So there’s some things that I’m confined to not being able to do in my city because of lack of transport. One is going to Grouse whenever I want (a lot of planning and carpooling are required). The other major thing is not being able to go to local wineries. As much as I would love to think I’m going to make it up to the Okanagan and do the Naramata this summer, my schedule’s starting to look a little full for the year now that I’m back in Vancouver and employed again.
Fortunately though, my friend Faye needed some help delivering a gigantic dismantled Ikea shelf on Tuesday. It was being delivered to Walnut Grove, and when I showed up at her house without a coffee (I still feel bad), I saw in hand, a little map with some places to go and have a drink. The shelf was delivered easily enough and in record time, and without even looking at the map, we found ourselves following easy to follow signs into cow tippin’ territory, where The Fort Winery is located.
For those of you that don’t know this local gem, YOU SHOULD. The Fort, located in Fort Langley is a delicious treat. They don’t make wine from grapes. They make amazing fruit wine from locally sourced fruit. And not dessert wine as some of you might have thought automatically. These are dinner and sipping wines, ready to pop with meals. The tasting and retail room feels like the comfiest country cabin you can imagine, and the team itself is so hospitable and RELAXED. I’ve been to a few staunchy tastings in my life, and these people are the real deal and make you feel at home. Try to be there when Blodwyn is there because she’s amazeballs.
Highlights? “Valley Girl”, made from delicious ripe blueberries, and the new vintage of “Ghost of the Bogs” made from tart and citrusy white cranberries. They do make dessert wines as well. We sell the “Cold Snap Apples” among other products at Denman Place Wines. I was originally just going to walk out with the dessert blueberry, but picked up the “Finger Fruit Rasberry” when she told me it could and should be shaken with gin in a martini. *DROOL*. P.S. The winemaker is only 21 YEARS OLD! And talented as hell.
On our way home we stopped by the strangely located Pacific Breeze. Although controversial in the wine world, their fruit is sourced from California and then they make the wine in New Westminster. The tasting room is quaint and inviting though, the wine (especially the GSM and Killer Cab) is phenomenal, and if you’re there on specific days from 4-6 like we were, you get to go into the barrel room where the wine is ageing from ceiling to floor, and taste the wine directly from the barrel. The staff is so informative too, especially for wine geeks like us.
Okay so we actually only got to two that day, but I was invigorated to discover more local gems like those. There’s Sanduz Estate and Lulu Island Winery in Richmond of all places, and tons more just outside the city. Support local business! The Okanagan is great, sure! But for those of us that don’t have it so easily accessible, I’m telling you that you don’t have to go that far, and you can still come home with a few bottles (yes I did), and maybe some purple teeth.