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!
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
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
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.