Iconic Wineries to Visit in Okanagan Valley

Mission Hill WineryHailed as the Napa of the North, Okanagan Valley boasts with a great number of wineries fit for wine lovers as well as adventurers. Its climate is the same as that of other wine-producing places, so it makes sense to have a large number of great wineries here. Most of the wineries here are family-run operations that harvest grapes such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

If you are going to visit Okanagan Valley for their famous wineries, the best time would be late spring to early fall, as wine festivals are rapidly on-going and the owners expects more visitors during this time. There are more than 150 wineries currently active at Okanagan Valley and visiting them all in one season can be a pain, therefore, we compiled some of the best wineries that you can visit this coming fall.

Summerhill Pyramid

Owned by Stephen Cipes and his family, Summerhill pyramid started back in 1986 and has been steadily growing ever since. It is one of the most visited winery in Okanagan and it’s also the largest certified organic winery in Canada. Their dedication in keeping the lake and grapes free from chemical has certainly paid-off. They have an extensive range of wine and visitors come from near and far to try their sparkling bubblys.


Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Owned by an Okanagan native provincial senator Ross Fitzpatrick, Cedar Creek Estate Winery is a Mediterranean-style winery which provides a spectacular view of lakes. It has its own restaurant which serves seasonal dishes made from local ingredients. By the way, Ross Fitzpatrick has taken an active role in shaping and preserving the future of the region. It is now owned and operated by his son, and has a motto “Respect the land, honour tradition, pursue perfection”.


Mission Hill Family Estate Winery

This work of art cannot be hard to spot because of their monument overlooking Kelowna. There are reports that it costs $40 million to be built. They have a wonderful lush on their on-site vineyards, underground cellars blasted from volcanic rocks. They even have an exquisite line-up of musical performers at the Amphitheater.


Featuring a state of the art facility completed in March 2010 and originally known as Pioneer Vineyards, Tantalus was founded in 2004 by Eric Savics. Dating back as far as 1927, it was originally used for table grapes. The facility was the first recipient of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).


Quails’ Gate Estate Winery

The tour in Quail’s Gate Estate Winery includes visiting the former tasting room which was housed in a restored stone and wood home built in 1873 by John and Susan Alison, the first European who settled in the west side with wine making in mind. The winery has a 4,500 square-foot hospitality center has a tasting bar with self-rinsing spittoon. They have Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and unique Zinfandel-like Maréchal Foch, made by Grant Stanley, formerly of New Zealand’s Ata Rangi.


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Iconic Wineries You Need to Visit in Napa Valley

Napa WineryNapa Valley, California, home of the world’s famous wineries. Spanning about thirty miles but containing hundreds of wineries (around 400 plus I guess), it can be an overwhelming feat for someone to visit the place for visiting wineries and take a sip of their wonderful wines.

What makes a good winery? There are other factors aside from the taste. From warm hospitality, scenic locations and the great wine they produce. Within these criteria, it can be easier to find out the best winery that you will visit. However, due to the overwhelming number of wineries that can be found in Napa, this task is still tedious. Therefore, we have compiled here for you some of the best of the best to help you in touring for the best wineries in Napa.

Castello di Amorosa

Located at 4045 North Saint Helena Highway, Calistoga, California it was styled as a 13th century Tuscan castle which took 15 years to be built. This castle does have real dungeons and torture chambers which could captivate you even more.

They have an award winning wine hand crafted in Italian style which is available only in the winery. They are open daily for general admissions and tours. They even offer exclusive vineyard tools as well other special tours like Royal Food. They are open daily for guests from 9:30am to 6:00pm from March through October, and 9:30am to 5:00pm from November through February. You can visit them on their website at www.castellodiamorosa.com for more information.

St. Clement Vineyards

Styled as a 19th century Victorian mansion, St. Clement Vineyards offers an intimate tasting bar from where you can try samples of new releases and purchase wines as well. They produce outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. They have a charming stone winery filled with wine making equipment. They have a guided tour which will allow you to know about the historical overview of the winery along with barrel samples and tasting. They have an online presence located at www.stclement.com.

Chateau Montelena

If you saw the movie Bottle Shock in 2008, you probably know Chateau Montelena. Visiting this winery will enliven the moments in the movie. It has the impressive stone chateau, Chinese lake, lush landscape and the elegant tasting room. They have an exclusive for Wine Members picnic grounds but non-members can still walk around and sightsee. You can surely enjoy a glass of their famous chardonnay while talking about the movie and the winery. They have a site at www.montelena.com

Schramsberg Vineyards

The history of this winery dates back in the 60s when a young couple purchased a deserted winery. At that time, Napa already had 22 wineries and they thought that it’s already saturated, therefore, they made sparkling wine in the French tradition.

Schramsberg makes their sparkling wine in the old way. The bottles are lined up in the caves which are manually turned without the help of any kind of machinery. The tour is amazing as it will take you deep into the caves which are opened up to a candlelit tasting area. http://www.schramsberg.com/index.html

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Wine And Your Health

Is Wine Healthy?

Is Actually Healthy?

Many of us are constantly finding excuses to have a glass of wine or a casual ounce of whiskey. This has been happening forever, how many times have you heard the debate about whether coffee is healthy? The same can be said for wine – we desperately want it to be healthy because we enjoy it.

It’s a lot easier to drink half a bottle of delicious imported wine than it is say, to hire a personal trainer. Trust me, I’m a wine lover and I would much rather drink a bottle of ’09 Shiraz from an iconic winery then go on a run. Future me will thank current me if I go for a run, current me will thank current me if I dive into the vino.

