A Wine Blogger's Weekend

June 14, 2013 at 10:00 PM



Driving along the winding roads of the Okanagan Valley that twist and turn dipping along the shorelines of the sparkling Okanagan Lake, one's breath is easily taken away. As a tourist to the region, you are treated to a plethora of landscapes ranging from sweeping orchards and hills to lake views and of course, the region's growing number of impressive vineyards. As a resident, you are quickly reminded of the paradise you inhabit. 


Having only lived in the Okanagan Valley for a few years, it has been an eye-opening experience discovering the delightful and unique regions within a relatively short expanse of land and tasting the impressive wines that are making their way into my glass. 

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending a Wine Blogger's Conference specifically highlighting the vintages released from wineries literally in my backyard, a few provinces over in Ontario, as well as introducing attendees to a hand-picked selection of global vintages from the countries of Greece, Uruguay, South Africa and our neighbours to the south, United States. As a self-proclaimed 'newbie' to wine and wine culture, the conference proved to be a beneficial exercise in adding to my "rolodex of wines" (a term coined by winemaker Sandra Oldfield of Tinhorn Creek Estate Winery) as well as educating my palate.

Seated at a table surrounded by a sommelier, a wine and beer expert, a winemaker/winery owner, food and wine critics and a passionate wine lover with a broad palate, (on the first day!) was not only an exercise in humility but developed into a perfect arrangement for acquiring knowledge and a better understanding of wine tasting in general. The sessions and subsequent tastings throughout the remainder of the conference allowed me the opportunity to glean more information about this vast and beautiful region I call "home" and gave me the necessary wine information to offer others visiting or residing in the Okanagan Valley. image_12.jpeg

For anyone visiting the Okanagan Wine Region for the first time, or maybe even trying wines from our region for the first time, I offer the advice that was given to me and tips I gleaned from such wine "scholars" and fellow wine lovers:

1) When tasting wine, trust your instincts. One of the panelists over the weekend suggested quieting all the "monkey chatter" in your head while another suggested closing your eyes as you smell and savour the wine. This will help you in making a good assessment as you taste the Okanagan wares.

2) Wine is never just about the nectar in the glass. As you visit various wineries on your travels, take the time to listen to the story, take in the feel of the land and absorb the richness of the terroir that is the Okanagan Valley. Each winemaker has a rich and often compelling story to share-it is for you to listen. 

3) Take the time to taste from the little-known gems that are producing wines. Although the Valley is known for big wineries and estate vineyards who consistently bottle all-star vintages, there are many small, intimate wineries bringing elegant, well-balanced wines to the table that proved to be showstoppers this weekend. So, get out your GPS and pay them a visit!

4) Wine is not something to be feared but to be enjoyed. Whether you drink wine for special occasions, grab a random bottle on a whim off the liquor store shelf or plan elaborate wine country vacations in order to professionally judge vintages, the beautifully complex beverage is created with passion simply for the enjoyment of wine lovers around the world. 

5) Finally, wine is subjective. The best judgment of wine is simply whether or not you like the wine. No amount of acidity on the palate, balance of flavours, awards given, or full-bodied tannins will make any amount of difference if you simply do not like the wine. 

On a final note, a word of thanks for all the organizers, volunteers, hosts and wineries involved in the production of the Wine Blogger's Conference this past weekend. It was truly a privilege to attend an event and see the Okanagan Wine Country so proudly represented. 





Tags: BC wine, Okanagan wineries, wine conference, wine
Category: Generic

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