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sludick Jun 4th, 2006 05:32 PM

Your Favorite Wineries in Southern Okanagan?
When you have to come all the way from Orlando, Florida, for a family reunion in Marysville, Washington -- well, it just calls for a side trip.

So we're going to take the scenic drive up to the Okanagan and staying for a night in Oliver. We want to be sure to visit some good wineries. What are your favorites? We enjoy dry wines, particularly reds. Some whites, such as Pinot Grigio. We'll also pick up a bottle or two of ice wine, to serve over the holidays.

We're planning to stop at Hester Creek, Gehringer, Wild Goose, Stag's Hollow, Iniskillin, maybe Hawthorn Mountain. Not sure what others, but we would like to bring some wonderful Okanagan wine home with us (yes, it's well worth the duty fee!).

I asked this question last fall on our first trip to the area, when I really had no idea what was there. We were in the Kelowna area, and everyone's suggestions were so helpful. Thank you for those, and I'm looking forward to any suggestions on the Osoyoos-Oliver area.

traveller69 Jun 4th, 2006 07:37 PM

Hi again! It is funny that you got a room at the Southwind because they told me they were completely booked. It is a nice hotel in a good spot.
For red wines - some of the best anywhere are at LaFrenz. They are located on the road out of Penticton that goes to Naramata. It isn't far. They have won numerous awards and although we like good wine my brother is a real wino!!! He is on everyone's list for new releases and LaFrenz is certainly his favourite for reds. There is a winery called Desert Hills which is south of Oliver on the road to Burrowing Owl. Their Pinot Gris is excellent - I highly recommend them you won't be disappointed. Also Hester Creek has a great "IceWine"style wine. You mentioned you were going there anyway. You also mentioned Wild Goose - they have excellent wines as well. We don't usually go to the larger wineries because we like dealing with the smaller family businesses so as far as Iniskillin and Hawthorn Mountain go I can't say that I have tried any of theirs lately. One winery that is really worth a visit is close to Desert Hills (Burrowing Owl road) is Silver Sage. Their wines are quite unique and it is a lovely spot. You should pay them a visit. That will keep you busy for awhile!! Hope to talk to you again before your big trek west!

weasel Jun 4th, 2006 09:46 PM

Hi , If your in Oliver you should also check out Tinhorn Creek, I like their Merlot. Have fun

sludick Jun 5th, 2006 04:55 AM

weasel - funny you mention Tinhorn Creek; they are how we learned about the Okanagan in the first place.

We had dinner a couple of years ago at Joe Fortes in Vancouver. They served us a merlot from Tinhorn Creek, as a matter of fact! That started us planning a vacation across BC that included a few days in the Okanagan, and we just loved the wineries! (Except for Mission Hill, I guess, though it IS nice to look at.) We visited quite a few, but there are so very many.

traveler69 -- yes, we did buy a bottle of that icewine-style wine at Hester Creek, it was excellent. We'll definitely add La Frenz and Silver Sage to the list. Doesn't Burrowing Owl have a restaurant? Would like to find a couple of nice spots for lunch while we're touring.

Thanks, both of you!

traveller69 Jun 5th, 2006 07:32 AM

Burrowing Owl has a wonderful restaurant. As a matter of fact we celebrated my birthday there last year. They have a great deck and I think you mentioned last year the beautiful view. The food is definitely excellent. Now - just remember you must watch your glass of wine carefully because you never know one of those rehabilitated owls might find it too much of a temptation!!

Silver Sage winery has quite a story. About a year and a half ago (time goes by so quickly I am not sure) the owner lost his life in one of the wine vats - no oxygen. One of his workers went in to try to save him but also lost his life. It was very sad. The widow has continued on running the winery. She is a great lady. She is certainly knowlegable about the wines and is just full of information. She works in the tasting room when they are busy. They actually have one of the nicest tasting rooms and the grounds are spectacular. They have some lovely wines and their dessert wines are very interesting as well. They have one wine "The Flame" which they call a dessert wine. It is actually Hot - there is a red chili pepper in it. They always sell out quickly but it is great after a spicy meal. Something different and it makes a great gift.

I am glad you are going to La Frenz you will not be disappointed. Their wines are truly excellent. They have a good website where you can read about their wines

I will ask my brother for any other recommendations. I know when I go to Wild Goose and La Frenz to pick up his latest wine order I am known as "Don's sister" (He lives in Calgary and makes a trek to Oliver twice a year).
The other wine that you really should try is the Desert Hills Pinot Gris. It is excellent and you mentioned you like it. As I said they are very close to Burrowing Owl and Silver Sage. Enough for now.

wrldtrvlr05 Jun 5th, 2006 10:24 AM

I agree with traveller69 LaFrenz is one of the best wineries in Canada. I also really enjoy Desert Hills wines. Their new release Pinot Gris is excellent and if you like a lighter wine the
Gamay is also very good. Silver Sage is certainly worth a visit - very interesting wines here. Gehringer has a Dry Rock cab merlot that is also excellent. Oliver area has so many wonderful wineries. I envy anyone living there.

chrispy Jul 27th, 2006 12:41 AM

You absolutely have to check out Burrowing Owl. The reds are the best in the Valley in my humble opinion. I had a glass of their 98 cab sav at the restaurant a few year back. It was $35 a glass and worth every penny. I've never had it's equal since.

You should also check out as well. They have some nice pictures in their forums.

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