Meet Murissa! She is a mama of a 10-month-old little foodie and loves to drink and talk about Okanagan wine. Find her debut blog post about Okanagan orange wine. What the heck is that? Let’s learn a little bit more about the Okanagan wine loving mama bear.
HOK: Tell us about yourself!
Murissa: I live in the Upper Mission in Kelowna and love my neighbourhood. It’s a great walking area pushing a stroller with my 10-month-old peering at fruit orchards, local birds and valley views. I also love our neighbourhood winery, Summerhill. I am currently on maternity leave but for the last 11 years I’ve been working inside sales and marketing at Jona Panel Sales Inc. We sell environmentally friendly building/renovation products, as well as cleaning products, across Canada and parts of the USA. You can find some of our products locally at End of the Roll, Nufloors, Home Depot, Rona, etc.
But in the evening I spend time writing my blog The Wanderfull Traveler (8 years) as well as workshopping novels when I can. The Wanderfull Traveler has been a passion project from its inception while I was studying at UBC Okanagan. I wrote about my co-op travels in Italy while studying art history in the Veneto. I really need to thank Professor Carolyn MacHardy who pushed me to go on the trip. It started it all for me; my love of travel and my passion for food and wine.
I also began to write about the Okanagan back then which opened a lot of my US readers’ minds to the fact that Canada has an excellent wine scene. So many readers have been asking me about my Okanagan tips so they inspired me so start the Okanagan Wine Collective.
HOK: How long have you lived/played in the Okanagan?
Murissa: I moved here in 2006 with my family from the Kootenay region to attend UBC Okanagan, but I’m originally from Prince George, yet born in Merritt. I’ve lived and traveled the North and South of BC and couldn’t live anywhere else.
HOK: What do you love most about the Okanagan?
Murissa: The foodie community. Almost everyone is a foodie in some regards and it shows with all the amazing vendors throughout the valley. That, and the gorgeous scenery.
HOK: How you would describe the Okanagan culture to someone who has never experienced it before?
Murissa: I like to compare it to the Tuscan region of Italy but even better. The wineries are closer together, the valley views are sweeping, sunsets unlike any other, food is fantastic, city & countryside permeate each city making it a quick escape from hectic city life and we do have an interesting history with some colourful characters. I’m thinking of the Colonel from See Ya Later Ranch, Father Pandosy from France, The Stewarts from Ireland who were Arthur Guinness’ gardeners, and so on.
HOK: If you grew up here, what was your best memory of growing up in the Okanagan?
Murissa: I’ve spent all of my twenties living here. Graduating UBC Okanagan in 2012 is definitely up there. An unforgettable birthday at Mission Hill was another ‘only in the Okanagan’ moment.
HOK: What are your favourite spring/summer/fall or winter activities?
Murissa: I am not a winter gal at all. I prefer the sunshine and love to go SUP boarding, wine tasting and take in an al fresco dinner a couple of times (think Joy Road Catering or Sourced by Aman Dosanj of Poppadoms fame). I am looking forward to taking my 10-month-old son to the beach for the first time.
HOK: Where would you take out of town guests visiting the Okanagan?
Murissa: If I am limited on time I choose Mission Hill Winery with a tour of their cellar. For $20 per person, it showcases some excellent wines and impressive architecture that makes a lasting impression.
If I have more time, I do my signature food and wine tour of downtown Kelowna – you can join me too with my guided and DIY itineraries.
HOK: If you have a whole weekend off in the Okanagan, what would you do with your time?
Murissa: Book, beach, SUP, sip, sleep, repeat.
HOK: Describe your perfect Okanagan date night with your significant other.
Murissa: BNA is our favourite date night. Bowling, beers, great food. We can reconnect and just have a good time. No pretentiousness in sight.
HOK: Tell me about your Okanagan community. Who are they? How did you meet your community and what do you love about them?
Murissa: I’ve been out of touch for a little while but I do like to reconnect with the writing community. I was given a great group of fellow writers and professors at UBC Okanagan (art historians and novelists), I feel like I might have taken it for granted back when I was in the thick of essay deadlines and exams.
Some of us have left the area while some of us have gone on to publish some great work. I always try to support my fellow writers whether that means buying their work or attending local readings and events. No matter the amount of time or distance I know many of us will continue to support each other when we can.
HOK: What do you think makes the Okanagan unique and special?
Murissa: At the core of it all is the landscape. There’s nowhere else like it. It’s what draws everyone, from the first nations Syilx people who have lived here since the beginning to the families, professionals and retirees. We all love the aesthetics of the land and exploring it in varying degrees.
The landscape permeates our food scene, our terroir makes our wines so special, we want homes with windows that frame it.
HOK: Name a woman in the Okanagan that inspires you.
Murissa: Shauna Grobowsky of Passionate Blooms has built an amazing brand. Back in 2016 I found her site by Google after looking for an affordable florist. We met a couple of times and she understood that I was a foodie. She put hidden details that she knew only I would notice, basil and cascading twills of olive branches. Her thoughtful details meant a lot to me on a hectic morning. Now, she has moved from her garage space to a gorgeous shop in West Kelowna. So many local businesses decorate their storefront’s with her unique bouquets and designs.
Murissa’s Okanagan Favourites
Boutique winery – Spearhead
B&B – Hester Creek Villas
Hotel – Naramata Heritage Inn
Lunch spot – CedarCreek
Breakfast spot – Waterfront Cafe & Catering
Dinner spot – Bouchons Bistro
Appies spot – Micro Bar & Bites
Connect with Murissa