Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News. She can be reached at and on Twitter @OkanaganTaste.

Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News. She can be reached at and on Twitter @OkanaganTaste.

Okanagan Taste: The end of harvest and the start of winter

Winemakers and their “cellar rats” have a chance to enjoy a break and a beer, if not now, then soon.

By now, hopefully most vineyards have been picked, crushed, and the juices of harvest put to bed awaiting the next phase of the journey to the bottle.

Winemakers and their “cellar rats” have a chance to enjoy a break and a beer, if not now, then soon.

The season has ended with a couple of nice accolades for a few wineries, as more international recognition emerges for Canadian wines.

Three Okanagan wineries are on the top 50 list of wines from the Pacific Northwest in the Seattle Times, being tasted alongside wines from Washington and Oregon. Joie Farm Winery in Naramata gets a nod for its A Noble Blend, an Alsatian-style white blend. I was first introduced to it from the back of a truck, and it remains a favourite.

At many tasting events, I hope to see Tightrope Winery’s Riesling being poured, and if it is, I tell random strangers to head to their table and try it. It is a stellar example of this varietal, and a tribute to the wine style coming from the Naramata Bench.

And then there’s the Old Vines Riesling from Tantalus, further north in the valley. Also a “must try,” so much so that I once texted turn by turn directions to the winery to a friend whose GPS was failing.

Three whites that deserve a spot in your cellar.

And now, three reds, conveniently from one winery – Nk’Mip Cellars, the 2016-17 InterVin Canadian Winery of the year, and second overall in this prestigious international ranking. And the fifth year the winery has been in the top 10. Not bad.

Nk’Mip won medals for two 2014 reds. The Qwam Qwmt Cabernet Sauvignon, while it can age, is ripe and round, with a mocha and currant mix on the taste buds. The corresponding Merlot is herbaceous with complexity and a long finish. Add to those winners, the 2014 Syrah; get all three, rack them and open for Christmas dinner 2017.

Better yet, make up a six pack of all of the above, and give someone a great gift.

Save the date

Nov.18, Mile Zero Wine Bar, Penticton:  Gamay Nouveau Party. Celebrate the harvest with a glass of gamay, cheese and charcuterie.

Nov. 19, BC VQA Wine Info Centre, Penticton: Annual holiday open house. Complimentary wine tastings, food, music, and giveaways.

Nov. 19 and 20, Okanagan Falls Wineries: Enjoy Holiday Cheer from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. as the wineries of Okanagan Falls host their open house.

Nov. 26, Frank Venables Theatre, Oliver:  sixth Annual Rosé Revolution, part of Winter in Wine Country. Celebrate dry rosé, appies and entertainment.

Nov. 19, 26 and 27, Bottleneck Drive, Summerland: sixth Annual Light up the Vines, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tour Summerland’s wineries for tastings and holiday promotions.

Nov. 26, Sandhill Wines, Kelowna: Holiday Open House. Enjoy up to 25 per cent off wine, and food samples from Urban Fair and Cobs Bread.

Dec. 3, CedarCreek Estate Winery:  Pictures with Santa, noon to 3 p.m. Admission by donation to the Salvation Army.

Dec. 4, Westside Wine Trail: Sip into the Season at West Kelowna wineries as they host local artisans and crafters. Self-guided noon to 5 p.m.

Dec. 10, Naramata Centre: Naramata Blend Cooking Class, learn to make brioche with Dana Ewart of Joy Road Catering.

Tuesdays, through December, Miradoro Restaurant: Communal Table Dinners take place Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m., each one with a special theme. $35 per person

Friday and Saturdays, Dinner features, BRODO:  Each Friday and Saturday night, BRODO in downtown Penticton features a special dinner, rotating through perogies, gnocchi, ribs, burgers.

Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News. She can be reached at and on Twitter @OkanaganTaste.


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