely an asset to the vineyard. She had people skills that are much too rare these days.
What I bought: Riesling $19 Actually Kurt bought it for me. The tasting had a $5 fee that was waved if you purchased a bottle of wine, which justified the purchase to him. I thought this was spicier than any other Riesling I’ve had in awhile, best paired with something. Not sure what though. Ask them, they will have ideas.
Best drunk: At dinner with your boyfriends parents, who love white wine and also you, but who you are still trying to kind of impress.
The experience: This is right across the street from Ex Nihilo so if you do one you have to do both. The tasting menu is not set, meaning you can chose whatever you like and is free. The woman who gives the tasting, I wish I knew her name, but I don’t, is awesome. Sweet and knowledgeable and funky and not at all intimidating. The room itself is small, but the view is beautiful and they are adding on what I’m sure will be an amazing addition. I can’t wait to come back here summer 2015.
What I bought: Pinot Gris $17 I love this wine. It’s so good.
Best drunk: Mid-afternoon on a Sunday with friends you don’t see enough.
The experience: Of all the wineries we visited, this one is the most established. It’s beautiful inside and out. There is a restaurant onsite that I have not tried so I can’t speak to personally, but I’m sure is both delicious and expensive. The tasting list is long and complementary with a list of premium wines you can pay a small fee to taste. I exploited the free list and also paid $2 to sample all the bubblies, which was totally worth it.
What I bought: White Brut $17 for a small bottle. This is some of the best sparkling wine I’ve ever tasted. I truly wish I had bought 3 large bottles instead of 1 small one.
Best drunk: At a celebration! Like your boyfriend’s brother’s engagement, for example. Or your best friend’s. Or any of the other couples that all got engaged over the last 3 weeks.
The experience: This place is literally down the street from Kurt’s parents house. His brother is best friend’s with a guy that grew up on this farm. Cool, right? If the BX Press existed in Victoria it would be a crazy success based on the branding alone. The room is beautiful. The design flawless and hip. The ciders each have a kitchy wild west type story based on the history of the region. I love it here. At the tasting you get to try the 3 ciders, all of which are on the dry side of delicious.
What I bought: The 3 Pack $24 A bottle each of The Bandit, The Hostler, and The Prospector. All delicious.
Best drunk: On your patio after an extra hard run/hike/workout. Even better, pour one into a plastic cup and enjoy in the shower after said workout.
The experience: Neither as beautiful as the other vineyards listed here, not as hip as the cidery, but I think that might make them try harder with regards to the quality of their product. So. Good. Also, the tasting list is long and free, so that rules.
What I bought: A very yummy Gewurztraminer $17
Best drunk: At the beach on a picnic, eating potato salad and watching the sun go down with the one you love.