It was my first Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland August 2012 and I loved it!
The only thing that might have improved the experience for me is if I’d known a little more about the featured wineries before I arrived. While there’s nothing wrong with just enjoying the journey and discovering new places and things, a bit of trip planning is not a bad idea.
To that end, I’ve decided to blast out a quick posting each week about a British Columbia (BC) winery until the Wine Bloggers Conference convenes next June in Penticton. I’ll include the website so you can explore each one further if you choose. And if it happens to be a winery I’ve written about in one of my freelance assignments for Savour Magazine, I’ll provide a link wherever possible.
I have a great appreciation for wine and those talented folks who make it and/or own the wineries. I am not a qualified expert – more of a wine groupie and because I am so proud of the evolution of BC’s wine industry, I’d be delighted if you will allow me to introduce a few.
My choice will be quite random and while I hope all the wineries will be engaged with WBC13, I can’t promise that the ones I select will be on the official agenda. No worries though – all the more reason for you to add on extra days while you’re here!
Posting 1: September 5, 2012 – Quail’s Gate Winery
I have selected Quail’s Gate as my first BC Winery Each Week posting because as one of Canada’s most respected wineries it is one of those magical places that captures the heart of almost all visitors. Coincidentally, the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference was in Oregon which is known for many great Pinot Noirs and Quail’s Gate is perhaps best known and largest producer of Pinot Noir in Canada’s Okanagan.
In fact, Chytra and Craig Brown, founders of Savour Gourmet of Niche Media , with whom I have the privilege of freelance writing, are rumoured to have come up with the idea for the magazine while enjoying a meal at the Old Vines Restaurant at Quail’s Gate. The story goes that they were enjoying the amazing wine, food and setting so profoundly they felt inspired to share the passion for the rich culture of wine and food in the Okanagan, in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest.
It was last October when I met a former colleague and friend, Wendy Smith, there for lunch and the autumn colours intensified the setting’s natural beauty. I arrived early and played voyeur for a bit during a photo shoot of Tony Stewart and his father Richard. The Stewart family are the proprietors and it was in 1956 when Richard recognized the potential for grape production and purchased the Quail’s Gate Estate. Over the years, additional vineyard properties have been added and the winery has evolved into the award-winning success enjoyed today.
Tony is the Chief Executive Officer of the Stewart family-owned winery business and together with Ben, Cynthia and Andrea along with their parents maintain the founding family principles and values throughout the winery. Grant Stanley is the winemaker and Roger Sleiman is the Winery Chef at the Old Vines Restaurant.
In addition to the regular menu, there was a Two Course Local Fare Lunch available the day Wendy and I met there. Along with the suggested wine pairings, it made for a memorable selection.
Plan your visit with the assistance of www.quailsgate.com to enhance your experience through the Wine and Gift Shop, Old Vines Restaurant, the historic Allison House or one of the many winery events.
Located at 3303 Boucherie Road, West Kelowna, BC V1Z 2H3
Phone: 250-769-4451 / Toll-Free: 1-800-420-9463