How to Derail Your Best Laid Plans in Southern British Columbia

“Okay, I know its going to be a bit of a gruelling 11 hour drive today but nobody said we couldn’t stop at a couple of wineries for a quick tasting along the way,” is the first thing I said to her as I pulled the Tacoma out onto Highway 93 heading North towards Kelowna.

She began humming along to the tune slipping through the speakers hiding inside the dashboard

But baby
You hardly even notice
When I try to show you this
Song is meant to keep you
Doin’ what you’re supposed to
Wakin’ up too early
Maybe we could sleep in
Make you banana pancakes
Pretend like it’s the weekend now

As we hummed along to Jack Johnson’s Banana Pancakes, we carried on humming and sing out our lungs at a quarter past twelve. “Well, have you decided upon any of those wineries out there,” I said sweeping my hand in front of the windshield then swiped the turn signal down signalling a right hand turn and pulled into the parking lot of Eighth Generation in Summerland, BC.

Many years back we came here during a wine tour and fell in love with their Merlot-Cab-Sauv as it had this ultimately peppery taste. A few years later we pulled back into their gravel parking lot and was informed they no longer made that delicious Merlot-Cab-Sauv but if you bought a bottle of Merlot and kept it hidden away for a couple of years, then it would mature and should end up with that same delicious peppery flavour you are seeking. We smiled and bought a few bottles of Merlot. The experiment was on. It sat on a shelf hidden from everyone with a note on the outside of the brown bag: do not open before December 14, 2014. It lay in wait until April 2015 when we popped it open to drink it with a steak dinner. It was PHENOMENAL!! Even better than the original Merlot-Cab-Sauv that we sought after.

Today, we hoped with our fingers crossed they would have a peppery Merlot in the yields of grapes bottled and presented in their now very fine tasting room. How time flies and changes at each establishment have been made. Wow!

“I’m so sorry,” said the pristine lady in a lacy white flowing dress, “we no longer make a peppery noted wine. Perhaps our Shiraz with its…” I stopped her before she could sell us something else. Thanked her for her time and departed the venue.

“Its just not the same is it,” I said once we were outside. Followed by, “this is why I love Forbidden Fruit Winery. He’s not changed his establishment. Just year in and year out, the best fruit wine that we have come to enjoy. He’s cultivated it and mastered each layer of each wine he produces in small batches.” We smiled at each other knowing exactly what I was saying as we looked around at our memories gone by.

Back into the Tacoma, back onto Highway 93 we cruised north talking about possible wineries we might want to stop at. Then I made a BOLD suggestion, “why don’t we stop in an area which we have not really tried out yet? Which is along the way,” I glanced over at her seeing what she might say. Her eyes glistened in the sun and the expression on her face said YES YES YES before she actually said, “why not, where are you thinking?”

I pointed out in front of the windshield then said, “West Kelowna.” She nodded her head in agreement then said, “how many do you think we should go to?” Thinking it through for a few minutes and knowing all to well what this would mean to our driving time, I said, “let’s aim for 3 or 4, but lets limit how many of them we are tasting at. Okay. So, if we go into a place and they have 15 wines, than we will only try 3 or 4. How does that sound?”

She smiled without looking in my direction then pulled out her phone to see how many wineries were in West Kelowna. “Holly-moly!” came from the passenger seat, “there are thirteen of them within a five kilometre drive of each other. How do we choose them?” she says posing the question more so to the Tacoma than to myself as her eyes gazed out the window looking over the vineyards passing us by one by one.

“We can either go into this blind and turn-off up there somewhere, where we see a winery sign and just go by the seat of our pants. Which is how we sort of ended up in the Okanagan Valley to begin with this weekend. Or you can do research and decide,” thought I out loud. She nodded her head to the music and replied with, “lets play random winery roulette!”

Thirty-two minutes later we pulled into the Tourist Information Centre parking lot to grab a bit of advice from a Kelowna local and to use the restroom. Exiting the centre a few minutes later we discussed how odd it was inside there and how awesome all of the information within the Museum actually was. We had grabbed a West Kelowna Winery pamphlet and were ready for the next derailment of this warrior weekend road trip binge into southern British Columbia!

~ Aaron JacksonCrabb