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Okanagan ‘Wine TREKing Rally’ 2006

Wine TREKking the Okanagan

Sept. 27-Oct. 8, 2006

Those in attendance were:

Dean & Donna Weibel, Cherry & Don Haas, Ron & Ginny Rawson, Stan & Barbara Shackell, Ken & Judy Schindler, John & Lisa Nicholson, Gary & Sharon Brunner, Wayne Vandergriff & Janna Caughron, Bob & Barb Brown, Penny Braden & Ben Paschall, Bob & Peggy Beers, Lou & Eileen Eddy, Jim & Diana Greer, Dennis & Barbie Clayton (guests of the Greers)

Our rolling wine rally started off with 13 of us converging on our first stop at Osoyoos.  Ron had picked a great spot, right on the lake with waterfront sites all in a row.  Ben & I got there Tuesday afternoon, while Barb & Bob Brown explored Leavenworth and the Rawsons connected with some hereto unmet relatives in Okanagon, WA for what sounded like a rip-snorting party.  As Wednesday wore on, we collected more of our group, renewed friendships, acquired new members, met non-Trek guests and had an impromptu happy hour – as we always seem to do.  The RV park was on Indian land, with newly constructed luxury condos, spa, winery, and Indian cultural center within walking distance up the hill.  Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday was spent biking, kayaking and winery touring & tasting, with those with cars offering rides to those without.  Friday night, we all gathered at Smitty’s restaurant for a good group dinner.

Saturday AM, we Trekkies all headed to Oliver, while our non-Trek guests, Dennis & Barbie Clayton, peeled off to go to Banf.  In Oliver, we were again at an RV park on another lake, where Cherry & Don Haas and Gary & Sharon Brunner introduced us to bocce ball, with what I suspect was their version of Calvin & Hobbes rules!  Lots of fun.  We explored on our own on Friday, and Saturday most of us attended the community wine festival – a grand all-day affair, complete with a marching Portuguese band, food booths, crafts & products booths, more than 30 wineries offering tastes, and entertainment by the Nylons, Geoff Gibbons and a grape-stomping contest.

Monday Jim & Diana Greer left us and the rest of us moved to Pentiction, where John & Lisa Nicholson joined us.  Half of us got a van ride to the Lost Moose Lodge – the highest spot around – for dinner Monday night, while the rest went on Thursday night.  Stan & Barb Shackell had to leave us at this point, so “then we were 11.”  (This is beginning to sound like “10 Little Indians”!)  More bocce ball, interspersed with more wine and bike rides.  We had a guided bus wine tour and lunch on Tuesday.  Wednesday evening we had a blind wine tasting contest & potluck dinner hors d’oeuvre.  Each coach brought a bottle of uncorked wine in a brown paper bag, which we numbered from 1 to 11.  Everyone was given 2 stickers to vote for whatever wine or wines they liked, with the bottle receiving the most votes winning the prize of a great book on hiking the hot springs of the Pacific northwest.  Our prize winner, with 8 votes, was a Chilean red wine brought by our newest members – Janna Caughron & Wayne Vandergriff from Truckee, CA.  They also contributed a second entry – which was square-shaped & not a bottle!  At the end of a fun evening, Janna & Wayne announced they were having so much fun with their new friends that they wanted to share a newly baked batch of warm brownies and a bottle of late harvest Riesling with us!

The blind wines, in order of popular choice, were bottle:

#8 (Janna & Wayne) Tabali Reserva Merlot 2003 – Chili (8 votes) #2 (Eddy) Jackson Triggs Merlot – BC (7) #5 (Weibel) Naked Grape Sirah – BC (7) #7 (Schindler) Charles Shaw Chardonnay 2005 – CA (5) #1 (Penny) St. Laslo Pinot Auxerrois – BC (4) #9 (Brown) Okanagon Vineyards Select White 2003 – BC (2) #6 (Wayne & Janna) Sawmill Creek Merlot – box (2) #11 (Nicholson) Stonehill Proprietor’s Blend 2003 – BC (1) #3 (Beers) Bob’s Barrell Room Reserve Shiraz – homemade (1) #10 (Rawson) Penfold’s Rawson Retreat Merlot – Australia (0) #4 La Finca Chamiza Merlot-Malbec – Argentina (0)

Friday morning, Bob & Barb Brown and Ben & I had to leave the group – the Browns to visit some friends in Kennewick and us to join our yacht club for yet another 3 days of wineries from Richland to Yakima!

All in all, an immensely enjoyable and exciting rally put on by Ron & Ginny Rawson – thank you!

Submitted by: Penny Braden