The Tastes of Summerland

Getting out of grey Vancouver and back to the warmth of Naramata was exactly what we needed. We stopped to load up on fresh picked apples, cherries and peaches at our favourite Keremeos fruit stand on the way up, Parson's. We settled in at our accommodations and were struck by the friendliness of our hosts, and the breathtaking view of Okanagan Lake.

Sunday we explore the surroundings a little bit, and then head down to the small market in Naramata village. There’s actually a pretty respectable deli bar there, and we order some sliced meat, delicious cheese (Poplar Grove’s Washed Rind Brie, which has an orange tinted exterior) and perhaps the best olive tapenade we’ve ever eaten.

Our friends are meeting up with us tomorrow, so we opt for a short afternoon trip to Summerland (or as our daughter sometimes calls it, "Summer Island"). This sleepy town on the southwest shore of Okanagan Lake is home to Sumac Ridge Winery. Those who know the BC wine biz history understand that SRW founder Harry McWatter is the big wheel in Okanagan wines, and a founder of the VQA (Vintner's Quality Alliance) designation. We ask if Harry is home and they say he’s not around but give me directions to his ranch. Very courteous, I thought.

Sumac Ridge Estate Winery

When we got to Sumac the bar had just cleared and we had the server to ourselves for a couple of minutes. She was extremely charming, and we always do our best to be gracious and appreciative of the little wine goodies we are about to taste. We saw that there was a 4 complementary tastings per person limit, which the server indicated she wouldn’t be too strict about. We always reciprocate this kindness with a healthy purchase.

Sumac Ridge just received a Lieutenant Governor’s Award for their Stellars Jay Brut. (Link to LG’s list here). On this day we tried their Gewurtztaminer, their un-oaked and Reserve Chardonnay, a Pinot Gris and their Cabernet-Merlot blend and Merlot. All were reasonably priced, and well-crafted. Like many BC wines they could use a year, maybe 2 of bottle age. That evening we opened the Cab-Merlot during dinner.

This is as much wine touring we've ever done in the past in Summerland, so we set out to explore the area. Last year we rode the Kettle Valley Railway, which featured a real live train robbery! We popped in to check out the KVR station, and it reminded us that we should take the train again some day. It was a hoot.

Hollywood and Wine Estate Winery

After exploring the back roads of Summerland, we found ourselves finally at a brand new winery, Hollywood and Wine. The tasting room was small but quaint, and our host extremely friendly. The walls were lined up with autographed shots of famous actors, presumably taken on set. The owner of Hollywood and Wine is a Teamster who drives movie set vehicles. During our brief tasting a shot of Harrison Ford and Bob Newhart looked down at us.

Hollywood and Wine uses certified organic grown grapes straight from the estate's vines. The operation is not as slick as some of the others in the area, but it has great potential. We bought a bottle of their Gewürztraminer.

We continued on to Thornhaven Estate Winery and Silkscarf. More on these in our next posts.