Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wine Tour, Take I

Sorry it's been so dull around here lately. A two-week vacation always seems to take longer than two weeks... Between the packing, traveling, packing again, traveling again, unpacking, and clean up, the days just seem to disappear. But the Baart family is finally settled at home and life is more or less normal. If you can call my Big Boy going off to preschool next week "normal." (Brief pause to wipe slobbery, pathetic mommy tear.) Any-hoo, you don't give a rip about the trivialities of my life, so I'll stop babbling and get to the good stuff.

Where to begin...? Though our two weeks in BC were filled with family, friends, and a beautiful wedding, we did manage to squeeze a three day trip in to the Okanagan. This region is about a four hour drive east of Vancouver, through some of the most beautiful mountain country you'll ever see. As you near Canada's only desert, the topography undergoes some dramatic changes: it seems like one moment you're driving through a coastal rainforest, and the next you can imagine the hiss of rattlesnakes just over the sandy ridge. It's breathtaking.

Why the Okanagan? Well, partly because it's our favorite vacation destination, but mostly because my next book, All the Places Between, is primarily set there. The backdrop for the book is a small, family owned estate and vineyard called Thompson Hills. Though the book deals with suicide, mental illness, relationships, and revenge, wine plays an integral part in the storytelling. And I just had to do some research.

Over the course of three days we visited several vineyards, including the world-renowned Mission Hills and the lesser known Tinhorn Creek. Mission Hills crafts some of my favorite wines, and it was absolutely inspiring to spend time touring their grounds and visiting their spectacular cellar. As for Tinhorn Creek, it deserves the distinction of being the very first winery I ever visited (and the place I began to really fall in love with wine). I toured Tinhorn for the first time over six years ago and was enchanted by the picturesque winery. My memories of Tinhorn served me well as I was writing All the Places Between.

Anyway, I don't feel like I'm doing a very good job of articulating myself. I'm still tired, and a little off from traveling, so for now I'll just leave you with some pictures. Enjoy.

A lovely little bunch of Cabernet Franc graps at Tinhorn Creek.

The remains of salmon with red pepper remoulade and a blackberry and goat cheese salad. We had a flight of white wines to complement the meal, starting with a soft, buttery Chardonnay and ending with a Pinot Gris.

Here we are in front of Tinhorn Creek. The tasting room overlooks the show vineyards and the valley below. It's so gorgeous.

I just loved the look of the vines...


  1. Thanks for sharing the pictures. It sounds like you had a great time!

  2. We did have a great time! I'll post more pictures when I get the chance. Thanks for stopping by. :)