Play amongst the view at Penticton’s newest winery

Perched on the hill overlooking Skaha Lake, Play Estate Winery officially opens to the public on Friday.

Penticton Indian Band Coun. Joseph Pierre (centre) with Play Estate Winery partner and general manager Mohamad Awad (left) and president of Stage West Hospitality and Play Estate Winery Jason Pechet on the deck of the new business overlooking Skaha Lake on the Skaha Hills property Thursday.

Penticton Indian Band Coun. Joseph Pierre (centre) with Play Estate Winery partner and general manager Mohamad Awad (left) and president of Stage West Hospitality and Play Estate Winery Jason Pechet on the deck of the new business overlooking Skaha Lake on the Skaha Hills property Thursday.

That view though.

Perched on the hill overlooking Skaha Lake, the $5.5-million project, Play Estate Winery, officially opens to the public on Friday.

“We have been working on this project for the past three years. I remember the first time the partners brought me here. I stood up top and looked around and said this is a great location. It can’t get any better than this,” said Mohamed Awad, general manager and partner of Play Estate Winery located in Skaha Hills.

Emerging from the 14-acre vineyard is a 10,000 square foot facility featuring Eat at Play, a 150 seat restaurant and patio showcasing local inspired cuisine and fresh ingredients from the Okanagan region. A tasting room with a 30 foot bar and a production floor, making approximately 10,000 cases this year are also on the property.

This will mark the first year Play will be crushing grapes, their 2014 and 2015 vintages were crushed at Volcanic Hills Winery. With a number of varietals, Awad stressed again that it is not just the wine that will bring people to Play.

“I am expecting people will love this restaurant because it is very bright and contemporary and it lets everyone enjoy the view. That is the most important thing here, people can see it as soon as they walk in the room and they want to go straight to the patio,” said Awad. “The location is just amazing. We are close to the highway so whether you are travelling north or south you will see us.”

Play employs 22 people and intends to run year round, most likely with a smaller staff in the off-season. The winery and Skaha Hills development has not only meant new resources for the Penticton Indian Band in sewer, water and electricity it has also opened up employment opportunities.

“It is a big accomplishment that we are finally here opening one of the major connections to Skaha Hills,” said Penticton Indian Band councillor Joseph Pierre. “We are happy that our membership is applying at Play, at Greyback as heavy-duty equipment operators. They are getting something out of all of this and it makes them more employable.”