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All About Wine

There is Plenty of Wine in the Okanagan!

There are over 250 wineries in the South Okanagan alone (350 in the Okanagan region as a whole).    The growing of grapes and the making of great wine is not just a business, It is a passion for this region.   

There are so many opportunities to taste wines made with much care and attention to detail.    Would you like some touring suggestions?    Check out our article:  Three Days of Wine,  where we lay out a tentative agenda for you.

The Making of Fine Wine

The making of wine is a blend of both art and science.  You have to get certain things “right” in order for the whole fermentation process to work, but you also have to finesse your craft in order for it to have maximum appeal to a consumer.

What does it take to make a great wine?
The process of growing the grapes is half the battle to making good wine. Weather, water, animals, and fires are just some of the many hazards vineyard owners contend with in a given season.
Harvesting the grapes is done “just at the right time”. Grapes are constantly monitored to ensure maximum sweetness, and picking will happen all at once when sampled grapes meet a certain criteria.
Once the grapes are de-stemmed and crushed, they are placed in large steel tanks to begin the fermentation process.
A mixture of yeast is added to the crushed grapes in order to “kick-off” the process of turning grape juice into wine

The Important Role of the Winemaker.

There are many things the winemaker can do to reach the “taste” they are looking for.   One of the big jobs they have is in the blending of different grapes to make unique, flavourful wines.   This often involves a lot of trial and error… mixing and sampling to get that perfect combination. 

I tried making beer when I was 19.  I gave up on the project very quickly, as I really had great difficulty consuming my end-product.    I have also had the pleasure of consuming many a friend’s homemade wine.   There are very few I would rate a 10, and sometimes even 5 was a generous rating.   Suffice it to say, winemaking takes knowledge and talent, a great attention to detail, and sometimes a little “luck” from mother nature.    Not everyone gets it “right” every time.

At the end of the day, when a winemaker does manage to produce a decent wine, what you like as opposed to what someone else likes really does come down to personal taste.   In short, if you have the same “taste” as the winemaker, you are going to absolutely love what they have produced.  (Assuming that they were able to create something to their own personal satisfaction, given all the variables and moving parts.)

Stirring the yeast in the tanks at Noble Ridge

Sometimes there are factors that are simply out of their control and a great winemaker makes a less than good wine.    And yes, sometimes an otherwise mediocre winemaker is blessed with a perfect harvest which makes it very difficult to make a bad-tasting wine.

Which is why, when you are out visiting the vineyards and you come across something you love, spend some time really appreciating that winemaker as they have indeed accomplished a feat!

It can take a lot of work to win all those awards

Tour Some Wineries in the Area

There are hundreds of wineries in this region, and each one has its own personality.  Even if you don’t plan on drinking too much of the wine, it is worth the visit just for the setting, the views, and the perspectives.

Wonderful views from Painted Rock winery makes this a fantastic location for any special occasion

Our Article 3 Days of Wine (click this link) gives a bit of an overview of the wine region in and around Penticton, from Summerland to Oliver/Osoyoos.     Check it out, and when you’re done and you want lots more info like maps and tasting notes, hop on over to our sister site Okanagan Wine Tales.