It is no secret to oenophiles that Okanagan wines have consistently represented our beautiful BC on the global stage. It is fitting that wineries that produce the award-winning vintages should also develop into visitable destinations like Mt Boucherie and The Modest Butcher.
Mt. Boucherie Winery is a stunning example of this. The winery reopened just in time for the summer tasting season with a breathtaking new 10M dollar 15,000-square-foot Experience Centre. Even as the pandemic delayed their launch and halted international visitors, GM Jesse Harnden oversaw a quiet opening, which catered to locals first before announcing to the world they were open for business.
The estate winery is nestled at the foot of now-dormant Mount Boucherie volcano, which towers over West Kelowna. The winery sits at the base of this grand hill, with expansive views of the arid mountains on the far side of Okanagan Lake.
The Experience Centre was designed by Vancouver’s Ciccozzi Architecture and is an ultra-modern contrast to some of the rustic alternatives along the Westside Wine Trail—which runs through West Kelowna. The Centre’s airy tasting area opens onto a sun-drenched upper and lower patio where visitors enjoy tastings alongside offerings from their on-site restaurant The Modest Butcher.
Winemaker Jeff Hundermark oversees the production of 25,000 cases of reds, whites, and dessert wines annually. Over 30% of their 200-acres of vineyards have been replanted since 2016, and this is reflected by their production of refined cabernets, pinot noirs, and syrah. Even with these recent developments, the work has not been completed—they aspire to be completely organic and biodynamic in the next ten years.
We were delivered to Mt Boucherie Winery, (like a couple of fancy packages), in a Model X Tesla courtesy of Current Taxi, and immediately ushered to a reserved table on the corner of the expansive patio. We were grateful for the reservation as the dining room was bustling and we were able to bypass the hubbub.
We selected from the Starters & Sharesies and Killer Veggie options a feast of plant-forward dishes. The heavily marinated Cauliflower Fritters with a spicy tamarind glaze and pickled shallots, a crispy Veganator BLT with a grilled country loaf, tempeh bacon, oven-dried tomatoes, and two kinds of mayo – smoky and truffle, and a perfectly al dente Pasta Ai Fun-Guy with a hefty helping of herb-roasted mushrooms, and a tangy lemon tamari almond crumble.
The Risotto That’s Based on Plants was an exciting take on the classic dish using fine herb steeped oat milk broth, nutritional yeast, and kale chimichurri to create a rib-sticking dish that was very satisfying and turns out is Dena’s favourite menu item.
Invigorated and ready to move upstairs for a highly anticipated tasting, we ordered a traditional Bowl of Olives to accompany us to the rooftop. The aroma coming off the warm olives (marinated in fresh herbs, lemon, and chillies) proved hard to resist, and we had a nibble on the stairs!
As we settled in for a private roof-top tasting, our group expanded to include Zoë Harris, Special Event Coordinator and Dena Barabash of Details Design Inc, a fellow vegan and champion of all things Okanagan—especially those that come in stemmed glassware!
As the sun slowly sank, Harris came bearing the Elder Vicar, a co-fermented, skin contact, field blend of muscat, pinot gris, and gewürztraminer that is well-fitted to enjoy in the often-overwhelming Okanagan heat.
The Original Vines 2019 Sèmillon followed. It originates from the Winery’s vineyard overlooking Lake Vasseau near Oliver, BC. This area is much cooler than other grape-growing regions of the Interior, giving the wine a brisk acidity married with ripe fruit – and this was on display with this Sèmillon, which dominated the palate with a citrus crispness and a hint of French oak and fig.
The 2018 Reserve Gewürztraminer was an aromatic off-dry wine, aromatic, floral, and rich. Farmed primarily at South Rock Vineyard along the Golden Mile Bench, with a small portion coming out of the Lazy River Vineyard in South Cawston. These vineyards were planted in 1973 and 1988, respectively.
After this came the red offerings, the 2017 Summit and 2018 Merlot. The Summit was an aroma-filled blend with hints of red fruits and cedar, while the Merlot was a decadent drink of South Okanagan terroir – with a trademark licorice and leather finish.
Finally, to cap off a delicious tasting, a 2017 Merlot Icewine was poured, which made a statement for the range of the winery’s offerings with its intense aromas of cassis, chocolate, and cinnamon.
Farmed at Lazy River Vineyard also. We loved the story of ice wine creation where frozen grapes are harvested in the dead of night at -10 degrees Celsius then immediately pressed to squeeze the rare drops of nectar from each grape.
When planning your next Okanagan getaway, know that scheduling a tasting or dinner with one of their fine reserves at Mt. Boucherie is a must. Their wines draw from the very best of vineyards throughout the valley and paired with the Experience Centre’s new world-class surroundings, will render even the most experienced wine-lover a little weak in the knees.
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine and digital women's lifestyle magazine EcoLuxLifestyle.co. She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at [email protected].
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