Wine Tours and the Little Things

Sometimes you don't know what you need inside your soul. That is, until you're yelling out lyrics to Robyn's Show Me Love circa 1997 while wine-drunk, and on your way to a pool overlooking a vineyard.

But that's the beautiful thing about summer—it's full of surprises.

My dear friend and wine expert Lisa Marie moved to the Okanagan recently after 11 years in Fernie. So we followed her. Four girls on a plane, four days in wine country, a pool, and Lisa to guide us through our sweetest wine dreams.

Jody, Anna, Chan, Jesse, and Lisa. Riesling, Chardonnay, Malbec, Rosé, Pinot Gris. Wine tours just got glorious.

After arriving at the Kelowna airport, we're informed of our first wine tour in 20 minutes.

“Liquid lunch, ladies,” Lisa says. When we arrive at Kitsch Wines, a beautiful mansion overlooking the shimmery Okanagan Lake, liquid lunch seems just fine.

Winemaker Grant introduces us to the tasting room, an open-doored garage with vineyard views. Six different wines, five glasses, and us. We talk about the grape-growing process and not long after, leave with our first of many full cases of wine. Chan, owner of Freyja Lifestyle Fashion in downtown Fernie (and my personal fashion go-to guru) proudly carries the case back to the car.

We have lunch, though it escapes me where, and then visit The Hatch. A handsome man with white-blonde hair pours us a sampling of whites and suddenly we're critics, giggling about the smell, texture, and taste with each swirl of the glass.

“This one's clean. It's just a really clean wine,” Chan says. “Punchy. Clean.”

We erupt in hysterics, the wine's gone to our heads. Laughter feels good, a deep-bellied good, an I-needed-this-desperately good. We leave with another case of wine and drive to Indigenous World Wines.

After admiring the bunches of lavender outside, we sip and savour, leaving with another case. I quickly learn it's difficult to visit a winery without buying a bottle or two, or three. As we drive along the west shore of Okanagan Lake, Robyn's Show Me Love throws us all back to the 90s, and my soul does a little dance.

Following a beer at Cannery Brewing Co. and a plate full of chicken and artichoke heart nachos, we end up poolside on the Naramata Bench, our first day of wine touring done.

In the morning, after a walk in the sun, we explore the Summerland area. First, Dirty Laundry Vineyards. Winemaker Mason leads us through a wine cellar where we compare Malbecs, then we sit for pizza on the patio. Like Italy; pizza and wine beneath green vines overlooking enchanted wine country.

“To Lisa!” we cheers, our glasses full of chilled Sauv Blanc (you can try this at Wapiti Music Festival this year—hooray!).

After lunch, we break from wine at Nomad Cider and pick fresh raspberries. Then we do a tasting beneath a stormy sky with TH Wines, large raindrops haphazardly falling around us. Then we shop for dinner and snacks; steaks, kale, potatoes, cheese buns, onion rings, and chicken burgers.

A low point, perhaps, though it all depends on how you look at it. After all, a girl needs her snacks.

That evening after dinner we gather beneath the awning by the pool and watch the Okanagan sun fall way to the night.

On our third day, we find ourselves at the Red Rooster Winery's sensory room, where mason jars filled with different dried fruits and other influences of wine align the shelves. An energetic man named Berk leads us through several different wines—we swirl, smell, pair with canapés.

Aged cheddar smothered in honey and coffee grinds with Pinot Gris; cream cheese and strawberry foam on a graham cracker crumb with Rosé; potato, capers, tomato, and lemon juice and dill with Chardonnay.

“Remember, ladies, wine-food-wine,” says Berk. Indeed.

We tackle four more wineries before the day's end and spend the rest of the afternoon poolside. As I bob up and down on my blow-up doughnut in the pool, I think about the little things; a great pair of sandals, a pink flamingo, a bug swimming in someone's wine, a photograph.

I realize then, the little things aren't so little. And wine tours aren't just about wine.

Disclaimer: Robyn is not on the Wapiti Music Festival lineup, though there are some other truly incredible bands to hit the stage. Go! Drink some wine! Do a little soul dancing of your own