The Okanagan

BC Wines
Aug28

Be sure to check out the expansive local vineyards if you are planning to travel B.C. this summer. Not only are they stunning to behold but they produce delicious B.C. wine of every flavor and variety. Any vacation trip to B.C. would do well with some samples from the local wineries. Many visitors arrange wine tours during their stay. (Ask us if you are staying with us and in need of recommendations!)

In honour of all the great B.C. wineries and orchards, here are just a few of our favorite B.C. wines:

  1. Quail’s Gate Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay | Okanagan Valley, BC

This tropical and balanced wine pairs well with any pork-centric meal. It won a bronze medal in the 2019 San Francisco International Wine Competition, among other notable achievements. This Chardonnay is refreshing, golden, and smooth with a fruity essence.

  1. Painted Rock Estate Red Icon, Bordeaux Blend | Okanagan Valley, BC

A red Bordeaux blend usually has Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc in it. Bold and structured, this wine pairs well with beef and/or venison meals. Red Bordeaux are often compared to fruits like plum and blackcurrant because of their dark colour and rich flavour.

  1. Painted Rock Estate Syrah | Okanagan Valley, BC

Syrah is a dark-skinned red wine grape known for floral flavors in its youth and more peppery flavors as it ages. Because of this, it pairs well with BBQ (think: spareribs and grilled veggies), braised beef, and aged hard cheeses. Fun fact: It’s only called “Shiraz” if it’s from Australia.

  1. Laughing Stock Vineyards ‘Portfolio’ Red, Bordeaux Blend | Okanagan Valley, BC

Laughing Stock Vineyards is located in the beachy city of Penticton, B.C. This red pairs well with heavy, fatty, and spicier steaks and lamb. We’re sensing a theme here. Routinely wins top accolades from wine competitions and wine critics alike: a proven chart-topper.

  1. Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Riesling Icewine | Okanagan Valley, BC

An ultra-sweet icewine with tons of tropical fruit flavours, like citrus and apricot. Don’t worry, citrus-infused acidity keeps it balanced. It will pair perfectly with berry-centric desserts so be sure to stick around for an after-dinner snack.

We hope this guide will help you sample the best B.C. wine. If you in the area visiting and need a cozy vacation rental, be sure to contact us. Our staff would be happy to help you find the right fit.

Travel BC
Aug21

Why travel B.C., you ask? As native British Columbia residents, we at La Casa Cottages have a few answers for you. Has traveling B.C. been on your mind? Thinking about visiting the beaches, parks, and cities? We don’t blame you! Here are just a few of the things that we love about beautiful British Columbia.

  1. B.C. Hiking Trails

From the Okanagan to the Island, B.C. has hiking trails for all ages and skill levels. Take a family-friendly meander through a wooden grove or challenge yourself with a steep uphill climb! If you’re lucky, you might spot some wildlife (from a safe distance, of course).

  1. National Parks

B.C. is home to some of the most gorgeous national parks in all of Canada. You can birdwatch, picnic, or site-see to your heart’s content. Don’t forget to call or email ahead to ensure that they are open to the public during your day/hour of choice. Make a day trip to the nearest one—you won’t regret it!

  1. Budget Travel

B.C. has a perfect blend of flashy cities and small, community-centric towns. That means that no matter what your budget is, you can find somewhere to stay. Also: B.C. has a moderate climate year-round, meaning that you can fill your days with cost-free outdoor activities.

  1. The Beaches

B.C. borders the Pacific Ocean and has many lakes and ponds that are safe for a dip. No matter where you stay, you’ll be able to find a waterside spot to soak up some sun. Okanagan Lake is a must-see if you are vacationing in the Kelowna and Vernon area.

  1. Tourist-Friendly

Not only is B.C. very multicultural but they have a thriving tourism industry. That means everywhere you go you will feel welcomed and taken care of. Our doors are always open to newcomers.

  1. Wine County

B.C. wineries have a long history in the province, where the warm weather allows orchards of all sorts to flourish in the summer and autumn months. Book a wine tour to learn more or ask around for the best local picks.

  1. Farmers’ Markets

Wine grapes aren’t the only produce that grows across B.C. You’ll find plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables available at any local farmers’ market and even many varieties in common grocery stores, too.

Have we convinced you to travel B.C.? Contact us for details on the best B.C. vacation rentals in the Okanagan Valley and on Vancouver Island. We welcome the opportunity to set you up in a modern, personable cottage or abode of your choosing.

As always: travel safe!

Beach Safety Tips
Aug07

One of the best parts of visiting B.C. during the summer is the warm weather and the sandy beaches. Fun must go hand-in-hand with beach safety, though, so here are some waterside tips for families to follow.  

1. Check for Flags & Signs 

Some beaches use flags and signs to denote location-specific warnings, like hazardous areas or dangerous marine life in the area. Any on-duty lifeguard will be able to explain these signs to you in they are unclear. If there is no lifeguard on duty, a quick Google search or a call/visit to a Visitors Information Centre should do the trick.

2. Apply and Reapply Sunscreen 

Obviously, UV rays can damage our very sensitive skin and even lead to melanoma and other permanent damage. Water, sweat, and physical activity can rub or wash away applied sunscreen throughout the day so you can’t just set it and forget it. Reapply any time you come out of the water and/or every 2 hours. You should also put sunscreen on 30 minutes before sun exposure to ensure it’s properly absorbed by the skin beforehand. Also: know the temperature/weather concerns before you set out—the Weather Network app can help.

3. Maintain a Safe Distance From Others

Not only does this stop the spread of infectious diseases but it also prevents accidents and is proper beach etiquette. If you can, maintain a safe 6-foot distance from others. Try visiting the beach during “off hours”, like while locals are at work, or hunting for more spacey spots to sit, even if they are farther from the water.

4. Know Some Swimming Basics

Make sure everyone in your group knows basic swimming and water safety. At the very least, they should be able to dog paddle or hold their breath and float on their back. Swim in pairs (or more) for maximum safety. Younger children should wear floating devices or lifejackets if they are at risk. If you are a weak swimmer, keep an open water float nearby.

5. Keep Near to a Source of Shade 

Whether it’s a tree or a beach umbrella you brought along, a source of shade is important to protect against burns as well as sun sickness/stroke. Be sure you are drinking plenty of water, too, which will also help against the latter. Heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and sun poisoning are always a risk when it’s bright and hot outside.

Keep these beach safety and swimming tips in mind and ask a lifeguard in the area if you need more assistance. No lifeguard? Defer to the strongest swimmer in the family, watch out for one another, and travel (swim) in groups. Swim safe and have fun!

No beach plans yet? Maybe it’s because you haven’t found the right vacation spot yet. Contact us to book one of our cottages or rental properties for your family vacation.

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