Tag Archives: okanagan wine country

Weaving Our Way Home

I am home now. After two-weeks away, we drove back over the weekend, stopping along the way in the Okanagon wine-country for some tastings and relaxation.

My heart is full.

The time with my daughter and her family, including newborn Ivy, was pure love.

My heart is heavy.

We are back on this side of the Rockies.

In wine country, C.C. and I rented a delightful Air BnB for three nights. We visited Bench 1775 Winery where we married five years ago, as well as a couple of other favourites and a new one too.

Wine tasting at Nichol Vineyard

It was a beautiful, relaxing respite.

It was also the shortened version of the trip we’d planned for our anniversary in April that was side-lined by Covid.

Covid changes are visible everywhere in wine country. There are limits on the number of people allowed in the tasting rooms at a time. Screens in front of the servers and social distance circles on the floor. Our favourite bistro at Liquidity is closed – though you do get a gift of a wonderful bag of fresh veggies from their garden when you purchase wine.

And yet, despite of and because of the changes, there is a beautiful, relaxed, slowed down pace to it all.

On Sunday, the last winery we visited was a new one for us, Nighthawk Vineyards. Daniel and Christy, the owners, were on hand to pour and share their stories of life as ‘farmers’ as Daniel calls it.

As we sipped and asked questions and Daniel shared his love of wine-making and farming, which he discovered 9 years ago when they purchased the property, we felt the warmth of the late afternoon on our skin and savoured the view of the small lake at the edge of their property tucked between the hills that surround their property.

It was an enthralling and inspiring sojourn.

Their two adult sons also work with them, creating a beautiful story full of the mystique and mystery of viticulture soaked in their love of family and their desire to create wines and experiences that reflect their deep commitment to the earth and environment and exceptional customer service.

The reflecting pool at Liquidity

Sitting in the late afternoon sun, savouring their delicious offerings, breathing deeply of the bouquets of the wine dancing on our taste buds and the gentle late afternoon breeze caressing our faces, I felt my body relax into itself as I said a little prayer of gratitude afor Love and life and people who create with such passion and integrity and share their gifts so graciously.

And when we were done, We drove back down the mountainside towards our little cottage, our hearts full of this time together.

The view from Bench 1775 – where we got married

When C.C. surprised me with his plan for our trip home, I whined. I wanted to get home. To be in-place again. I was tired, and not all that happy about stopping off.

I’m so glad he was patient and persistent and wise enough to know, I was tired enough to not know what I truly needed. The respite in wine country was perfect!

Home again, today I unpack, take a long walk with Beaumont and settle into being in-place.

While in wine country, I spent the mornings at our cottage, sitting on the deck painting and creating in my art journal. As with all the pages in this series, one of my mother’s prayer cards is collaged into the background – a now invisible thread weaving her prayers for everyone.

The text woven into the painting reads:

“We are the memory keepers. The weavers of threads of beauty and mystery and wonder into the warp and weft of life.

We are the story-tellers. The speakers of truth shimmering with grace and love into the tapestry of life unfolding as we journey through time and space.

We are the story-creators. The women gathered at the well throughout the ages. The women dancing around the fire, tending to the vestal flames of life on earth. Bearing life. Gestating. Birthing. Communing. Divining. Weaving.”

Namaste

PS. I am back home but not back regularly to these pages. I am relaxing over the summer, divining my schedule, and giving myself space to create so will be posting irregularly. I hope you visit and leave a comment. It is always such a gift to hear your voices and ‘see’ you here.

Love in my heart and a pocket full of possibilities.

The journey started with a mishap.

Construction on my daughter’s condo building. The car parked a little too close. Speckling splattered all over the hood and roof.

When I’d pulled into the 20 minute spot beside the building, the foreman had asked me to back up a bit so I wouldn’t get hit from the work of fixing the brickwork above where I was parked. “I’ll guide you back,” he said and when I was far enough away he motioned me to stop. “You’ll be fine there,” he added confidently.

Carefree, I walked into the building to help my daughter with her suitcase.

It wasn’t until we were blocks away that I connected the beige drops on the windshield with the fact there were beige splatters all over the hood in front of me.

Panic!

Alexis calmly pulled out her phone, found a car wash not too far away where I could wash it off myself.

Relief.

It all washed off.

Whew!

A quick visit to my mother for a loving good-bye and  only 45 minutes later than anticipated, we were off to wine country.

The drive was nowhere near as eventful as its beginning.

Warm temps. Dry roads. No snow. No rain. No weather to mention other than glorious sun glistening on the snow-tipped mountains and then shimmering on the calm surface of the lakes we drove along. Three Valley. Shuswap. Okanagan.

Natalie, our amazing host and wedding planner met us at Therapy Vineyards and Guesthouse. Her welcome smile and hug, her eagerness to show us around the house, ensure we got settled in before heading home, embraced us in loving kindness.

Natalie is my wedding angel. No matter the request, the need, the idea, she has gracefully opened doors, created possibilities and found the right ‘thing’, no matter what we needed or how outlandish my request. In one of my emails to her I’d told her she was making planning the wedding ‘almost carefree’.

I want your day to be carefree, she wrote back.

And she has. Made it so.

Last night, we chatted about where to go for dinner and she suggested ordering in pizza. I have your case of Fizzio in the car, she said. I can put a bottle in the freezer and it will be cold in no time.

