Author: Carmen Broder

BC Winter Wines banner
Nov05

One thing you should know about travelling to B.C. is that we are called “wine country” for a reason! We grow and produce many wine varieties right here in the Okanagan, some of which have won international awards for their quality. It’s always wine season in B.C! Now that it’s cold out, there are just certain wines that hit better. Here’s everything you need to know about winter wine in British Columbia.    

What is a “Winter Wine”  

Simple! Any wine that you enjoy drinking in winter. Sure, this can be applied to almost anything. But certain varieties pair well with in-season foods like hearty stews, bold spices, and red meat meals.   

Does B.C. Make Wine in the Winter?  

Yes! Ice wine (sometimes spelled icewine) is made with grapes that are frozen on the vine. Ice wine can be made with Riesling and Vidal grapes (most popular), Cabernet Franc, Gewurztraminer, Merlot, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. The Okanagan is one of the best places in Canada to grow such grapes, as the climate is perfect for these unique fruits. Ice wine is traditionally quite sweet and pairs well with desserts.   

Which B.C. Wineries Make Ice Wine?  

B.C. wineries that have produced ice wine in the past include: Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery, Inniskillin Winery, Jackson-Triggs Winery, K Mountain Vineyards, Mission Hill Estate Winery, Mount Boucherie Estate Winery, Nk’Mip Cellars, Peller Estates, Quails’ Gate Estate Winery, See Ya Later Ranch, Soaring Eagle Estate Winery, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, and Willow Hill Winery.   

Ice Wine VS Winter Wine: What’s the Difference?  

Simply put, ice wine is made in winter; winter wines pair well with popular winter-season food choices. Ice wines can be winter wines and winter wines can be ice wines but there doesn’t have to be a correlation! Ice wine can keep for 10 years (corked), so you can drink it year-round. Meanwhile, many wintertime wine favorites are bottled in Spring or Summer.   

What Makes a Good Winter Wine?  

Winter used to be considered a “red wine” season (except, of course, Champaign for New Year’s). However, the truth is that white wine can be a winter wine, as well. A good winter wine pairs well with the hearty, spiced, red meat-centric meals of the cooler season. Acidic wines, for example, tend to work best with the typical dish served around the holidays. Any wine with a big, bold flavor will do (thick: full, oaky chardonnay).   

What are the Best Winter Wines in B.C.?  

Here are a few of our favourite B.C. winter wines. If you are travelling to the Okanagan to stay at La Casa Mirador (our season-round rental), then you should endeavor to check these out!   

Shiraz/Syrah   

This dark and full-bodied red makes for a perfect cold season wine. It pairs well with beef, venison, and lamb dishes. You can expect flavors of blueberry and blackberry along with ripe tannins.   

  • Hester Creek Syrah-Viognier   
  • Quails’ Gate The Boswell Syrah   
  • Vanessa Vineyard Right Bank   
  • Stag’s Hollow Syrah   
  • Black Hills Syrah   

Chardonnay  

Surprise! White wine can be a winter wine, too. Look for chardonnays with buttered, oak influences. Chardonnay, with its trademark fruity sweetness, will pair well with almost any dessert.   

  • Mission Hill Family Estate’s Grand Reserve Chardonnay  
  • 50th Parallel Estate Chardonnay   
  • SpearHead Chardonnay Clone 95  
  • Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay  
  • Quails’ Gate Chardonnay – Stewart Family Reserve  
  • Tinhorn Creek – Chardonnay  

Cabernet Sauvignon  

With Cabernet Sauvignon, you may detect hints of green pepper, tobacco, cassis, dark fruits, and vanilla. Some varieties will be opulent and fruity and others will be savory and smoky.   

  • Cassini The Aristocrat Limited Edition Cabernet Sauvignon  
  • Burrowing Owl Cabernet Sauvignon  
  • Nk’Mip Cellars (Inkameep) Qwam Qwmt Cabernet Sauvignon  
  • Painted Rock Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon  
  • Burnt Timber Estate Winery Monarch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon  
  • Quails’ Gate Cabernet Sauvignon  

Want to experience B.C. wines first-hand? Our luxury Okanagan cottages are booking for summer 2021—and they fill up fast! Contact us for a reservation today.   

zero waste food tips
Sep17

These zero waste food tips are designed to highlight environmental stewardship, reduce personal waste, and combat thoughtless consumerism. 

