Weekend Wine – Banée comes back to the South Okanagan

Banée – a tradition begun in France is growing in the South Okanagan

Our BC wine travels have taken me and my family regularly to the South Okanagan, and each year we return to find the industry maturing, and the wines evolving into something great. Many have worked hard over the years to improve their wines, and you can see from the quality of their work that they give a whole new meaning to 'learning on the job'.

For example, Stoneboat Vineyards was recently recognized by Wine Press Northwest magazine – a Washington state-based quarterly – as BC's 'winery to watch'. Then there is Okanagan Inniskillin, owned by the Vincor group. At our house we worship at the Temple of Sandor Mayer. Mayer is Inniskillin Okanagan's winemaker of the past 18 years, and one of the great wine craftsmen of the region. His rich reds (especially his Merlots) are one of life's great pleasures.

The South Okanagan is also home to other fine winemaking establishments like Burrowing Owl, Road 13 Winery, Quinta Ferreira, Jackson Triggs Okanagan, and the standout Fairview Cellars run by Bill Eggert.

Those who cherish the wines of the South Okanagan, or anyone who just wishes to know more about them are invited to the 7th Annual Banée (April 16-17, 2010), which was previously a closed event only for wine industry types. The Banée offers a selection of winemaker dinner + accommodation packages (ticket info further in this post). What you get next weekend in Osoyoos, BC is a behind-the-scenes experience, and an opportunity to mix with the folks who make the wines. My wife and I will be attending and we plan to share some of our observations on BCWineLover.com.

Modeled after Burgundy’s famed Banée de Meursault, a wine industry celebration that marks the end of pruning and the beginning of a new season, this festival will feature exquisite food and wine and will surely create a lasting tasting memory. Originally a small gathering of South Okanagan winery owners and winemakers enjoying a wine-focused, no-frills forum to taste local and international wines, exchange ideas and share meals, the Banée has grown and word has spread but the concept remains the same – good food, delicious wine and great company.

Another participating winery is Nk'Mip Cellars, who were recently profiled last Thursday on KBCS-FM which is the Seattle-area affiliate of the Pacifica Network. The independent station focuses on progressive politics and culture, and their feature story by reporter Toby Nelson looked at how First Nations casino projects were struggling in the current economy. They contrast that situation with the success of the Osoyoos Indian Band and their Nk'Mip winery. They speak with Lindsay Anderson, who I interviewed as part of our 2010 Updates. Toby interviewed me for some local thoughts about Nk'Mip, and I'm heard near the end of the piece. You can here the clip here:

Banée 2010 Details

Banee 2010 is presented by the South Okanagan Winery Association (SOWA). Banée will feature two opportunities to be part of the wine festival experience: the Taste of the South or the Banée Dinner.

Wine lovers are invited to join the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce for Culinaria, a wine tasting and live auction on Friday, April 16th from 6-9pm in the conference room at the Watermark Beachfront Resort in Osoyoos. This event will feature the opportunity for the public to taste alongside South Okanagan winemakers for a personal wine experience. Guests can taste the latest successes from the region, and hope for their own success in the live auction. Showcasing the best food and wine in the South Okanagan, for $49.00, this tasting will satisfy all palates.

For tickets, contact Bonnie Dancey at the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce 250.498.6321.

The final event is the Banée Dinner on Saturday, April 17th.  6:30 pm reception, 7-10:00pm dinner at the Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort and Spa. The public will taste the wines from the South Okanagan`s best wineries and bid for delicious prizes and surprises at the live auction after the dinner. Hosted by the South Okanagan Wine Association, the Banée dinner will top off a lavish weekend.. This is the event to be seen at for foodies and wine-lovers in Western Canada this spring! At $150.00, this evening will leave diners with remarkable memories of exquisite food and wine.

For tickets, please contact Denice Hagerman at Oliver Twist Winery 250.485.0227

Watermark Beachfront Resort

15 Park Place
Osoyoos, British Columbia
Canada V0H 1V0
Telephone: 250.495.5500

Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort and Spa

1200 Rancher Creek Road
Osoyoos, British Columbia
Canada V0H 1V0
Toll free: 1.877.313.WINE (9463)

Participating Wineries:

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
Cassini Cellars
Desert Hills Winery
Dunham & Froese Estate Winery
Fairview Cellars
Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery
Golden Beaver Winery Inc.
Hester Creek Estate Winery
Inniskillin Okanagan Vineyards Winery
Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate
Nk’Mip Cellars
Oliver Twist Estate Winery
Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery
Road 13 Vineyards
Silver Sage Winery
Stoneboat Vineyards
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards

Dubbed the ‘Wine Capital of Canada,’ British Columbia’s South Okanagan Valley region is alive with outstanding wineries, many of which have teamed up to form the South Okanagan Winery Association. Consisting of 20 wineries from the communities of Osoyoos and Oliver, SOWA represents this niche region that has attracted intrepid grape-growers, savvy wine makers, and diverse international personalities.