Monday, 30 July 2012

Wine Country.

On Friday morning we snuck away from the ranch for a little adventure in the Okanagan. For those of you not familiar with British Columbia, the Okanagan region is about fours hours northeast of Vancouver in British Columbia's interior. We are particularly lucky in that when driving from the ranch (situated just outside of Merritt), it takes merely an hour to find ourselves in wine country. When most people think of the area, they picture Lake Okanagan. When approaching from Highway 1, your first glimpse of the lake is absolutely breathtaking. It is absolutely gigantic and set amidst rolling hills. As you begin to work your way around the lake, there are small lakeside communities such as Peachland, Summerland, and Naramata, as well as the cities of Penticton, and Kelowna to explore. There are other lakes in the region, but Lake Okanagan is definitely one of the most impressive. The Okanagan region also boasts a dry and sunny climate and is known for it's agriculture. In the early years, this was primarily fruits, but the Okanagan has since made a name for itself in the world of wine.

On this particular day, we headed to the west facing slopes of the lake to visit the boutique wineries on the Naramata Bench. In the summer, these local wineries are in full swing, offering tastings, and welcoming wine tours. Many of them have fantastic restaurants overlooking the lake, giving tourists the opportunity to rest their legs, and sample some of the regional foods with their wine.

We make a few trips up to this area every year, and as a result, have a few favourite wineries that we like to visit. We also attempt to stop in at one or two that we haven't seen before.

The day begins with a light breakfast in Summerland 

Arriving at Poplar Grove Winery

Beautiful Lake views

Too cool for school.

Father and daughter.

Lunch: Mushroom, Green Pea, and Mint Flatbread

Prawn and Scallop Flatbread
Some of our purchases.

Now it was time to hit up one of our 'go-to vineyards'. La Frenz.

The tasting room at La Frenz

My usual purchase.

After visiting a couple of Vineyards, we headed for a walk in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park.

Less than comforting!

Murphy on the scent.

Some other things to note.

View of the bluffs- A popular climbing destination

Murphy and Dad take a breather and enjoy the view.
The view: A heard of Bighorn sheep in the field below where we were resting

After our hike, we continued along the lake to Okanagan Falls, and then drove back along the opposite side. We took a quick pit stop lakeside for a little R&R.

The perfect spot for an afternoon siesta.

We capped off our day with dinner at the German restaurant, Gasthaus on the Lake. Little did we know, it was Asparagus season, so we didn't leave without our fill of schnitzel and asparagus. The Gasthaus immediately transports you back to Germany with its traditional German Architecture and great interior decor. It also has a fantastic patio, perfect for warm summer evenings such as this one. 
What? There's a Biker Gang behing me??

Walking off the schnitzel lakeside, prior to the journey home.

Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.

-Ernest Hemingway (Death in the Afternoon)

I would have to agree!

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