It’s U-Pick and Fall Farmers’ Market season and you’re probably looking forward to all the fresh B.C. produce you will be able to pick up. As you probably know already, we’re quite keen on sustainability and environmentalism here in B.C. The government boats a “Greening Your Home” campaign and our Green Economy is growing every day. 

Here are a few things that YOU can do to reduce, reuse, and recycle. 

Bring Your Own Bags & Buckets

You might be tempted to just wing it when you are visiting the farmers’ market or u-pick farms in your area but a little planning can go a long way. By bringing your own reusable produce bags, fabric totes, and buckets, you can save plastic and paper waste that usually comes from packaging. 

Shop for items that come in compostable packaging or no packaging at all. Paper or cardboard packaging that isn’t waxed can be torn up and composted for smaller items like berries that require a container. 

Plant Your Own Herbs 

Herbs are often difficult to package, as they are small and may fall apart during the shipping process. This means that you usually find them in glass or plastic containers. Avoid this by growing your own herbs! A small window planter is all you need to get started. Some of the easiest herbs to grow are chives, mint, parsley, basil, and cilantro.

You can also grow different flowers and flavors that can be dried and used for tea. Try English or Roman chamomile, lemon balm (part of the mint family), or peppermint. 

Use Every Part of Your Produce

We often peel, rind, and chop without taking the time to consider whether or not the “waste” we are creating can be repurposed for good. Prepackaged goods have spoiled us into thinking that it’s okay to pluck out the “best” and ignore the “rest” when it comes to our fruits, veggies, and meats. 

In reality, many food parts that get thrown away can (and should) be used up. Roasted pumpkin seeds, apple peel chips, watermelon rind chutney, sauteed greens stems, and fruit peel jelly are just a few of your endless options!

Collect Pieces for Soup Broth 

Some leftovers can’t be “eaten” per se but they can certainly be saved, frozen, and later boiled into a delicious vegetable or meat-based broth. You can save items like garlic skins, pepper cores, meat bones, onion tops, herb stems, and tomato ends. There are plenty of different recipes for homemade broth so no matter what you have leftover, you can probably come up with something delicious. 

Note that not ALL food bits make for a good-tasting broth. Leave out (or use in small portions) bitter greens, vegetable tops with too many leaves, overpowering herbs, certain seeds, and anything that doesn’t add much flavor (like corn).

Re-Grow Items Where You Can 

Many fruit and veggies can serve double-duty by being replanted after partial consumption and allowed to grow anew. An example of this is green onion, whereby you can chop off the tips and add them to your dish and then pace the bulbs and remaining spouts in a jar of water to let them regrow. You can also replant garlic that has sprouted in order to collect more fresh bulbs later on. 

Try this with celery, Romain lettuce, carrots, leeks, and even pineapple. Each item will have slightly different instructions for how to regrow it.

Compost, Compost, Compost! 

If there is something you really can’t reuse, then collect it to be composted. Items like eggshells actually have a lot of nutrients that gardens will love! If you have space for your own garden, you can create your own mulch with a bit of effort. If not, see if your city offers compost collection or drop-off so that it can be processed and used elsewhere.

Make sure you don’t contaminate your compost with plastic, waxed cardboard, or other unsavory items! This can make the whole batch go to waste. 

Takeaway

We love sharing our community and everything that entails here at La Casa Cottage Resort. We also believe in giving back, protecting nature, and living mindfully. So pack up your tote bags, mark the markets on your maps, and come visit us in the beautiful, sunny Okanagan Valley! 

You might also like Travel Green: 9 Tips and Tricks for Eco-Friendly Trips

B.C. Wine and Snack Pairings
Sep10

Keep reading to get our recommendations for the best B.C. wine and snack pairings this season.

If you’re visiting B.C., you’ve probably already heard that we are the wine country of Canada. British Columbia hosts around 929 vineyards currently as well as over 350 licensed wineries. There are 4,130 hectares of wine grapes growing across B.C. in any given year. 

