The Okanagan Valley of British Columbia has the perfect environment for growing many types of wine grapes.
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.”
One thing many people don’t realise about these grapes is that sometimes, a red grape produces a white wine.
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.
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.
My wonderful friend C has an equally wonderful yard. It took her many years to bring it around.
She has many beautiful, mature trees, a small pond, and a vegetable patch.
Loads of flowers, ornamental plants and a gurgling stream complete this garden oasis.
It is truly stunning but also relaxing. My friend has built a remarkably calming haven in the middle of a dense and busy neighbourhood.
On a recent night, we sat on her large comfortable deck, ate good food, listened to sleepily twittering birds, and watched the sun go down and the bats flit in search of dinner. We talked and spent time together.
Here’s a little tour of my home in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. When I am not working in the Northwest Territories, I am usually here.
Okanagan Lake is a very deep, very long north to south (135 km) body of fresh water with very different climates from one end to the other.
Even within short distances, there are extremes. Enormous sage bushes crouch in the dry soil in one spot, and a few meters away …
… there’s a vibrantly green apricot tree.
And then there are the grape vines. Many, many varietals. Some of these grapes will become very expensive bottles of wine while others are much more lowly, but pleasant and worthwhile all the same.
Part of this valley is classified as desert while other parts further to the north are made up of deciduous and coniferous forest.
Right now it is very hot (about 36°C) and dry and while the wine grapes might really like that, there have been some significant lightening-triggered fires as well. A few rain showers would be very helpful.
What are the defining characteristics of your part of the world?