Magazine article Sunset

Drink in Kelowna

Magazine article Sunset

Drink in Kelowna

Article excerpt

B.C/s rising wine country mixes icy tastes and adventure- and it's an easy flight away.

FROM THE AIR, Kelowna, British Columbia, looks like a city brushed by Monet. Its pastel downtown, clustered along the shores of Okanagan Lake, is surrounded by a patchwork quilt of farmland and the sun-steeped vineyards that have put the city on the map. The Okanagan Valley is wild new wine country, where experimental winemakers, local farmers, and unpretentious chefs have created something akin to a young Sonoma.

"You can't have great wine country without great food," says Raudz chef Rod Butters, who was one of the few chefs sourcing produce from Okanagan farmers when he started 12 years ago. Now, he says, you'd be hard-pressed to find a restaurant that doesn't.

At the valley gateway is Kelowna, a fast-growing city of about 120,000 that's even easier to access now that United Airlines offers nonstop flights from LAX.

It's well worth a trip for the wine; many Okanagan wineries don't produce enough to distribute in the United States. Plus, winter's freezing temps mean the region's famous ice wines are in production. Kelowna's intensely local food and rising wine scene also make it a convenient base for snow lovers who want city perks within reach.

Do

Downtown's Stuart Park is just steps from the lake and City Hall, so a spin around brings panoramic views of sailboats bobbing in the marina and the snowdusted hills of West Kelowna. There's even an outdoor skating rink, right next to the massive steel-framed bear sculpture that symbolizes the city (Kelowna means "grizzly bear" in local First Nations dialect), kelowna. ca

Snow biking is all the rage these days, and on a gominute tour with Ed Kruger of Monashee Adventure Tours, you can experience the thrill of speeding downhill on one of his hybrids. He swaps the front wheel of a mountain bike for a ski, and adds a snow-traction wheel to the rear.) Tours are held at nearby Knox Mountain or Big White Ski Resort, an hour away, from (80 U.S.; monasheeadventure towrs.com

Eat

At Raudz, you can get a table facing the open kitchen and watch as chef Rod Butters (above) and his team turn local potatoes and cheese curds into poutine, the French-Canadian specialty. Not to be outdone, bartender Gerry Jobe makes outstanding cocktails using local organic fruit purées. …

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