Now that it’s fall, you’ll want to shirk the light, floral flavours of spring. Here are some great B.C. wine and snack pairings with an autumn twist! 

Pumpkin + Viognier 

Pumpkin is a staple of fall and often shows up luxuriously spiced in baked goods like pie, cookies, and tarts. The rich, sweetness of pumpkin will pair well with a nice viognier. Luckily, B.C. wineries like Volcanic Hills have many options for you to pick from. 

Try: Pumpkin Pie Bites from Tasty + Viognier from Volcanic Hills Winery (West Kelowna)

Apples + Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer is the third most popular wine grape grown in B.C., right after the uber-popular Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. It used to be known for being super sweet but has been trending towards dryer flavours, making it a great option for fall. Gewürztraminer’s fruity profile pairs well with apples, which can be plucked right from the tree at one of the Okanagan’s U-Picks!

Try: Easy Apple Crisp from Little Sweet Baker + 50th Parallel Gewürztraminer (Lake Country, BC).

Figs + Port

Port (AKA Vinho do Porto or just Porto) has relatively low acidity and tannin, making it a great pairing for both cooked or raw figs. Port also has a slightly higher alcohol percentage, ranging closer to 20% than the usual 10-13%. Figs are a ton of fun to work with in the kitchen and a quick search for “fig appetizer ideas” will open your mind to the world of the edible fruit of Ficus carica.

Try: Fig Appetizer With Brie And Spiced Honey from Just a Little Bit of Bacon + Vintage Okanagan Tawny Port from House of Rose (Kelowna, BC).

Sweet Potatoes + Zinfandel

Sweet potatoes, venison, and game meats are just a few hearty fall flavours that pair well with the dark fruit, spice, and oak of a good Zinfandel. Enjoy black cherry, blueberry, and hints of vanilla with your favourite easy sweet potato snack. 

Try: Baked Sweet Potato Chips from Minimalist Baker + Black Sage Zinfandel by Black Sage Vineyards (Okanagan Valley, BC).

Ready for a Visit to Beautiful B.C.?

What do you think about our choice of B.C. wine and snack pairings for fall? Let us know on our socials or let us know what other local topics you want us to cover. 

Let La Casa Cottage Resort help you book your stay. We have luxury vacation cottages and overnight rentals for all group sizes and budgets. Talk to one of our friendly travel experts to get started. 

You might also like: The Best B.C. Wine and Why We Love Them.

best day spas in Kelowna
Aug27

Vacations should be about rest and relaxation—and what says R&R better than a luxury visit to one of the best day spas in Kelowna? A trip to the spa can make any weekend special. They make for a perfect bachelorette activity or date night, or just a special gift to reward yourself for getting through a tough year! 

These are some of the best day spas in Kelowna and what we love about them. 

Kelowna, B.C. Day Spas

Namaste Day Spa

Namaste Day Spa is just off the highway on Gordon Drive, so even those just passing through can’t miss it! They offer a 3.25 hours “half-day” spa package: a classic customized organic facial including exfoliation and extractions, sixty-minute massage with flowing Shiatsu, and a pedicure including nail care and a sea salt scrub. 

Amora Day Spa

Amora Day Spa is located within downtown Kelowna, right near the waterfront as well as the bridge to West Kelowna (perfect for those choosing to stay on that side of town). Set aside 2 or 3 hours to visit them for a full body massage, relaxing facial, body wrap, or mani-pedi. Or all of the above! 

Beyond Wrapture Day Spa

Beyond Wrapture Day Spa is attached to the Coast Capri Hotel on Harvey Avenue. It’s right downtown Kelowna near Water Street and all the bars, eateries, shops, and parks that that comes with. They offer some of the most length and substantial packages on this list with treatments that last up to 6-7 hours. A truly luxury experience.

West Kelowna, B.C. Day Spas

Talking Tree Day Spa

Talking Tree Day Spa is located in central West Kelowna and handles everything from massages, body wrap, facials, manicures, pedicures, gel nails, waxing, tinting, and silk threading. They have many spa package options that combine different varieties of their service list. Their stand-out treatment is the “Head to Toe,” which, as you can probably guess, offers a complete body relaxation package. You’ll get a massage, feet treatment, facial, and manicure.