The deal was done. Alexis and I ordered in about the most delicious gluten free pizza either of us has ever tasted. We sat on the deck, sipped Therapy’s amazing Fizzio and watched the sun go down behind the hills across the lake.

It was divine.

We chatted and reminisced and talked about life and love and all things related. We laughed and savoured the moment of being together, connected in the love that has always kept us strong, no matter the weather. We watched the stars poke through night’s blanket. A satellite blinking high above. A plane and then, a shooting star.

“Make a wish!” I cried and she smiled and said softly. “I did. It already came true.”

Her fiance has not been well. A two week stay in hospital and a medical concern yesterday left both of us worrying about his well-being. A phone call earlier in the evening had reassured her. He is okay. Better still. He will be joining us on Friday for the wedding.

Relief.

Sigh.

Bliss.

All is well with our world.

All is well.

And so the journey continues. Day follows night, The promise of a rainy day today not yet materialized and the possibility of it never happening very real. Soft billowy pink and blue and white clouds skim the edge of the distant hilltops. Straight above, the sky is pale blue and clear. Gusts of wind buffet the trees. A bird swoops. A covey of sparrows flit by the window.

All is well.

The forecast for the next few days is sunny with a slight possibility of showers.

All is well.

Nothing can rain on my parade. I’ve got love in my heart and a pocket full of possibilities.

All is well.

 

Wine Therapy at Therapy Vineyards!

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It is a good omen, I said to C.C. as we drove west through the Rockies into a beautiful rainbow of iridescent colours spanning the valley through which we were driving. On either side the peaks soared into the sky, their craggy summits shrouded in misty clouds, while all around us, fir trees marched up the slopes, a silent army of towering pines protecting our path through the Rockies.

Seven hours after leaving Calgary, we arrived at our destination, the delightful, quixotic and aptly named, Therapy Vineyards and Guest House. Perched on the eastern slopes above Lake Okanagan on the Naramatta Bench, the vineyards are one of 24 wineries that span the 23 kilometre long stretch of land that stretches out along the escarpment above the village of Naramatta.

This is Wine Crush weekend at the winery, which is all part of the fall wine fest happening throughout the southern Okanagan wine region. Once, the wines of British Columbia were considered laughable, a hobby that would never grow into anything worthy of the wine lists of finer dining establishments and collector’s cellars. Now, the wine lovingly crafted from the sandy soils and dry climes of the region are world renowned. Gold Medal winners again and again with some of the harshest critics across the globe, there is a wine for every palate and every plate. And, unlike other regions which may be able to boast great wines and views of vast expanses of hillsides and valleys stretching out for miles, this region also has stunning views of the sparkling waters of lakes that flow into the distant horizon tucked safely into the protective embrace of the soaring peaks of the Okanagan.

On the deck at Therapy Vineyards
On the deck at Therapy Vineyards

When we arrived at Therapy, we were just in time to join our host, wine aficionada and passionate raconteur of all things wine related, Renee, one of the proprietors of the vineyard, for a wine tasting. The sun was warm, the wines mellow and the company cheerful and upbeat. While we had missed the scheduled wine tour that is part of the Therapy Wine Crush Weekend, we were greeted warmly by the other 12 guests staying at the winery who had spent the afternoon traipsing through the hilly vineyards, tasting the grapes on the vine and learning all about the wine-making process. Later, we enjoyed an amazing 4 course meal in the Guest House dining room with Chef Casey and his delightful partner and guest house manager, Natalie. We laughed and chatted with our fellow travellers, and of course, had ample samples of the delicious wines crafted right here in Therapy’s cellars. And yes, it was great Therapy!

And the therapy didn’t stop there. After a delightful breakfast, C.C. and I set out to find the perfect spot for our wedding next April, only to discover, the options abound.

Vines and View at Noble Ridge
Vines and View at Noble Ridge

From the elegant restaurant at Bonitas Winery, sprawled out on the western shore of the lake, to Tinhorn Creek’s vast expanse of vineyards and classy Miradori Restaurant, the Southern Okanagan Valley is delivering up lots of choices! While neither Bonitas or Tinhorn are our first picks, we know we’ll find the perfect spot — one of them, Noble Ridge, is owned by a couple from Calgary whose daughter went to pre-school with my youngest. We laughed when we met and shared the ubiquitous, “I know you!” only to realize it was 20+ years ago that we met when our daughters played together in the sandbox. How times change! From sandbox to the vineyard is a lot of grape underfoot!  And yes, I know. A really bad pun.

But staying here at Therapy, I’ve discovered there are no limits to bad wine jokes! From, “What a grape view,” as you stand surveying the vista, to “Grape to meet you!”, wine references and puns are everywhere.

The view from Liquidity
The view from Liquidity

And today, we’re off again to explore and learn more and to meet more passionate folk of the Okanagan wine country.

What could be better than a day spent in the sun, exploring the sights and wines of some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet?

Drop into the sites we visited yesterday and see for yourself — truly a paradise valley! I’ve listed them below.

Therapy Vineyards and Guesthouse

Bonitas Winery

Blue Mountain

Church & State  (Coyote Bowl)

Tinhorn Creek

Liquidity Winery & Bistro

Noble Ridge