Wine Festivals for the Seasons

By Michael Fagin

Fall colors and the wine harvest, spring flowers in wine country, or soaking in the summer sun, food, wine and the beach. These were the hard choices that my wife and I had to ponder when Tourism Kelowna invited us to attend one of their seasonal wine festivals.

We made the decision to go to the fall festival and were very pleased with so much to do between the 110 wineries that participated, the winemaker’s diners, as well as wine and cheese tasting events. And let us not forgot one of our favorites, pairing chocolates and wines.

We arrived early to the kickoff event and started with a stroll around downtown Kelowna’s beautiful Waterfront Park.  Our timing was perfect to enjoy the outstanding sunset views as the colors reflected on Okanagan Lake.  We greatly enjoyed “window shopping” at some of the lovely outdoor restaurants and lounges.  We were saving our appetites for the “All You Need is Cheese and Wine” event at the festival kickoff.

At the kickoff event we received all the information needed to plan our itinerary.  We decided to target the East Kelowna Wine Trail (see individual stories on this website.) While visiting the wineries we also found other interesting things to do. The first stop was at Arlo’s Honey Farm, (near Tantalus Vineyards, famed for its Riesling). The beekeeper and owner Helen Kennedy gave us a quick run-down on some of their award winning honey products.  One of the interesting things that we learned about honey is it is a powerful immune system builder and can also be used on your skin for cuts and bruises.

One of the more interesting benefits of honey is that it is supposed to take the edge off of a hangover.  I guess that is good to know in case one of us has too much wine. So we decided to purchase some of these products just in case.

Just five minutes away from Arlo’s we found an oasis at the Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm.  The property used to be an apple orchard.  Many of the area orchards were replaced with vineyards.  When owner Andrea McFadden took over this property in the mid 1990’s she decided to plant lavender.

We loved the Lavender Farm with the brilliant colors and fragrances of the lavender, and of course the rolling hills and views of the lake.  You can read descriptions and see pictures.  However, nothing will replace a visit here in the summer to really see, smell and soak it all in.

The highlight of our visit was learning about the “Garden to Table Programme”.  This programme teaches how to use all the herbs in the garden to make an entire meal. While we did not participate in the programme we certainly reaped from the harvest.

We were served a complete meal made from products grown at the Lavender Farm including herbal ice tea, rosemary bread, lavender bread, along with fresh vegetables and fruits.  Last but not least we were served a whole array of deserts; lavender meltaways, lavender flavor biscotti, and petit tarts.

And now, time for a quick power nap on the sunny balcony to gear up for our next stop on the winery trail.



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