Okanagan Massage

Okanagan Massage is a massage-centric service provider that offers packages for relaxation, full-body, deep tissue, hot stone, and/or foot treatments. They also offer a couples massage package at a discount, making it perfect for romantic getaways, honeymoons, anniversaries, or Valentine’s Day. Note: the couples massage package can be used for anyone in pairs of two, romance not required!

 

What do you think about our list of best day spas in Kelowna? What other Kelowna travel activities do you want us to cover on our blog? Let us know!

Need help organizing your trip? Call or email us at La Casa Cottage Resort and we’ll find the perfect overnight venue for your local vacation plans.

You might also like: 10 Kelowna Attractions and Hotspots You Should Visit.

Best Cocktails In Kelowna
Aug20

Are you visiting one of our luxury cabins in Kelowna, B.C.? You might want a fresh, exciting night out while you’re in town! Take a night to yourself to discover the unique, sultry cocktail bars across the city. Here are a few of the best cocktails in Kelowna…and where you can find them. 

Rember: Cocktails change year-over-year and sometimes season-over-season. If you can’t find something we’ve suggested on the current menu, ask the bartender! They might be able to make it special for you or suggest an alternative cocktail. 

Micro Bar Bites

Micro Bar Bites is an intimate dining experience located right downtown Kelowna on Water Street. They have bottled beer and homemade cocktails on the menu. The duck fat & rosemary popcorn really can’t be beat as a quick appetizer for the table. They are also dedicated to supporting local produce suppliers! 

Our favourite cocktail: Y’all Can’t Handle the Truth. This is a RauDZ Creative Concepts exclusive with TWT gin, Pimms, cucumber oleo-saccharum, lime, and Okanagan Spirits Taboo Absinthe rinse. See their whole menu here.

Jack’s 

Jack’s, AKA Jack’s on Bernard, is a Kelowna cocktail bar with a rock-and-roll vibe, as emphasized by their drink menu named after famous songs and 90’s nostalgia. They have an amazing menu of food including three different types of flatbread (yum!). Ask for their Featured Flatbread to get a seasonal surprise. 

Our favourite cocktail: Detroit Rocket City. Cucumber-infused Absolut Vodka, watermelon, lemon, and hibiscus foam. See their whole menu here.

Social 

Social 242, AKA Social Lounge & Grill, is located on Kelowna’s beautiful Lawrence Avenue and boasts a menu packed with daily deals, vegan menu options, and plenty of beer and wine to choose from. For dessert, or paired with your cocktail of choice, try their Amaretto Creme Brulee or Hazelnut Espresso Cheesecake. 

Our favourite cocktail (and don’t let the name fool you): The Mediocre Caesar. A classic Caesar with all the fixins’—topped with cheese, pickles, olives, and sausage. Did we mention CHEESE? Check out their full menu here.

Cantina del Centro

Cantina del Centro is a Latin American inspired cocktail bar and eatery with locations in both Kelowna and Nelson. The Kelowna venue, located on Bernard Avenue, is just a stone’s skip away from Okanagan Lake. Their specialty is Mexican street food and they offer an extensive tequila and mezcal list.

Our favourite cocktail: Sin Cara Mezcal Margarita. Sombra mezcal, Haskap, lavender, vanilla, and lime. 

Mid-Town Station

Mid-Town Station opened in November 2019 as a partner venue to the Train Station Pub, another local Kelowna staple. This Landmark District go-to gathering spot does everything from dinner, brunch, take-out, and even catering. They also have a loyalty reward program for frequent guests. 

Our favourite cocktail: Okanagan Sangria. Smirnoff green apple vodka, lillet blanc, maraschino liqueur, white wine, lime juice, white cranberry juice, float of Okanagan spirits cherry liqueur, and soda. 

What do you think about our list of the best cocktails in Kelowna? Ready to visit and find your new favourite cocktail bar and drink? Come stay at La Casa Cottage Resort—luxury vacation rentals for any budget.