Great wine is even better when it’s paired with great food, and when both come from within several miles of each other, the experience is even better. We’re so fortunate to have the ability to grow, harvest, and serve up fantastic wines and dishes in BC’s wine regions.
Winery Restaurants in the Okanagan
Heading south to north, here are three winery restaurants that I recently visited while on a tour with the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society and Thompson Okanagan Tourism.
Talon’s Restaurant at Spirit Ridge (at Nk’Mip)
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Location: Spirit Ridge – 1200 Rancher Creek Road, Osoyoos, BC
Restaurant: Talon’s Restaurant at Spirit Ridge
Executive Chef: Jamie Hertz
The Spirit Ridge and Nk’Mip property in Osoyoos is filled with a full day’s worth of activities. Stay at Spirit Ridge Resort, take a dip in the pool or have a coffee at the market, visit the Desert Cultural Centre, do a winery tour at Nk’Mip Cellars, and round out the day with a glass of wine and dinner at Talon’s.
Our group had a lovely lunch on the patio with Benedict Genaille of Nk’Mip Cellars, who is an aboriginal cuisine instructor and chef as well, specializing in preparing Canadian First Nations food in traditional recipes with modern flair. Chef Hertz, a former Top Chef Canada competitor, prepared a four course lunch with Nk’Mip wine pairing for us, using his own inspirations and techniques to create dishes inspired by the desert landscape and the wines of Nk’Mip.
We started with a steelhead salmon roulade and then a warm roasted beet salad with roasted garlic, golden beet syrup, and beet chips. This salad followed by the halibut with dashi broth and mushrooms was probably my favourite meal combo of the entire trip. I love beets, I love halibut, and both were prepared in refreshing ways that highlighted the main ingredients on many levels. The meal was capped off with a warm blondie bar, walnut ice cream, peaches, cherries, and cream.
The Kitchen at Misconduct
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Location: Misconduct Wine Co. – 375 Upper Bench Road N.
Restaurant: The Kitchen at Misconduct
Executive Winery Chef: Abul Adame
Misconduct was the very first stop on our trip and it was a great introduction to the personal style and flare that each Okanagan winery chef puts into their menus. We dine family style as Chef Abul Adame served us his own Portuguese and Mexican tapas, family style.
We began with a mix of olives, then a smoked tomato soup, a toasted walnut, chickpea and roasted garlic spread with warm bread, grilled vegetables, a platter of tuna with guacamole, and the pièce de résistance — Misconduct’s signature paella with spanish saffron rice, chorizo, mussels, clams, chicken and prawns. The Kitchen serves up these tapas as large plates for sharing, and as 5 dollar and 10 dollar tapas. With this feast we enjoyed Misconduct’s Bootleg Series Massacre Rosé and Misfit, and their Suspect Series Chardonnay Viognier.
The flavours and fusions are so creative, it really is a treat to find such unique combinations for wine pairings. Toasted walnut spread? Saffron rice? Guacamole? It all works so harmoniously and your taste buds will thank you for making that reservation.
Grapevine at Grey Monk
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Location: Gray Monk Estate Winery – 1055 Camp Road, Lake Country, BC
Restaurant: Grapevine Restaurant
Executive Winery Chef: Willi Franz
The Heiss family has 32 years of winemaking and 42 years of grape growing experience in BC’s Lake Country, just between Kelowna and Vernon. In 1976 George and Trudy Heiss first planted Alsace Pinot Gris in the region and these trailblazers are going strong today on 75 acres overlooking Okanagan Lake.
Walking onto the patio at Grapevine Restaurant, my eye caught the bright red and pink geraniums that lined the railing, contrasting row upon row of lush green vines on the hillside below. George and Trudy joined our group for dinner and their warmth, hospitality, humours and accents (German and Austrian) made me feel as though I was visiting family. Sipping their 2012 Riesling, the late summer sunshine warming my back, I dug into a lively lunch with all the comforts of home paired with the benefits of having a meal at a winery with its owners.
A crisp heirloom tomato bocconcini salad was paired with the Reisling and with a choice of two entrées I decided on the beef brochette with cherry pink peppercorn sauce, potato and seasonal vegetables. This was paired with the 2011 Odyssey Red Meritage, which brought out the richness of the meat and the tartness of the cherries on top. The Odyssey III Port arrived with our final dish, a trio with crème brûlée, chocolate raspberry mousse, and a truffle.
Between the delicious comfort food and the Heiss’ hilarious and captivating stories, I had a smile on my face all afternoon. Chef Franz’s meal blended bright and crisp flavours of the season with warm and hearty dishes that played in perfect harmony with Gray Monk’s wines.
The patio at Grapevine is a place where you’ll want to sip, savour, and cherish the bounty of the land around you while enjoying the panoramic view. Watching the sun cross the sky, from vineyard to lake to mountain, you may feel as I did: right at home.
Check all of the winery restaurants’ websites for seasonal hours and start planning your trip to wine country today. Call ahead for reservations to make sure you get a table at these popular, and delicious, destinations.
Related Post: Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek in Oliver, BC.