I never acquired a taste for beer. Back in my early drinking days (a long long time ago) Baby Duck was the best selling domestic wine in Canada-and was my alcoholic beverage of choice. It was fizzy and sweet and quite affordable for a working gal in her early twenties. As I matured, I quaffed the likes of Hochtaler, and Germany’s Blue Nun or Black Tower-all best sellers back in their day. While I drank mostly white and I enjoyed the likes of Mateus or a “white” Zin, I couldn’t even look at red wine as just the smell of it turned my stomach.
My husband of 28 years never lets me forget that on one of our earlier dates I brought a bottle of Capistro Light to dinner. In our later years with a mortgage to pay and kid’s to raise- it was the affordable U-brew wine that we made and drank for many years. On special occasions we splurged on a bottle or two of affordable Italian table wine from the liquor store.
When we bought our little piece of “dirt” in rural Oliver in 2004 we built a small carriage house as a means to escape life’s realities on long weekends and vacation days. We affectionately called our property ” the Flaming Squirrel Ranch.” We would relax and enjoy the sun by day and head out to the wineries at happy hour. As we sipped and savored the local offerings, we also soaked up the expert knowledge from the staff. Fast forward to 2011 and we found ourselves retired and living in our brand new house in the Wine Capital of Canada. The carriage house became the “Flaming Squirrel Guest House” and the company started coming! I worked part time-as a tasting room associate at a local winery where I was educated about the different grape varietals, the viticulture, the terroir- and I started to drink red wine. Varietals of Chardonnay, Pino Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Pino Blanc, Viognier, Riesling and Gewurztraminer are just some of the vibrant juicy aromatic grapes planted in the South Okanagan. The Rose’s are crisp & fruity and so thirst quenching and oooh those reds. With Pino Noir, Pinotage, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Tempranello, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel and more growing in the Okanagan valley along with various blends and Meritage combinations, you would be hard pressed to NOT find something to please your palate. Sitting on our sun drenched deck, surrounded by friends & sipping a refreshing chilled beverage ranks at the top of our bucket list.
My husbands time honored mealtime quote has now been expanded to include wine as in: Drink it and like it, drink it and don’t like it or don’t drink it.
There are over 40 wineries in the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association alone, and dozens of other wineries offering up their award winning wines all inside a scenic 15 to 45 minute drive from the Flaming Squirrel Guest House. I will no longer struggle to finish a glass of wine that I am not enjoying- I will save those calories for another day and a different bottle. And I have discovered that a pitcher of Sangria can be a respectful (and delicious) way to dispose of that “not so great” bottle of red that sometimes finds it’s way into my wine rack.
If you have not yet visited the Wine Capital of Canada- what are you waiting for?