A TOAST TO FALL'S RISE Okanagan Winery Tour Serves Up Bounty of Rich Flavors, Scenery

By Cannon, Robyn Roehm | The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), September 28, 2014 | Go to article overview

A TOAST TO FALL'S RISE Okanagan Winery Tour Serves Up Bounty of Rich Flavors, Scenery


Cannon, Robyn Roehm, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)


Fall is in the air - and it brings a wine enthusiast's favorite season. The prospect of moonlit harvest parties, vintage releases and afternoons spent sipping pinot noir on a sunny vineyard patio is enough to send any oenophile searching for the next flight to Napa Valley.

Hold on to your air miles and instead, drive about 250 miles north of Spokane on Highway 395 into British Columbia's Thompson Okanagan Valley to celebrate crush this fall.

The scenery in the agricultural rich towns of the Okanagan is breathtaking. You'll find expertly crafted, fairly priced estate wines; creative chefs putting out delicious food in small cafes and restaurants; and top-notch lodging choices, from romantic B&B's to family-friendly resorts dotting the shores of 83-mile-long Lake Okanagan.

The 34th annual Fall Okanagan Wine Festival kicks off Wednesday, with 10 days of wine-related culinary events, estate parties, farm- to-table dinners and receptions at 130 licensed wineries.

You can find all the information you'll need to plan a relaxing getaway and purchase tickets at www.thewinefestivals.com, www.hellobc.com/ servicefelisting/4544197/ fall-okanagan-wine- festival.aspx, and winebc.com/discover-bc/ okanagan-valley, but here are a few of my favorite stops if you go:

Getting there is half the fun. Leave early and hook up with Highway 2 through the Sherman Pass Scenic Byway, Washington state's highest mountain pass maintained all year. It's a classic top-down sports car switchback road. You'll enjoy brilliant fall colors as you approach the Valley this time of year.

Stop in Okanagan Falls at Liquidity for lunch in the contemporary art- and sculpture-filled winery's bistro, where locally grown ingredients are paired with estate wines. Relax on the infinity pool patio with views of two nearby lakes. www.liquiditywines.com

Wild Goose Vineyards was one of the area's first vintners. Today they craft traditional German varietals in a modern way. Add Southern BBQ infused with German soul - try ribs or house-made charcuterie and a bottle of their excellent GewA 1/4rztraminer. www.wildgoosewinery.com

Although Jak and Janice Meyer of Meyer Family Vineyards produce less than 6,000 cases annually, they make elegant single lot wines on 20-year-old vines that are gaining recognition for their authentic Burgundian style. www.mfvwines.com.

Taste through the portfolio of Culmina wines - crafted by Bordeaux-trained Pascal Madevon -on Oct. 4 at Waterfront Restaurant, named "Best Restaurant in the Okanagan" four years running. www.culmina.ca/events/ 2014-harvest-dinner-with- waterfront- restaurant/#more-1441

There's nothing like seafood paella with Poplar Grove Winery's crisp pinot gris and a view of the vineyards. …

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