Sampling BC’s Super, Natural Sights & Super, Celebrated Wines
Photos and story by: Tourism BC
Set your sights on wine, and you’ll set your eyes on some of the most incredible scenery in BC’s three main wine regions. Here are ten of the best scene-stealing sights and activities that insiders guarantee will tempt your palate for adventure.
1) Okanagan Tour deVine & Okanagan Fall Wine Festival
Sept 28-Oct 7, 2007
Take a guided cycling tour to vineyards in Penticton and the south Okanagan during this fragrant festival. You’ll cycle approximately 30 km (18 mi) on a day tour (suitable for an average cyclist), along picturesque benchlands past orchards and vineyards, stopping at a number of exceptional wineries en route.
2) Stargazing & Black Sage/Osoyoos
You’re in the heart of desert wine country here. Notable estate wineries include Black Hills and Burrowing Owl. After a heady evening of gourmet food splendidly paired with Meritage, Chardonnay or Syrah, go stargazing at nearby Mt. Kobau, considered one of Canada’s top locations for gazing at inky-black, starry skies.
3) Nk’Mip Cellars & Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre
A visit to Nk’Mip Cellars, North America’s first Aboriginal- owned and – operated winery, means luxuriating at a deluxe resort that includes a sumptuous spa and nine-hole executive golf course. Be sure to visit the spectacular Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre as well, a state-of-the-art interpretive centre at once an architectural marvel constructed into a hillside, as well as an impressive learning and exhibit centre.
4) Wine cruising & The Golden Mile
Oliver is often called the Wine Capital of Canada, thanks to a cluster of over a dozen vineyards just south of the town along “The Golden Mile” — a 20-km (12.5-mi) stretch. Notable wineries include Inniskillin Okanagan Vineyards Winery and Tinhorn Creek Vineyards. The Golden Mile pairs beautifully with a cruise aboard the Penticton-based Casabella Princess, particularly during the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival. Tour along shimmering Okanagan Lake while tasting award-winning wines accompanied by hors d'oeuvres, cheeses and pastries.
5) Gourmet Kayaking, Gulf Islands
Edible British Columbia and Blue Planet Kayaking offer an unforgettable gastronomic adventure paddling through the spectacular DeCourcey Archipelago. Spend three days on the water and two nights camping under the stars with river otters, bald eagles, harbour seals and James Bray, master chef and expert kayak guide — he creates your locally sourced gourmet meals, dinners paired with local BC wines.
6) Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Tofino
Stay at the super-deluxe, eco-responsible Bedwell River Outpost in white-canvas safari tents in the heart of the fragile Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve on Vancouver Island's rugged west coast. After a day of outdoor exploration, pull up a stool in the massive cookhouse, pour a glass of wine, then watch chef Timothy May create gourmet feasts featuring fresh, local and organic ingredients.
7) Culinary Boot Camp, Fairburn Farm Culinary Retreat & Guesthouse
Sept 25-30, 2007
Mara Jernigan, revered local chef, ‘Slow Food’ activist and cooking instructor extraordinaire, runs this remarkable culinary retreat. Harvest fruits and vegetables, gather eggs, forage for mushrooms, make pasta, cook with locally raised meats and wild seafood, preserve fall fruits and bake in Mara’s wood-burning stove. Visit local farms, cheesemakers, wineries and the Duncan Farmer’s Market. Camp is open to cooks of all levels.
8) Gourmet trails, Vancouver Island
A favoured destination for foodies thanks to a mouthwatering abundance of spectacular scenery, delectable foods and exquisite vineyards, this region offers endless opportunities for sightseeing, eating and wine sampling. Dine at the dramatic Wickaninnish Innon the wild west coast, stop at specialty food producers in the Cowichan Valley, take civilized afternoon tea in the Fairmont Empress Hotel and sample wines along the Saanich Peninsula.
9) Fort Langley National Historic Site & Domaine de Chaberton, Langley
Tour charming Fort Langley, the ‘birthplace of BC,’ before heading over to Domaine de Chaberton, one of the largest estate wineries in BC. It specializes in cool climate "vitis Vinifera" grapes, producing over 40,000 cases of wine per year. Book a table overlooking the magnificent vineyard and indulge in authentic French bistro cooking at the winery's award-winning Bacchus Bistro.
10) Abbotsford Circle Farm Tour, Fraser Valley
This palate-tempting tour is packed with farm-fresh foods in country eateries, just-picked produce, locally-produced jams and freshly baked breads. Highlights include The Cranberry Lady, where you can view vast fields of crimson cranberries being harvested in flooded fields, and Lotusland Vineyard’s outstanding, limited-release wines from organic vinifera grapes.
To discover more about BC’s bountiful food and wine festivals, visit our Food and Wine pages at HelloBC.com.
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