Weekend Wine – Banée comes back to the South Okanagan

Weekend Wine – Banée comes back to the South Okanagan

banee2010
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:

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Wine and the Games a good mix for B.C.

Wine and the Games a good mix for B.C.

Lindsay Anderson
Lindsay Anderson helps to manage Nk'Mip Cellars

In all the excitement the 2010 Games are generating for crowds attending free live concerts, the assortment of pavilions, and just enjoying the crowds and mild weather, it would be easy to forget that some serious business is taking place in rooms across town. British Columbia, Host Province of the 2010 Games, is working hard to get the message out there about the advantages of living and working here, and about the many products we produce. While not everyone may be keenly aware of how many ways we process natural resources, a whole bunch of us are learning about the world-class wine crafted in BC. Nk'Mip Cellars (pronounced 'in-ke-meep') from Osoyoos in the south Okanagan is one winery that has a great story to share with the world.

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Torch Relay goes through Wine Country

Torch Relay goes through Wine Country

terry-mulligan-torch
Legendary broadcaster Terry David Mulligan carries the torch through Penticton this week

A story that hasn't quite penetrated the consciousness of most of us out here on the mellow "Wet Coast" is the fact that communities across Canada have been lit up with excitement by the Olympic Torch Relay. Very soon that flame will be trekked across Metro Vancouver and Whistler. It's been winding its way around BC since last week, and on Monday it was carried north through the Okanagan Valley, the heart of BC wine country.

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Seriously. Lucky.

Seriously. Lucky.

How lucky are we to be here?
How lucky were we to be here?

Even as the weather has cooled down the last week or so here on the coast, we're still pinching ourselves that we had such a glorious, warm & sunny week in the Okanagan. This photo showing a happy Stacey reminds me of what we had, an affordable accommodation in the beautiful surroundings of the Naramata Bench looking over Okanagan Lake.

For those of you who've ever thought about traveling BC's interior and visiting wineries, but haven't yet done so, we highly recommend that you try it.

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