Award-Winning Okanagan Wines
The great wineries of the South Okanagan in British Columbia have won barrels of awards in wine judging competitions around the world.
What kind of wine do you enjoy? Merlot, Pinot Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay Semillon, Cabernet Merlot, Cabernet Franc? One local winery has distinguished itself by winning the gold and silver medals in national and international competitions the last two years. Hester Creek Estate Winery has had an amazing record in the last two years, bringing home nine first-place prizes and twenty-one silver medals in major wine taste-offs around the world.
Hester Creek has raised the standard both for itself and other wineries in the Oliver and Osoyoos district. Last year, for example, in 2007, Hester Creek’s winemakers were responsible for winning gold at the Challenge International du Vin and Tasters’ Guild, two of the most challenging international wine competitions in the world. The Challenge International du Vin takes place in Paris each year. Coals to Newcastle, indeed! The Tasters’ Guild is a consumer-based group based in Maryland, USA, with chapters in most states. They receive entries for each variety of wine from wineries around the world. Hester Creek’s Merlot and save Merlot won gold from each of these prestigious competitions in 2007.
What are the newest award-winning wines from Hester Creek? Already, its 2004 save Cabernet Sauvignon has won the top prize at the Challenge International du Vin. Its 2006 Pinot Blanc took home the winner’s garlands at both the Pacific Rim International Wine Competition and the All Canadian Wine Championship this spring. When awards are handed out, (surprise, surprise!) the remaining situations of wine disappear quickly. Especially since only hundreds, not thousands, of situations were produced in the first place.
And what is the best way to find your way to the award-winning Okanagan wines of Hester Creek Estate Winery? After all, driving to the winery and not sampling its marvelous wares would be like fasting while attending a feast. excursion to a few wineries and enjoy yourself and you may risk a DUI on the way home.
The absolute best way to sample wines in the great Okanagan valley is to book a wine tour.
The Okanagan has dozens of great wineries up and down the Okanagan Valley. In the north, we have wineries from around Kamloops, Vernon and Kelowna. The Central Okanagan wineries are around Summerland and Penticton. But the greatest concentration of high-quality wineries, according to many experts, is found between Okanagan Falls and Osoyoos, along the spine of Highway 97 and west to Cawston, in the Similkameen, on Highway 33. This is just above the US border.
If you choose to visit the South Okanagan wineries, especially those near Oliver, which bills itself as “The Wine Capital of Canada” (and with good reason, with two dozen noticeable wineries within twenty minutes’ excursion!) then it’s a matter of finding a good wine tour company to chauffeur you and your party around.
Good luck in having a wonderful Okanagan wine experience. It’s a fabulous way to make your summer noticable. You’ll be grape-ful you did it!