Written by Sarah Wood, local event planner and blogger for Okanagan Event Girl
Hello, all wine and Okanagan Valley tourists, locals, newbies, and longtime visitors.
Summer is upon us and I know that everyone in the Okanagan is welcoming back wine season with open arms! The warm weather means after-work drinks on the patio, beach days, summer holidays and lots of time with family and friends. For myself, summer means events to attend, plan and assist with. With my background in events and tourism management, I had the pleasure of attending an exclusive industry wine tour with Red Lips & Wine Sips. The purpose of the tour was to taste unreleased Rosé wines from a variety of Okanagan wineries and mingle with other community creatives. This was a great opportunity to make connections and learn about the work other women in the community are a part of – the local boss babes are truly inspiring! Red Lips & Wine Sips kept the tour small with only ten people, which allowed everyone to get to know each other and have a more personalized experience. Red Lips & Wine Sips and myself (Okanagan Events Girl) had connected through Instagram and this tour allowed us to transfer that relationship to the real world.
Now let’s get to the good part! Tanja and Annika of Red Lips & Wine Sips are amazing. They truly showcased their knowledge and community connections throughout the tour. Although they do not usually do wine tours as part of their regular Red Lips & Wine Sips business, we were still picked up in a proper wine tour van and driven around which was great, everyone could safely enjoy the wine tasting (like I did!). I am a lover of Pinot Gris, Cabernet Merlot and any type of Rosé so this tour was perfect for me!
Red Lips & Wine Sips primarily offers in house wine pairings and tastings, can you say YES PLEASE! Did I mention they bring all their own stemware. No mess for you to clean up! I have not had the opportunity yet to do an in-home tasting and pairing but I would love to. Tanja and Annika would be amazing party hosts and with their background in wine I would learn so much! Their business is truly so unique, and it is an amazing contribution to the Okanagan’s service offering sector. Their service is seriously the best of both worlds because this would be the best night in EVER with the best wines from around the Okanagan Valley.
We Definitely lucked out with weather on this day and it truly felt like a summer day even though it was only April 7! On our tour we visited five local wineries: Tantalus Vineyards, SpearHead Winery, Kitsch Wines, The Hatch, and Quails’ Gate Winery with each winery offering a unique vibe and feel. There is truly a winery for everyone! One of my favourite aspects of the tourism industry, especially within the Okanagan, is that tourists are on vacation and are always happy to be drinking local wine! Keep reading to learn a little about each winery we visited.
Fun facts about the Wineries we visited:
Tantalus Vineyards is located in East Kelowna and has beautiful views to look out over! With its modern and classy tasting room, there is even ample space to host long table dinners inside. The building itself is LEED
(Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) certified and they have an amazing Rosé. Tantalus is also a partner in hosting the Unleashed Lakeshore Wine Route Fundraiser for the BCSPCA this amazing event is happening on Saturday, May 4th which you should check out because you can bring your dog – how fun is that!! So, if you are a dog and wine lover you should definitely check out this event. The wine route for this event consists of Sperling Vineyards, Tantulus Vineyards,
St Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery and Summerhill Pyramid Winery, each of which will be serving appetizers at each stop for a minimum $20 donation to the BCSPCA.
This cute little winery was totally up my alley as they promote that guests bring their own picnic to have on the adorable patio just outside their cute little yellow tasting room. SpearHead is known for their Pinot Noir and White Pinot Noir wines which by the way are delicious! One of my favourite fun activities that SpearHead does is they have local foodtrucks come to their location on Fridays during their summer months (so fun and creative!).
Wow oh wow! Driving up to Kitsch Wines is spectacular. This East Kelowna gem provides a modern style to wine tasting and is known for their Pinot Noir and Riesling. The staff at Kitsch were so fun and the Winemaker, Grant Biggs, took us on a tour of the vines, and a ride in the Kitsch golf cart! Kitsch annually hosts an event called Splendour in the Grass that takes place at the winery and personal home on the estate. The perfect summer event, it has amazing music, great views and even better wine – check out their promo video here. Kitsch also has awesome apparel ranging from hats, t-shirts, sweaters, wine glasses, and bags.
As our second last stop of the wine tour, The Hatch provided a relaxed vibe with their large group tasting table! It was like a break because we got to sit and relax and, not to mention Tanja and Annika made the most amazing charcutterie board, which was so unexpected and delicious! The Hatch is very rustic looking and is branching away from the typical Okanagan wine experience.
Being involved in the events industry, one of my favourite aspects about Quails’ Gate is their available accommodations that are both lake front properties. One being called The Lake House and the other called The Nest. I helped with a wedding last Summer at The Lake House and it was beautiful. Besides its incredible and well-known wine, Quails’ Gate also has a scrumptious restaurant on-site called Old Vines Restaurant. This winery deserves a visit with all it has to offer from accommodations, food and beverage and an upscale tasting room.
Thank you to Tanja and Annika of Red Lips & Wine Sips for starting my summer off right with an authentic Okanagan wine tour! Keep on sipping, touring and enjoying all that our beautiful home has to offer.