Winetasting in the Southern Okanagan: Summerland and Naramata Bench

Wine tasting and exploring in Summerland and Naramata regions of Southern Okanagan

– Part One

2009_Aug_Kalamalka 085 Todd & Deb taste the delicious fruit wines of Elephant Island Orchard Winery.

I am glad that my girlfriend Deb enjoys wine tasting, and trying out the many different Okanagan wines of BC.  On BC Day, August 3rd Monday, we travelled with friends to the Summerhill and Naramata Bench growing areas.  Only 2 hours south of Vernon, where Deb's parents live, the area is dryer and more sun drenched.  The hills are softer and less steep than Kalamalka Lake's Predator Ridge and Kalamalka Park.

It probably started with our official first date when I brought over a bottle of Summerhill Cipes Brut sparkling wine to help celebrate her new job.  3 months later we explored the Kelowna area wineries of Mission Hill, Quail's Gate, Mt. Boucherie, and Summerhill Pyramid winery.  We also drove up to to Silver Star ski resort to try out the 2nd annual Okanagan Summer Wine Festival. 

Last year, we took our friends Craig and Zsuzsanna to Summerhill Pyramid winery, and Sumac Ridge Estates.  This time we felt it we wanted to explore farther south to Summerland and Naramata Bench – where Deb hadn't been in 20 years, despite being raised in the North Okanagan.

We visited Thornhaven, Dirty Laundry and Sleeping Giant fruit winery in Summerhill, part of the “Bottleneck Drive” group of local wineries to promote the growing wine business on the west side of Okanagan Lake.  Then we visited the Naramatat Bench, home to BC's largest concentration of wineries, but only had enough time to visit Elephant Island Orchard Winery and Soaring Eagle Estates – before they closed at 6pm.

Grapes at Soaring Eagle Estates.

Thornhaven Estates was the first winery we checked in at.  After the 2 hour long drive from Vernon, we ate our sandwiches in the car.  But we could have relaxed and eaten on the lovely and inviting adobe styled outdoor patio at Thornhaven.  It looks exotic in the “Great White North” of Canada – but the Sonoran desert plateau of the American Southwest actually extends all the way into Canada near Oosooyoos.


More pictures on Toddish McWong's flickr link:

2009 July Winetasting

2009 July Winetasting

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