The Okanagan

snowboard and ski
Nov18

Ski and Snowboard in the Okanagan

Ready to book your next British Columbia ski vacation? Looking for an alternative to Whistler? The Okanagan valley is home to a number of mountains that have varied terrain and budget-friendly pricing.  Here are three ski resorts within easy driving distance from La Casa.

Crystal Mountain Ski Resort – West Kelowna

Exciting news! The Crystal Mountain ski area has been closed for a number of years—but the area is under development and is set to reopen under a new name and new management this winter! Fingers crossed everything goes to plan: we can’t wait to see what happens here. It’s the only ski area in West Kelowna after all, meaning it’s less than a 1 hour drive from La Casa to Crystal Mountain. 

Silver Star Ski Resort – Vernon

Cozy would be the correct word to describe Silver Star.  The mountain village offers a range of ski-in, ski-out accommodation options that minimise your time from sleep to slopes. The resort is very popular with locals and has a friendly vibe, often less busy than the larger mountains…but still with an impressive amount of terrain.  Silver Star is around a 1 hour 30 minute drive from La Casa.

Big White Ski Resort – Kelowna

Big White is a Mecca for winter sports enthusiasts with an average annual snowfall of 750 cm, 16 lifts, 119 designated trails, 25km of cross country trails and more! New additions for the 2019/20 season include: an extra magic carpet for beginners, more gondola cabins on Lara’s gondola, and a new trail that allows skiers and snowboards to access Westridge earlier on in the season. Sounds good to us—and just under a 1 hour 30 minute drive from La Casa too.

skiing
Organising a group ski vacation? The La Casa Mirador Guest House can sleep up to 26 people and is perfect for large groups of family or friends. Spend some quality time together this winter (and discover a ski resort, or two).

May20

Wineries & Wine Tours in Kelowna

 

The Okanagan is a region rich in wine, with over 120 wineries and more than 60 grape varieties that grow in the area – let’s have a look at some wineries that are close to us!

Their vineyard is uniquely positioned between Boucherie Ridge and Okanagan Lake and consistently yields high quality estate wines. This cool climate site remains frost free for most of the growing season and is especially well-suited to Riesling and Pinot Noir.

They have wine tastings with chocolate and cheese. One of their most interesting wine tastings is called “Black out blind tasting”, in which you can sample three Stewart Family Reserve label wines in black Riedel glasses so that we can only focus on smell and taste!

They are open from 11am to about 5pm every day for tasting. Their latest wine is called “The Unicorn”. They express the taste of this wine like this; “The acidity tends to dry out the red cherry finish, giving it a bit of an Italian profile, but a big juicy steak will smooth it all out at this stage.”

Mt. Boucherie Estate winery takes its name from the extinct volcano that is the geologic landmark of West Kelowna. They were established in 1968, making them one of the oldest vineyards in both the Okanagan & Similkameen Valleys. Their white label wines are made in a crisp, refreshing style meant for early consumption.

Wine Tours

Tasting wine amongst the beautiful vineyards is truly a special experience. We highly recommend booking a wine tour if you have the time – these tours allow you to see multiple vineyards, and participate in all of the tastings without worrying about the drive home!

One of the most popular tours is “Scenic Sip Sunset Dinner Tour”. You can visit three glistening sun drenched wineries and take in the spectacular mountain views while tasting award winning wines! Then relax and enjoy the heart of wine country with a fresh locally prepared vineyard dinner of your choice.

If you are looking for something a bit different Vines & Views offers a boat cruise on Okanagan Lake and special Helicopter Wine Tour!

With Okanagan Private Driver, you can plan your itinerary and be chauffeured in the comfort of your vehicle at a fraction of the coast. A reliable and friendly OKPD driver will arrive at the pick-up location and provide you with safe driving for the duration of your day.

wine okanagan

Interested in Okanagan wine? Experience the spectacular Lake Okanagan valley in one of our beautiful cottages at La Casa!

 

Written by Natsumi Matsumoto

okanagan wine museum
May13

Okanagan Wine and Orchard Museum

Looking to increase your knowledge of Okanagan wine and fruit? The Okanagan Wine and Orchard Museum is a great place to start!

Okanagan Wine

You can discover how the booming Okanagan wine industry has diversified Okanagan landscape with stories of wine makers, entrepreneurs and local wineries. They have vibrantly painted fruit crates, live bee hives and cherry pitting equipment as well as unique artefacts. Moreover, they have a VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) wine shop which reopened in February of 2016. The dedication and success of both of these world-class industries is amazing!

Okanagan Orchards

In downtown Kelowna, the Laurel Packinghouse was built over 1917-18. Conveyors groaned with colourful fruit, and workers sorted and loaded apples, cherries, apricots, pears, peaches, and plums. Women working the packingline were called “Apple Wrapper Flappers,” and skillfully packed 160 boxes a day. The busiest bees in the orchard industry are still at work. You can see “Bee” mesmerized by the activity in the live demonstration hive. You are able to learn about growing and handling the tree fruits for which the Okanagan is famous at the Okanagan Wine and Orchard Museum in the historic Laurel Packinghouse.

  • Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm

             Sunday to Monday Closed (except when public event running)

  • Admission is by donation. Suggested donation $5 per person/$15 per family

Through The Grapevine Walking Tour

From the Laurel Packinghouse, you’re able to join a walking tour. Put on your walking shoes and get ready for some historical gossip! Enjoy Kelowna’s Cultural District, and historical places on Bernard Avenue. This tour includes a visit to the Laurel Packinghouse and Okanagan Heritage Museum. You will encounter fascinating objects, surprising stories, and new experiences. It will take approximately 90 minutes, walking distance is 1km one way. Admission fee is $5 per person; Minimum charge of 10 people.

wine barrels

Interested in the Okanagan Wine and Orchard Museum? Fancy a trip to Kelowna? Please check out our Guest House and cottages for your best stay in the Okanagan. 

 

Written by Natsumi Matsumoto

Okanagan wine vineyard
May06

Wine in the Okanagan

 

Did you know that the Okanagan valley wine region is the second-largest wine producing area in Canada? If you are planning a visit to the Okanagan, you can’t miss the beautiful vineyards. Boasting 84% of the province’s vineyard acreage, the Okanagan Valley is BC’s premier grapegrowing region. With an ever-changing panorama, the valley stretches over 250 kilometres, across sub-regions, each with distinct soil and climate conditions suited to growing a range of varietals from sun-ripened reds to lively, fresh (and often crisp) whites.

 

The Okanagan Valley wineries are rich in tradition and character, consistently ranking among the world’s best. From this “Wine in the Okanagan Series”, we will introduce you to the region’s wine’s history, types, wine tours, and other activities you can enjoy.

History of wine in Okanagan

 

We can’t discuss wine without talking about its history in the Okanagan. The first Okanagan vineyard was at the Oblate Mission in Kelowna in 1859, planted by French Catholic priest Charles Pandosy. It was solely intended for the production of sacramental wine for the celebration of the Eucharist. It did not produce high-quality wines at first, but following Father Pandosy, a number of small wineries emerged.

In the early 1930s, 70 years after the first vineyard, Kelowna’s Calona Vineyards opened. Calona Vineyards is British Columbia’s oldest continuously operating winery and is worth a visit!  As the twentieth century progressed, Okanagan wineries started experimenting with hybrid grape varieties and eventually vinifera vines, allowing them to produce much better wines.

Wine Signatures

 

Wines produced here are often referred to as Cool Climate Wines. They include Ortega, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Gamay Noir, Kerner, Syrah, Maréchal Foch and Viognier. The most agreed upon statement is that BC is defined by its naturally high acidity wines. The idea is that regardless of the grape variety or style of wine or where the grapes were grown, the unifying factor would always be that natural acidity backbone. The Okanagan wine region has a lot to offer the global wine industry, particularly its many grape varieties and wide range of wine styles. 

Interested in Okanagan wines? Please stay tuned for more about Okanagan wines.

 

okanagan vineyard

Planning an Okanagan vacation? Check out our cottages in Kelowna!

Call  our reservations line on 1-888-226-5566 or email rentals@lacasacottageresort.com to find your perfect cottage.

 

Written by Natsumi Matsumoto

okanagan fruit jam
Apr15

Cooking with Fresh Okanagan Fruit

The Okanagan is renowned for its wine and fruits – so what happens at the end of the season when you have a surplus of all this amazing fresh fruit? You certainly don’t want to let all that deliciousness go to waste! Did you know that there are a number of things you can make with fresh Okanagan fruit?

  • Jam

When you think about berries, and fruit surplus, Jam is probably the first thing most people think to make. All kinds of berries, apples, apricots, peaches, pears, and cherries are used to make the best jams – and what a way to make your breakfast rich in flavor. 

  • Fruit spread

Spreads are similar to jam but have a lower sugar content. So, if you’re looking to curb the sweets this is a great option. Besides, most fruit is naturally quite sweet already!

  • Fruit syrup

Not only a delicious topping for your pancakes and waffles, but also amazing for drizzling over crepes, ice cream or cheesecake. 

  • Fruit jelly candies

If you’re looking to get a bit more adventurous with your cooking try making fruit candies! Made from fruit purees, you can serve these as is or covered with a light berry sugar.

  • Fruit leather snacks

Fruit leather snacks are a great lunch box addition! This delicious treat is all-natural and made from a mixture of fruit purees, with no added sugar.

And here’s a note about Apple Trees..

We all know that apples have a tendency to turn brown but have you ever wondered WHY this happens? 

There are two types of browning in apples: primary (or enzymatic) browning and secondary browning. Secondary browning generally refers to rot.

Primary browning in apples takes place when the fruit’s phenolic compounds react with oxygen. This oxidation process is driven by an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase (PPO). When an apple’s cells are ruptured – by bruising, biting, or cutting – the browning reaction begins when PPO found in one part of the cell is able to react with phenolic compounds found elsewhere in the cell.

Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. (OSF) holds an exclusive worldwide license to technology for regulating expression of polyphenol oxidase (PPO) genes to control enzymatic browning in tree fruits. Using this technology, their expert science team was able to put PPO-regulation into practice in apples. And, while they have initially utilized this technique to develop nonbrowning Arctic® apples, reducing the expression of PPO in other fruits offers the potential for nonbrowning varieties of all kinds!

 

Interested in Okanagan fruit? Summer and early Fall are the best times to visit – and now is the perfect time to book your stay!

Be sure to check out our website to see our great selection of cottages! 

 

Written by Natsumi Matsumoto