September 12, 2012 – Naramata Tailgate Party
In the first entry I advised my selections would be quite random. The beauty of having your own blog is you can play it as you wish. So rather than a snapshot of a single winery this week, I’m going to highlight the Naramata Bench Winery Association and more specifically its annual Tailgate Party.
In the true spirit of the namesake tradition, the 21 members of the Naramata Bench Winery Association gathered together and dropped their tailgates to offer an evening of festivities and tantalizing tastes of wine. For the food, a highlight for the 2012 event was A Salmon Showdown in which top chefs of the Okanagan teamed with wineries to compete for the best wine and salmon pairing. It featured salmon by Codfathers, supporting Ocean Wise (a Vancouver Aquarium conservation program).
The Bench Artisan Market rounded out the eating component with additional nibbles such as charcuterie, cheese and crackers. If you were lucky enough to snag the SuperGate tickets and stayed for the after party, you also got to enjoy fresh shucked oysters a la Codfathers and tasty treats from The Bench Artisan Market. A bonus was a selection of fine beers from Cannery Brewing.
Picture yourself (with a designated driver or on the complimentary shuttle from Penticton) winding your way through orchards and vineyards past inviting wineries catching glimpses of the sparkling Okanagan Lake and surrounding mountains and forests. You arrive through a beautiful lakeside village to a beachside park reminiscent of childhood memories – or memories borrowed from nostalgia movies like My American Cousin that you wish you had. Manitou Park is a well maintained park complete with a sandy beach on the lakeside, lawns, a baseball diamond, volleyball court, children’s play area, washrooms, and parking. According to Wikipedia, Manitou refers to spirits and the interconnection and balance of nature and life. A fitting concept to the joy that unfolds in uniting great wineries and eateries and their talented teams with enthusiastic fans on a glorious September evening!
Live music by Vancouver Island’s Shane Philip punctuates the party atmosphere and Master of Ceremonies Terry David Mulligan, host of Tasting Room Radio and author of Mulligan Stew, ensures guests are kept informed of the evening’s highlights. A Canadian actor, radio and television personality of Vancouver, Mulligan once lived in the Naramata/Penticton area and is no stranger to its key attributes.
Food and wine pairings included:
Darin Paterson, P. Inc Patio at Red Rooster Winery and Bogner’s of Penticton – paired with Red Rooster and Moraine
Robert Clark, C Restaurant Chef from Vancouver
Gloria Macarenko, CBC TV News Anchor
Jamie Maw, Food Writer
If I heard right amid all the revelry with the Golden Boot trophy, the showdown winners were:
Gold: Waterfront’s Mark Filatow @WFWines with @Nicholvineyard
Silver: Eldorado’s Derik Bendig @EldoradoKelowna with @PerseusWine
Bronze: Penticton Lakeside’s Chris Remington @The_HOOD with @Township7
People’s Choice: Hillside Bistro’s Rob Cordonier @hillsidewines with @winegrower99 (Van Westen)
As I have said before in such showdowns, the real winners are the folks with tickets who get to enjoy all this great food, wine and beer! The witnesses to this fact are found in a colourful group of friends who call themselves “the pink ladies” and travel each year from Vancouver to take in this fun affair.
All good things must come to an end and the sunset gave way to dark. As if to spark our memory for next year’s Naramata Tailgate, guests were treated to a stunning Naramata Tailgate Party 2012 fire stick dance.
Note: I will be revisiting many of these fine wineries of the Naramata Bench Winery Association in my return to the “pure” Winery Each Week format. I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to spread the word on this super event which supports the “whole family” of Naramata Bench wineries.