“FieldTrips” is either a day trip or a few days where I visit food areas of interest which may include farm visits, producers, wineries, restaurants and/or other places that people can visit. This is about offering Vancouver Foodster readers a chance to get out of town and take a “Field Trip” for the day or a few days to explore, learn, taste and experience.
Field Trip to Penticton
Leaving Vancouver, we headed East driving Highway 1 towards Hope, we then took the Coquihalla, Hwy 5 North towards Merritt and then 97C East towards Lake Okanagan and then South to Penticton, the drive was just over 4-1/2 hours.
After Lawrence and I arrived, we checked in to the Penticton Lakeside Resort which was located in front of Okanagan lake on the Southern tip.
The West Wing is a modern addition to the iconic waterfront property and its aim is to provide a peaceful retreat for hotel guests. They kept their resort’s carbon footprint in mind, opting to use primarily timber over more commonly-used steel and concrete material. In fact, all of the wood used in the construction of this building was sourced from sustainably-managed forests.
The West Wing’s 70 rooms feature mainly heavy timber accents, including exposed wooden ceilings and glulam columns. In collaboration with Structurlam, they designed an environmentally-sustainable addition to their resort that features the most cross-laminated timber panels in any building in the entire Okanagan Valley. Our room was located here.
After getting settled, we walked downstairs for a visit to the Great Estates Wine Experience Centre; conveniently located on the main level of the West Wing of the Penticton Lakeside Resort.
Here we had a wonderful time, guided by Sally we learned a lot about several Okanagan wines in their portfolio each paired up with a variety of cheeses and other condiments. We also did a Chocolate and Wine pairing experience afterwards.
Great Estates features many of the top wineries in the region including Inniskillen, Black Sage, See Ya Later Ranch and more. Guests can either book an experience in advance or drop in for tastings.
Most of the wineries are located outside of the downtown area of Penticton, except for Time Winery which boasts a downtown presence to make their wines, they have a tasting bar along with a full-service restaurant. Here we enjoyed a tasting, tour and dinner.
Erika was our tour guide showing us around the winery production area, we then enjoyed a tasting of their wines.
Tasted a selection of their wines including the White Meritage, Vionier 2016, HMC Chardonnay, Rose, Time Red Meritage, HMC 2016 Meritage, Chronos and Equity.
Sat down for dinner where Brittany our server told us all about their menu and offerings.
We started off with the Roasted Tomato Buschetta followed by the Spring Greens (Paired with the Time Winery Rose)
The Time Frittes 2.0 was an addictive dish and perfect for sharing; along with the Hot fried Duck Confit (paired with the HMC Red Meritqge) and the Skillet Mac ‘N Cheese (paired with the Chardonnay).
After dinner we took a walk over to the lakefront near our hotel for a visit to The Peach Ice Cream Shop. This is a stand in front of the lake that features Crazy shakes, cones and more.
Here we tried the Strawberry not so Shortcake shake, a tasty and indulgent shake; one of several different ones they have on offer.
After a good nights rest, we went for a morning walk over to the The Bench Market which was about a 10 minute walk from the hotel. Here this full-on café and market serves up breakfast and lunch along with in-house bakery.
I had the Vegan Bowl along with a slice of their amazing Chocolate Chip Banana Bread along with an Iced Canadiano. Took some treats along for the ride which included their Chocolate energy balls, Granola bar and Chocolate chip cookie.
After Penticton we headed NE around Okanagan Lake and took a drive to one of my favourite areas of the Okanagan Valley to the Naramata region where we visited Serendipity Winery. Such a beautiful vineyard, here we explored the area and then enjoyed wine tasting of their portfolio.
After the wine tasting we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Chef Bongo Bistro where they offered lunch and dinner daily through the season.
Started off with the delicious Chef Bongo’s famous African Peanut Soup paired with Serendipity Winery Pinot Noir 2015.
Tomato and Brie cheese salad was next followed by the delicious Lobster and seafood Bouillabaisse with saffron and coconut cream; and the White Salmon with morel Mushrooms, tortellini with lobster sauce. Finished off the outstanding lunch with their Dulce del Leche crème Brûlée.
Leaving Naramata we drove around the lake heading West to Summerland to visit Okanagan Crush Pad where we had a Winery tour and tasting of their Haywire, Narrative and Free Form collection. Another beautiful winery on the Western edge of Okanagan Lake.
Here we enjoyed a tour of their winery and the production area before tasting some of their wines.
Two of my favourites that I tried was the Haywire Free Form along with the Rose.
The innovative concept comprises a custom winemaking facility that is now home to the winery brands Haywire, Narrative, and Free Form as well as wines made for other vintners.
The winery is state-of-the-art and features large concrete tanks, with a guest center built into the heart of the facility offering visitors a rare glance into the art of winemaking. A tasting room and wine shop offer a place to sample and buy wine, while watching the action in the cellar. Here they create wines from organic grapes, using native yeast for fermentation and minimal intervention. The wines reflect the region’s unique high mountain/northern desert setting, one that is noted for its intensely hot, short growing season with hallmark cool evenings.
Okanagan Crush Pad is Canada’s first purpose-built custom crush facility where several different wine labels are produced along with our own wines Haywire, Narrative and Free Form.
It was a nice couple of days visiting the Penticton, Naramata and Summerland areas.
Stay tuned for my next Field Trip outside of Vancouver.
By: Richard Wolak
Disclosure: Penticton Lakeside Resort provided us with complimentary accommodation, Tourism Penticton assisted with providing complimentary meals and such. As always, all opinions and photos are my own.