Today was suppose to be our beach day but the weather was not too co-operative. Plan B fell into place..wineries here we come.
Our first stop along Highway 97 was The Burrowing Owl Winery.
The following information I found on the website...this pretty much sums it up...good wine at a fair price..
"It's all about the wine"
Balance is a time-honored goal in the making of premium wines and working toward balance is a way of life at Burrowing Owl Estate Winery. Founder Jim Wyse is committed to balance, well beyond that of the fine, world-class wines being produced. A kind of Hippocratic oath ("to do no harm") underlies the creative viticultural and ecological practices at Burrowing Owl.
The varied and deceptively fragile desert ecosystems within the adjoining vineyards continually challenge the environmentally sensitive team at Burrowing Owl. Alternative pest control systems are the standard. More than 100 bluebird boxes and two bat nurseries invite insect-eating guests to stay awhile and dine in the vineyards.
Ground nests of meadowlarks are protected by barriers in springtime to prevent farm machinery and vineyard workers from inadvertently destroying them. Snakes are safely relocated.
Bears and big horned sheep are discouraged from sharing the harvest but never harmed.
The winery and vineyard lie within one of Canada's most unique ecosystems which includes the northernmost tip of the Sonora Desert. The location (on a southwest-tilting, sandy plateau) near the north end of Osoyoos Lake, is one of the most highly rated grape-growing locations in the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, and for that matter Canada.
In 1993, when Jim Wyse began to replant the vineyards which had been carefully selected for their ability to produce world class, premium quality grapes, the winery was not part of his long term vision. Having recognized the potential of this location, Jim was gratified to see wines made with his grapes gaining immediate recognition.
Finally, the decision to build Burrowing Owl Estate Winery was confirmed and a winery license was obtained in 1997. Construction began in early 1998 and completed just in time for that year's harvest. The site has since been enhanced with a beautiful fine-dining Restaurant and luxurious Guest House.
Today, with its dramatic vantage point in the middle of the vineyard is Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, a wine making facility that combines state-of-the-art technologies with proven, classic winemaking traditions.
A gravity-flow system handles ripe grapes delicately, preserving their rich fruit character. Extensive underground cellaring capacity ensures that long term barrel aging is never limited by space. Steve Wyse closely oversees the winemaking process for Burrowing Owl to produce beautifully balanced, premium wines.
In 1997 the first commercially available wines bearing Burrowing Owl's current label were crafted in consultation with renowned California winemaker, Bill Dyer. The Wyse family feels the wine making opportunities and possibilities at this unique location are immeasurable.
They continue to apply their pioneering, yet traditional approach to wine making as they research, study and explore the potential of the land -- choosing the very best it has to offer and fine tuning the results at every step. Burrowing Owl makes only premium quality wines, and has received acclaim for all 8 wine types now produced, including international "Best of Varieties" awards, "Best of B.C." and "Best of Canada" awards.
We of course did the wine tasting and made a purchase of a bottle of white pinot gris..onto the next winery
Our next stop today was Desert Hill Winery. We drove up to the wine shop and left Tucker in the car..no sooner had we walked away did the mascot dog arrive to sniff around the car..poor Tucker was a sitting "dog'...he was barking the whole time we were inside.
The Desert Hill Winery is located in the south Okanagan adjacent to Canada's only true "pocket desert". The land here has been converted to a vineyard along an area known as the Black Sage Bench. We added another purchase of a chardonnay to the trunk of the car.
Our last stop today was the Oliver Twist Winery. This winery is also located on the Black Sage Bench.
Just in case the name itself didn’t tip you off, Oliver Twist Winery has made an appearance in the Okanagan with a program of "twist" caps only. It’s a fun play on words that is representative of the owners’ sense of playfulness as they travel the journey from fruit growers to winery owners. However, although the name itself may be light-hearted, this is a serious winery with attention to both the science as well as the art behind wine making.
Bruce and Denise Hagerman moved back to the Okanagan and purchased an apple, peach and cherry orchard on the Black Sage Bench in 2002. The property is ideal for grape growing and accordingly in 2005 they cleared the seventeen acre estate and readied it for grapes. In May 2006 the Hagerman’s planted 27,000 vines including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Merlot and Syrah.
Their Viognier planting is actually currently 10% of the current Viognier planting in the Okanagan (they have put in three acres making thirty for the area in total).
For the current year the Hagerman’s purchased their grapes from the surrounding areas of the Black Sage Bench and the Golden Mile and have released a Pinot Gris, Kerner, and Chardonnay.
The late summer will see the release of a Pinot Noir and in 2008 the Merlot will make an appearance. Total production will be about 2,000 cases for 2006 with plans to limit eventual production to approximately 7,000 cases.
Our final wine purchase today was an award winning 2008 Kerner. I have now added these bottles to our collection of Okanagan wines, five in total..will they be shared or won't they?..have to wait and see!!
We arrived back at Nk'mip to a collection of new neighbours, a truck, boat and camper and 4 dogs, 7 kids, and a bunch of adults..party central..GREAT!
Behind us in the site we had last year is a beautiful 40 foot tag axle Beaver Coach from Alberta. A nice middle-aged couple, who we thought we going to be normal bus people..nice and quiet..never assume anything..
We, of course thought that the truck and camper would be the noisy ones with all dogs and people etc..NOPE…they were all in bed by 9:00 pm...
The party animals??..the Beaver Coach..8 people for dinner directly behind our trailer..five to six empty bottles of wine..laughing and cackling..having a grand ole time..never mind the fact that neighbours can hear every word they are saying.... a woman who could not even walk because she was so drunk, never mind find her car, which, by the way, was just across the road, and then she drove to her campsite somewhere else in the park..can't walk, may as well drive!!
We have not had much luck in the neighbour department these past two weeks..we can only hope that it will improve in the next two weeks.
This evening before the sun went down and since our neighbours were still par-taying and the noise level was rising, we decided to go just up the hill and take a few pictures of the sunset at the Nk'mip Desert Cultural Centre.
It is finally quiet..all the drunks are in bed..the wind is starting up again but at least its peaceful and silent..except for the slight snore of Tucker dreaming of swimming, chasing a leaf or digging a hole..
Sweet dreams everyone..all is now quiet at Nk'mip...safe travels to my parents tomorrow, they are leaving Riverbend RV Park in Twisp, Washington and heading to Osoyoos Lake State Park, just about 10 kilometers from here..soon we will all be together again....