So before I continue on any further, from one wine lover to another I must say – no drinking wine is not inherently healthy. My personal trainer in Burnaby knows it’s not health just as I know it’s not healthy. However, this is a site about wine and not about making healthy decisions so let’s talk about the health benefits of wine.

The Health Benefits of Wine

Aside from making you feel delicious and warm and fuzzy inside there actually are some healthy aspects to drinking wine. I mean, after all it’s just grapes, amirite?


There is no denying that wine is full of antioxidants which are known to fight all types of disease including Cancer. There are a ton of different types of antioxidants and you’re probably not that interested in knowing their names. Sleep easy, cabernet lover that wine you just consumed has some of the same antioxidants found in fruits which can help keep you healthy.


Say it slowly, PRO-CYAN-I-DINS. That’s not how you pronounce it? Well shoot, what do I know. I do know that they reduce the risk of heart disease. Drinking a bottle from South France? You’re in luck that region’s wines generally have more procyanidins than other wines from other regions. So, grab a bottle from France and enjoy your evening, you deserve it.

Brain Function

Wine has been shown to help reduce brain decline. I think it’s because you have to work so much harder when you’re half a bottle of wine deep (okay or a bottle) then when you’re dead sober. Think about it – it’s somewhat link luminosity, you’re training your brain by having to concentrate that much harder to do the same simple tasks.

Of course, there are a slew of other benefits the goal here was to show that indeed, wine is healthy and therefor I should be allowed to drink it in moderation! My science is sketchy at best, but I’m convinced and if you love your wine as much as I do, you porbably were convinced from “Is Wine Actually Healthy.”

You had me at Vino.

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The Ultimate Date: Wine, Water & Food


You’re probably thinking I’m going to say take your babe to a winery! Yes, wineries always do make terrific dates, but I’m thinking of something a little bit more. Something that has that WOW factor. Either a date that says we’ve been seeing each other for a few months and I really dig you. Or we’ve been seeing each other for ten years and I still really dig you.

So what is that date?

I’ll give you a few hints. It involves an epic bottle of wine (no surprise here). It involves a big solid paddle board. And lastly, a picnic basket. Erm, I guess it may involve two paddle boards.

Keep in mind you run the risk of blowing it all if you don’t know how to paddle board. So if you’re a beginner check out paddlersretreat for some help. Assuming you know how to SUP this is going to be awesome.

Step 1. Find an epic bottle of wine.

You’re out on the water, you want some light, fruity and fun. Something that mixes well with whatever delicious meal you’ve got packed (preferably homemade!). Keep in mind you want to make sure it mixes well with sun as well. After all, it ought to be 90+F out if you’re going to attempt to pull this off.

What do we recommend? Perhaps a good cru Beaujolaiswhich is a French wine. You want something a little bit lighter, you won’t be serving up a gourmet steak dinner so a heavy red is out of the question.

Oh and don’t forget to bring the corkscrew. Seriously make sure you bring that!

Step 2. Rent Two Paddle Boards

Okay this might actually be step one. If you know how to paddle board and you’re competent you’re not going to lose your lunch tasty meal while going for a rip out to where ever your destination is great. If you don’t consider going for a couple of practice spins before your big day.

I would recommend that you don’t go paddling out into the ocean. Try to find a flat calm body of water. If there is an island or secluded beach somewhere in said body of water perfect. If not you can always wine and dine her on the boards in the middle of the lake.

Step 3. Make or Buy Some Delicious Food

Fried chicken is always a classic picnic meal. Whatever you do go for something that can be eaten relatively easily. Think Thai dish in take out containers. Or something you can eat with your hands. Obviously don’t pick something that needs to be piping hot because by the time you get setup paddle out and eat it won’t be hot anymore.

Step 4. Woo Here

Boom. As long as you don’t spill the lunch into the lake or pour wine all over her clothes you’re going to be made in the shade. If this doesn’t knock her socks off find a new girl, that one is too uptight.

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Importing Wine

Wine Importation and Shipping

Importing wine can be a bit of a tricky situation. There are all kinds of requirements particularly if you’re trying to import for a business or re-sale purposes. However, even personal wine imports can be a bit of a problem depending on how many bottles you’re attempting to bring in. Not to mention it can get incredibly expensive if you’re not careful. Duties can really add up quickly.

One of the best ways to make sure you’re not stung with an unexpected bill is to contact a custom brokerage company. They’ll be able to give you an accurate picture of exactly how much you can expect to pay.

But what about if you’re importing wine for re-sale or distribution purposes?

Well the first step is to make sure you’re able to get a license from the Province’s liquor distribution board. Without that you’re not going to be selling (legally) liquor even if you get your ducks in a line. For example, in Alberta you have to go through the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. In Ontario, you’d go through the LCBO and so forth.

Once you’ve gone through the proper steps to do that you can one of two ways – first you can either do it yourself or again, you an contact a quality brokerage firm. I will warn you, door number one is somewhat like foregoing the realtor when you’re going to sell your house. At first you think they don’t do a whole lot, they show a few people the place send you to a lawyer and then boom they’re done. In reality it’s a shit load of paper work and it becomes increasingly complex and annoying when you don’t know what you’re doing. Except unlike a realtor a broker isn’t going to cost you a whole lot more. The reason? They usually have favourable rates with the trucking companies which means you’ll save money shipping and pay a little bit for the paper work. It basically comes out in the wash.

If you’re stubborn and insist on doing it yourself you can expect to fill out a lot of paper work. Once you’ve got your permit from the province you’ll need to acquire documents from the shipping company. You’ll need the invoices from the supplier – usually these aren’t filled out correctly and will need to be re-sent multiple times. At least that was the overall experience that I had. You’ll also need a B3 form.

In the end if you’re importing wine contact a brokerage firm. They’ll save you a ton of time and headaches.

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