What can be better than spending a weekend over wine, food, fun and friendship? Not much!
That’s exactly how I spent last weekend – with my dear long time girlfriend Margeaux. We go back to working together over thirty years ago first selling advertising at an established Canadian film publication. Wanting to branch out, we convinced our boss to fly us to Toronto once
we didn’t think there’d be a twice to cover the Genie Awards (recognizing the best of Canadian cinema – now merged with the Gemini Awards to include Canadian television…but to my non-Canadian friends, you’ve probably never heard of either). By some sheer godsend in between partying with celebrities like Donald Sutherland & Kim Cattrall at the event, our commentary and photos ended up getting published in the magazine. Later we worked on a Canadian Mad Max style film together But I digress…
Margeaux met me halfway (well almost) in Oliver, British Columbia – Canada’s wine capital.
She drove from Castlegar, BC and I had spent the night before in Lake Country, Kelowna with my boyfriend so I was not too far away. The drive from Vancouver to Oliver takes about 4 ½ hours and we were lucky to stay with a friend on Thursday night and watch the sunset while drinking champagne on a sailboat. I had to set the scene. Sundown was also the end of a holy Jewish holiday; Yom Kippur. Breaking a fast with champagne? Wine not?
Margeaux had booked a perfect B+B in Oliver that appropriately goes by the name Uncorked run by Ian & Judy Born, a couple originally from small farming communities. Uncorked is located within a 15 minute (if that) drive of 40+ wineries in either direction and a lakeview location with a saltwater pool you can use from May – October.
It’s quiet here and all 3 private entrance rooms have en-suite bathroom and flat-screen TV. The beds are king-size, super comfy with new mattress and deluxe bamboo bedding. After all, you need a good night’s sleep for next day wine tasting. There’s a BBQ, shared lounge with efficiency kitchen and a coffee tray was left outside the room in the morning with the little extras (milk, cream, sugar) and full homemade breakfast included.
I was not expecting a menu from which to choose what we’d prefer for breakfast. That was a pleasant surprise. Dietary restrictions noted. Judy’s homemade farm fresh breakfasts are beyond. Coffee, juice, fresh fruit salad, free range local eggs, home grown tomatoes, homemade jams, etc….It was exceptional. As was her advice on which wineries were her favourites (she works at one twice a week which we visited – to be blogged about separately).
As a local, Judy provided plenty of relevant information about small lot wineries (producing less than 5,000 cases) that are excellent that I would probably have passed by had she not mentioned them…including tipping us off to some wineries that are now run by big corps and foreign investors. A few other well known ones that are overblown and such. After our weekend we really appreciated her guidance.
Aside from our drop in to District Wine Village and a vintage shop on Saturday, we managed to visit 7 wineries in total. Two well known wineries where we had dinner and 5 distinctive small lot fabulous wineries we’d never know about had Judy not circled them on our wine map. And as usual, the wine and conversation flowed and the time went way too fast. We decided to do this same time next year. We’ll stay here again if the rooms are available.
For booking and general information:
Have you stayed in Oliver? If so; where?