A Touch of the Grape

The Okanagan Valley of British Columbia has the perfect environment for growing many types of wine grapes.

The Okanagan is famous for its pinot gris grapes (Hillside Winery). They produce a dry white that goes with many meals.

It’s very mild and damp in the winter and very hot and dry in the summer. Those conditions produce the right combinations of sugars and flavour profiles for many types of wines, especially “Bordeaux- style blends” (named after the region of France from where they originate), for which the Okanagan is also famous. In England, these blends used to be referred to as “claret.” Here they are often referred to as “meritage.”

Meritage is produced by blending certain types of grapes such as merlot, petit verdot, cabernet sauvignon and others.

One thing many people don’t realise about these grapes is that sometimes, a red grape produces a white wine.

Pinot noir grapes at Tinhorn Creek winery.

In fact, sparkling wines (in France, it’s known as champagne) usually result from red grapes.

The Okanagan also produces fantastic ice wine. This is a dessert wine that results when grapes are touched by a slight frost. Ice wine is terrific with cheese – a perfect combination of sweet and salty.

Often, I enjoy a good Bordeaux-style blend or meritage.

A lovely blend from Osoyoos Larose Winery.

With a steak or other hearty meal it’s heavenly.

Many people can be intimidated by wine and wine jargon. Try not to let that stop you, because finding a wine you like is one of life’s wonderful little things – and in moderation, it’s also good for you.

Do you like to enjoy a glass of wine?