Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sunshine and Wine in Kelowna

I have visited Kelowna, British Columbia on several occasions, but they were always very brief visits. I spent four days there this October and was pleasantly surprised to discover that there is more to Kelowna than simply a strip mall highway running through town. The IABC conference was held at Manteo Resort so we were right on the waterfront and walked back and forth to sessions along the dock.

There was a very pleasant shopping area on Pandosy Street called the Mission District. I particularly enjoyed my breakfast at the Marmalade Cat Cafe. The Art of Yarn has a wide selection of wool, and there are several excellent restaurants.

I had an excellent supper at Waterfront Wines. The wine menu is 10 times as long as the food menu, but both are excellent (they’re happy to provide a vegetarian meal even though none are listed on the menu). I also enjoyed an Indian dinner at Chutney’s.

I went on a half-day winery tour with Distinctly Kelowna Tours (the two women owners are delightful - I’d certainly take another of their tours). I visited Quail’s Gate Estate Winery, Rollingdale Winery and Mission Hill Winery on the westbank bench. Quail’s Gate has a wonderful view down the hillside to the lake. Mission Hill is very impressive with its Italianate bell tower and wine cellar carved out of the mountain. But my favourite was Rollingdale Winery, a very small organic winery owned by Steve Dale. No fancy buildings (he expanded to a Quonset hut this year), but excellent wines. Steve served the wine samples himself and was generous, informative and fun – four ice wines and at least four other wines.

I was sorry I didn’t have time to visit the Art Gallery or museums and stores in Kelowna’s downtown area. I may well go back again as it was a very attractive setting for a relaxing holiday.