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It’s been a challenging few months with an unprecedented wildfire season impacting many parts of B.C, including Okanagan wine country.
Safety is top of mind and many of the emergency orders restricting non-essential travel have been lifted.
Wine touring is possible, but check ahead to ensure it’s the right time to return. Or show support by purchasing bottles of B.C. wine to enjoy at home.
Arrowleaf Cellars 2022 Field Collection White, Lake Country
(from $20.10, available through the winery and select private wine stores)
Lake Country, north of Kelowna, faced serious threat from fire and Arrowleaf Cellars — similar to surrounding wineries — was under an evacuation order. Fortunately, there was no damage to the buildings or vineyards, and their wine shop is open again daily. Arrowleaf’s Field Collection White nicely encapsulates Lake Country wine style. It’s an energetic and aromatic blend of Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Auxerrois all sourced from vineyards in the Lake Country sub-GI (Geographic Indication). Slightly off-dry and unabashedly floral and fruity, it’s mid-weight and carries opulent texture through a snappy finish.
Bottom line: A, Perfect picnic wine
Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery 2022 Blaufränkisch, West Kelowna
($27.99, available through the winery and select private wine stores)
Sadly, West Kelowna has significantly been impacted by fire this summer. And while the community continues to regroup, wineries like Mt. Boucherie explain: “We are open and ready to welcome guests back to the winery.” Like other Okanagan wineries, to show gratitude to firefighters and first responders Mt. Boucherie is donating tasting fees to support wildfire relief efforts. For an intriguing red, check out the winery’s new vintage of Blaufränkisch. Made from grapes grown in the Similkameen Valley, this taut red is quite perfumed, melding engaging mineral and earthy notes with berry fruit and baking spice before a juicy finish.
Bottom line: A-, Coquettish burger red
Culmina Family Estate Winery 2020 Dilemma Chardonnay, Oliver
($38, available through the winery and select private wine stores)
While the South Okanagan has been fortunate to avoid most direct impact from wildfire, the region’s wineries have nonetheless faced an uncertain summer and can also benefit from ongoing support. No real chore, mind you, when that support entails sipping on the elegant Dilemma Chardonnay from Golden Mile Bench’s Culmina Estate. This is what opulent yet balanced Chard is all about, with an evident oak influence that only enhances the wine’s creamy texture and adds a layer of complexity to its tropical fruit and citrus fruit. A robust, lingering finish concludes — while calling to be paired with seafood dishes featuring butter or cream.
Bottom line: B+, Rich and elegant white
The Swirl: Kiwanis Wine Tasting Fundraiser
It’s back to school and back to supporting students in music education. Entering the 100th season of the Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival, the annual Kiwanis Wine Tasting Fundraiser helps facilitate youth participation in music programs. This year’s tasting and silent auction takes place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 13 at Creekside Community Recreation Centre (1 Athletes Way, Vancouver). Tickets are $75 and include the wine tasting and light refreshments. Details at www.kiwanisvancouver.ca/community-1
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