Great Places to find great Wines in the Okanagan
Whether you need to organize a wine tasting tour, a winery tour or just looking for a wine store in Kelowna to buy a great bottle of wine or even searching for some good wineries to taste something special from the Okanagan, use these links to help you. Please make sure to tell them I send you...
The Okanagan wine tasting tour industry is booming. Twenty years ago only a handful of wineries were operating, ten years ago very few were offering wine tours and now just about every winery in the Okanagan valley offers some kind of wine tasting and/or tour.
The Kelowna wine tasting tour companies have cashed in on this amazing opportunity and are now a main part of the tourist attractions in this area. They have also created large number of the employment opportunities during the summer. It is no longer just "beaches and peaches" that attract the tourists and as such the jobs available include much more variety now.
Many of our young adults find work in the wine industry and some times even careers, at jobs that can have much more potential than fruit picking.
The wine stores have followed the booming trend and we now have a few wine stores in the Okanagan that offer amazing service including wine tastings; here you can find a great number of the best wines coming out of the Okanagan Valley. This is just an example of the retail expansion that has happened with the wine industry boom.
Many wineries offer wines exclusively at the winery that are not available at the liquor stores, and some wineries choose not to distribute their wines through other retail channels. That is why doing a wine tour can be an excellent way to taste unique wines and buy your favorite bottles on the spot.
The best Okanagan Valley Wine Map
Wine Tasting Chart
Great Wine Grapes Varieties Chart
These things are tricky foods to match with wine...
ASPARAGUS - has a very intense flavour - best matched with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
ARTICHOKES - also an intense flavour, and known as a bit "funky" (weird) - best match is usually an Alsatian Gewurztraminer or Riesling
SPINACH - it has its own tannins, so do not match it with red wine. Also usually good with acidic wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.
CLASSIC FOOD & WINE MATCHES
When in doubt about what wine or food to match, think about where the elements come from. There are historic and cultural reasons why Italian wines go with pizza or pasta, and why Chablis or Charmpagne goes with oysters. Even if you don't know the details, these things will help you if you are stuck. (Please note: This works best with Old World wine regions in Europe, as New World regions like the Okanagan and California tend not to have one kind of dominating cuisine.)
The old adage about drinking red wines at "room temperature" was made in a time when the rooms were not as warm as they are now! Even red wines should never be served at 20-22 degrees Celsius, which is what room temperature is today, especially in winter. Use the following table as a basic guide:
sparkling wines (all colours) ...... 4.5 - 7 Celsius (40-45 Fahrenheit)
whites ...... 7-10 Celsius (45-50 Fahrenheit)
rose and light red (eg.Gamay, Pinot Noir) ...... 10-12.5 Celsius (50-55 Fahrenheit)
medium bodied red (eg. Tempranillo, Sangovese)...... 12.5-15.5 Celsius (55-60 Fahrenheit)
full bodied red (eg. Cabernet, Bordeaux blends) ......15.5-18 Celsius (60-65 Fahrenheit)
The one thing to remember is that when cooler, the wine will show more of its fruit characharacteristics (even reds) and when warmer, it will show more tannins (reds) or acidity (whites). This is why people who don't like red wine add ice cubes to it!
Those of us who are self-professed "wine geeks" do that funny thing when we taste - you know, we swirl, we sniff, then we swish the wine in our mouths, and sometimes even make that reverse whistling noise... this is not all posing, but actually serves to elevate the tasting so that the taster has a better chance to discern all the elements of the wine. By swirling the wine in the glass, and again in the mouth, the taster adds oxygen molecules to the wine molecules, thus allowing the aromas and flavours of the wine to come to the fore more easily.This same process is used when wine is decanted. It serves the same purpose as letting the wine age - the oxygen in small amounts allows the flavcours to integrate and mellow, just like the spaghetti sauce that Mom made, which tasted so much better the next day. (For more information, see my article on TASTING WINE.)
Decanting is something that will add life to even an inexpensive red wine! Try this if you have a decanter at home - sniff and/or taste from a newly opened bottle, then decant the bottle and taste again. Chances are you will notice the aromas of the wine escaping aloready as you decant it, but I guarantee you the wine will taste better after decanting! )This is a great party trick - have guests try the wine NOT decanted, then later in the evening ahve them try the same wine decanted and ask them their opinion on how it compared to the earlier wine. They will be thrilled when you let them in on the "secret" of how tpo make the "house wine" shine! Decanting can also be useful for big oaky Chardonnays if you are serving them young.
Private Chef Martin offer cooking classes services in the Okanagan Valley since 2004
Private Chef Martin has been cooking and making people happy in the Okanagan Valley including
Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton since 2004