Thursday, August 9, 2007


Over the last couple of days I've had the privilege to experience wine in a whole new way by visiting the wineries and vineyards of the Okanagan Valley. This is an amazing experience. I speak in the tense of the present, being as it is still ongoing in the form of the excessive consumption. Chris, Missy, Leona and myself have visited five wineries in the last two days, sampling from each of them. We started by visiting Arrowleaf and Gray Monk yesterday, then Mt Boucherie, Quail's Gate and ended with the best, Mission Hill. Mission Hill is amazing. The owner has created something most spectacular here, creating the illusion of stepping into a Tuscan painting. We opted for the tour and were taken into the belly of the winery, a cathedral of the grape preaching the religion of wine. 800 barrels of wine are stacked two high in a cellar framed by 30 foot archways, which could only have been inspired from old European churches. At the front of cellar stood a large stone table they called "the alter" where wines are tasted, celebrated and sacrificed to the lucky few who are invited for ceremony. Exposed stone walls are wet with running water, keeping the humidity at 80% and the temperature at a constant 13 degrees. On the side of the cellar is a large metal gate, protecting the "vault", a large room with a priceless wine vessel collection on the wall, one dating back to the bronze age. Some of the most valuable wines from around the world are kept in this room, decorated by aging cobwebs and dust. Remarkable.
As I draw a sip of wine, and as it brushes the palette of my mouth I can't help but think of wine as art, art for the soul and mind. I think of the passion, the dream, the history and the inspiration which led to it's existence, and I am grateful.


Mattie said...

while mission hill has the grandeur and "look at us" feel. It is the smaller vineyards that actually make the best wine in the region. We took the tour as well and it was very cool, but as far as wine and the taste and enjoying the art form that it is, mission hill is not the best wine in the region, and might not even make my top 5. But the ambiance and scenery is something straight from tuscany and what you would want your youngest daughter to get married at.

Make sure to try the other wineried before you make the claim that mission hill is the best. Scenery yes, vino... nono.

Anonymous said...

Well, the true spirit of older-brother-one-up-man-ship, I must fondly recall the once-in-a-lifetime experience that I had the distinct honour of participating in not too long ago, and that my friends, was the tour of the Alexander Keith's brewery in Halifax. Who can say that they've done that??!! Not quite equalling the "Tuscan grandeur" or whatever the hell you described it as, but certainly a unique experience, especially when you consider the potential proximity to true canadian acting fame in the form of 'The Trailer Park Boys'. Imagine my surprise when, while enjoying a sip of 'The Pride of Nova scotia!!' at the end of my tour, I heard (and I quote) "Holy @#$! Ricky!! Look over there!!, I think that might be the !@#$%'n brother of that famous !@#$$'n canadian authour Alex Schaap!!

Alex said...

And that reminds me of the Heineken tour with Dad.. We toured Heineken prior to touring vangogh. I thought all the paintings were original but I continued to see two of each.