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What’s NEWon the Okanagan Food & Wine Scene by Jennifer Cockrall-King

I’m working on a new book project this spring that won’t come out until spring 2016. It’s called Food Artisans of the Okanagan Valley, and I’m spending a fair amount of time touring the main streets and back roads of food and wine country, ferreting out what’s new and exciting. (Someone has to do this job.) But you don’t want to wait until next spring, do you? Of course not. Neither do I. So why don’t I share my newest discoveries with you, as a sort of sneak peek? And writing about the food side of life in the Okanagan is thirsty work. Here are the latest notable new wine, beer, spirits and food ventures that have sprung up. Let’s start in the north and work our way south. VERNON AND LAKE COUNTRY Okanagan Spirits ( launched over a decade ago with its worldclass eau-de-vie, fruit brandy, vodka, gin, grappa, aquavit and absinthe. But it now makes an elegant single malt, and has a fancy whisky lounge and a tasting room with a 27 ft. bar in its distillery headquarters in downtown Vernon as of January. 50th Parallel Winery ( in Lake Country opened its gorgeous new winery and tasting room in 2014 to much buzz because of wine maker Grant Stanley’s excellent pinot noirs and pinot noir rosés. Main Photo: The stunning view from 50th Parallel Estate, photo by Colin Jewall.

WNA WEST KELO Sumac Ridge (su om ul new tasting ro revealed a beautif g its din an br re r te af and facility facelift e, es – Sumac Ridg different wine lin Jay ’s ar ell St rds and Black Sage Vineya . els lab ique – into its own un te Hill Family Esta Last fall, Mission sed lea re Winery (missionhil allsm , ium ion of prem its Terroir Collect e ar h hic w s, rd wine lot, single-vineya m the winery. fro le ab ail av only

KELOWNA y new tasting rooms and exploding with swank This town seems to be com) opened in 2014 and bri lted Brick (salted ck. Sa nk. dri -made and eat to places local cheese and house a mere $11 for all that the ploughman’s lunch, tap. It also serves bubbly on charcuterie, is a steal. Curious ( just opened called The has t ran tau res w ne od-fired pizzas. An interesting best way – and good wo the in – nu me e iqu with a un is a very end of 2013, and opened at the kel nal cro gio (mi Re es Z Bit uD r Ra Ba at Micro same team -craft beer bar by the glass 900 sq. ft. wine-cocktail sting local wines by the ere int has cro Mi ay. aw s. ors do ter frit and risotto Table, just a few marinated mushrooms as h suc as tap ly nd rie and wine-f en to ors will have swung op s newsstands, the do hit ue ess iss s sin thi bu e an tim By the the owners me Clearly gri ort(pil , rep arl ey Pe Th . & bar m gri ter Pil ktails and an oys coc c ssi cla is, rtin ma or, perty next do 27 when it comes to & Pearl and its sister pro rim Pilg o al int n llio mi edly put $1 ectic lounge where loc promises to be an ecl 27 ). rcom spi na. and ow s kel ion ven uct (twentyse irs, bitters, red e will preside over elix r. Job ou rry flav Ge na ru low gu il Ke a kta h coc unge, wit the return of the Tiki Lo its, perhaps heralding in late titute (treebrewingbeerin Ins er Be its ed en op beer education, and Tree Brewing ss unfiltered craft beer, -gla -to keg its h ale h wit 14 20 summer spent grains served wit as pretzels made with h suc d, foo ed pir ins beerhoney mustard. winemaking philosin on its single vineyard alle gon has a) s.c ine a highly polished tasting Sandhill (sandhillw nce via flat screen TV in erie exp y now can you ophy, which lounge that opened in Ma expansive winery tasting and e siv res imp an e. in m anc progra ked in adv programs need to be boo 2014. Some of the tasting



SUMMERLAND Here are a couple of win e trends that are worth noting. There are a handful of Okanagan garagiste win e makers making great wines in micro-lots, many witho ut a winery. Another trend is “n atural wine” – a vague ly defined movement towards org anic and biodynamic, low interference, unfiltered and minimal additives. Summ erland’s Tyler Harlton Wines (thw are both garagi ste and natural, making the m highly sought after in his new galley tasting room in an industrial park.

PENTICTON Now this is what I call progress. Farmers’ Markets in BC are now allowed to sample and sell alcoholic beverages. Penticton Farmers’ Market ( paved the way with beer, liquor and wine vendors starting July last year, and this trend will likely spread to other markets in 2015. Bad Tattoo Brewing Company ( opened in July 2014 and quickly became Penticton’s busiest patio and brewpub.

N A R A M ATA The Grape Leaf Café (360 Robinson Avenue ; no website) is the ne village for big breakfast w spot in Naramata s, lunch comfort foods and cappuccinos, done right. They say that great win e is made mostly in the field, so while Deep Ro ( ots Winery is new, it’s no surprise that its wines are great. are in their fourth gene The Hardmans ration of fruit growing in the deep clay soils Bench. And I’m tickled of the Naramata pink and amber – sparkli ng gamay rosés and cha bruts respectively – abo rdonnay ut Bella Wines (bellaw, dedicated exc bubbly. The tasting roo lusively to m opened this spring. Legend Distillery (legend, also new in 2014, is dangerously and has a lovely tasting close to my house room. Let’s just say tha t I’m now never out of cra ft gin or vodka. O K A N A G A N FA L L S Something’s happening in Okanagan Falls, hitherto a bit of a drive-by location. Then last spring, Liquidity ( opened its excellent new bistro and winery with views of the south Okanagan landscape that should be hanging in the Louvre. Painted Rock ( winery also upgraded from an ATCO trailer as a wine shop to an ultra-modern tasting room and patio befitting its cult-status wines.

City Palate March April 2015  

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