Photo: Painted Rock's new wine shop
Stunning new tasting rooms have been opened by two wineries
that are members of the Okanagan Falls Winery Association, giving wine tourists
one more reason to stop in this region.
Two-year-old Liquidity Winery opened its hospitality centre
and bistro several weeks ago. The modernistic building represents a complete
rebuilding of the adobe-style house that was on the property when the Liquidity
partners bought the vineyard several years ago.
Photo: Liquidity's hospitality centre
The new building has a sparkling and spacious wine shop with
a stunning view over undulating vineyards and Vaseux Lake
in the distance. The view is somewhat similar to the much photographed view
over neighbouring Blue
The landscaping here is also impressive. The long driveway
to the wine shop sweeps past a beautiful lily pond at the entrance to the
property. The plain jane building to the right is the very functional winery
the Liquidity completed just before the 2012 vintage. Prior to that, winemaker Matt
Holmes made several vintages in another winery.
The new winemaking facility, coupled with extensive vineyard
improvements, has led to excellent wines from 2012. Just over a third of the
20-acre vineyard is planted to Pinot Noir, the rising star here. Liquidity
replaced its Malbec and Petit Verdot with Pinot Noir, a variety better suited
to this site.
Liquidity tasting room
The portfolio of wines is focussed. Liquidity currently
offers Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Viognier, Merlot, Pinot Noir and a rosé made
from Dornfelder grapes. The wines all are delightful.
Painted Rock Estate Winery began welcoming visitors last
weekend to its gleaming wine shop. The building, designed by Penticton architect Dominic Unsworth,
replaces the cramped cabin that served winery visitors for the previous two
“It’s just about time we increased the experience,” says
winery owner John Skinner. “The old room put people off.”
Painted Rock's sunbathed wine shop
The new tasting room is perched at the top of the vineyard.
The floor to ceiling glass doors – which are opened in fine weather – give
views over the vines and Skaha
. The interior is
gleaming white, with a display of wine bottles breaking up the space behind the
extensive tasting bar.
There is seating and a catering kitchen for special events.
There has already been one wedding at this spectacular venue.
Painted Rock's John Skinner with winery sign
The Painted Rock Winery, which opened in 2009, is just
beside the road to the renowned Skaha climbing bluffs. The new wine shop has a
sign that can be illuminated at night and can be seen from the other side of
Members of the Painted Rock wine club, along with other
guests, were invited last weekend to inaugurate the wine shop. They had several
treats in store, starting with a view of a dramatic thunder storm that swept
across Skaha Lake
during the event.
They also got to taste wines that either are just released
or are about to be released. These include reds from the 2011 vintage, an
Okanagan vintage that has been dissed a bit by critics. That is not entirely
fair; wineries that practiced good viticulture are now releasing excellent
wines. “The 2011 vintage really worked here,” John says, waving a hand toward
the neat vineyard.
Here are my notes.
Chardonnay 2012 ($29.90). The appeal of this wine is the admirable
restraint shown in its production. By aging it only 5 ½ months in oak and by
putting just half through malolactic fermentation, the winery has given the
central role to the variety’s bright citrus aromas and flavours. The wine is
refreshing on the palate, with a finish that is both crisp and lingering. 93.
Painted Rock Red Icon
2011 ($54.90). This is a blend of 30% Malbec, 27% Cabernet Franc, 20%
Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. In the glass, the wine
announces itself dramatically with perfumed aromas that include cherry, plum
and vanilla. The wine is rich and ripe on the palate, with flavours of black
cherry, cassis and mocha. The balance is exquisite and elegant, with a suave
and polished texture and a very long finish. 95.
Painted Rock Cabernet
Sauvignon 2011 (Est. $39.90). The wine begins with a touch of mint and
black currant on the nose, leading to flavours of currant, coffee and leather.
The firm texture suggests a wine that should be aged five or 10 years. The
tannins, however, are ripe. 91.
Painted Rock Syrah 2011
(Est. $39.90). This is made in
the classic northern Rhone
style, with pepper
and black cherry aromas and with a medley of flavours, from black cherry to
spiced deli meats. On the palate, this complex wine surprises by delivering a
delicious core of sweet berry flavours. 93.
Painted Rock Merlot
2011 (Est. $39.90). This is a generous Merlot with luscious flavours of
black currant and blueberry. Richly concentrated on the palate with long ripe
tannins, this is a textbook Merlot. 93.