This weekend Taster Boy and I loaded the car with the bikes and the dog to go on a little biking wine tour with friends in Kelowna. B and T planned the whole thing: the route, as leisurely and reasonable in terms of hills as possible, packed the lunch and got us all on the same page. At first discussion, I think three of the six of us were a little apprehensive. Come on, Kelowna can hit well into the 40’s, throw in wine and hills to climb, it could have ended badly… I’m not the most avid cyclist you see. Round trip, a totally reasonable 26 km, three wineries and 11 wines.
It was perfect actually. We left at noon, rode out the 13 km to the furthest winery: Cedar Creek. There we had our tour with Kevin who educated us on the science of grapes. Did you know that for one grape vine can produce enough for three or four bottles of wine? Or that the grapes for ice wine, when squeezed only produce one drop per grape? That’s crazy to me, no wonder the cost of those ice-wine are higher. We also learned our share about the oak barrels. They only get used three times. To get the most oak-i-ness from the barrels they are charred before the wine is stored in them, or other estates may scrape the barrels to get a similar effect.
We also learned about care for your wines once purchased. Apparently, most wines are not meant to be purchased from the liquor store and be served right away, that they should for the most part be stored for at least a year. Also, you should try not to disturb the wine at all when storing; even if they are on a rack in the house where there is a lot of walking traffic, the vibrations can upset the structure and even the taste. Red’s should actually be served at 16C and whites at 9C (If I recall correctly.
At Cedar Creek you are treated to a beautiful restaurant and nicely tended grounds with lots of flowers. Testing the wines our favourite was the 2008 Riesling – smooth and crisp…so delish!
Back on our bikes, and off to St. Hubertus and lunch. At this winery tastings are complimentary. There are seven or eight wines listed on the blackboard, you (and your group) are allowed to choose four you would like to sample. I really enjoyed the Chassales and Rose. Once we tasted our four, we picked the Chassales to enjoy with our picnic lunch outside.
One more big hill, one more vineyard and we were at Summerhill Pyramid Winery. Wow. Stunning view – the vines, the hills and the lake. From the road below the estate looks nice, but it doesn’t show it’s true beauty until you are inside (air conditioned!) and look out across the expanse. There were two weddings happening while we were there – it would certainly be a beautiful location. At this winery we met Micahel. Our young taster who shared with us some delightful brews. Summerhill has a neat philosophy. You can taste three wines for either $5 or $6 (depending on which list you taste from) and then if you buy a bottle of something you tasted, your tasting fee goes towards the cost of a bottle. How can you not buy something?
K tasted through the sparkling wines, thinking every girl needed a “go to” sparking wine. I’m not sure where she landed. I ended up trying the Pinot Gris, and two Ehrenfelser – one with an apricot undertone and another was a late harvest: Diva’s Delight, featured in the blue violin bottles. After being corked the Diva’s Delight will last for four to five weeks – and it would need to. With such a high sugar content you need very little…but boy caramel goodness!
With the wineries behind us we cycled home, mainly downhill, changed into our suits and hit the lake for a quick swim. We were tired, but very contented kids. A great weekend, definately one to remember 🙂