The day after the Sloan concert at Tinhorn Creek, we decided to spend the day in Osoyoos, the BC resort town closest to the US border. Osooyoos is also set in Canada’s only desert, an extension of the Sonora Desert that stretches all the way to Mexico. Not only does Osoyoos feel like a desert – with warm, dry air and an ever-present chance of lightning – it has southwest adobe architecture everywhere. Makes you wonder where to tie up your horse.
After checking out of the adorably retro and incredibly cheap Boundary Motel, where we met the winner of Best Puppy in the dog show at Nk’Mp, we headed downtown for breakfast. JoJo’s Cafe provided delicious plates of Eggs Benedict- one choice from a very short menu – and good strong coffee. Fortified by noon, we decided to split up. Macy headed for the beach on Lake Osooyoos, and Bill and I donned roller blades for a speedy tour of the waterfront.
Osoyoos is derived from the word suius meaning “narrowing of the waters” in the local Okanagan language. It was named for a narrow spit of land that splits Lake Osoyoos, and on this spit is where most of the resorts and hotels are located.
After parking at Cottonwood Park public beach, Bill and I skated along Crowsnest Highway and waved to the US, which we could see from the waterfront. Once over the bridge that connects the town, we sailed along Kingfisher Drive, a neighborhood full of vacation homes, checking out the real estate offerings. Then, back to the beach for a dunk in the water.
It was still too early to head back to Vancouver, so we decided to – what else? – do some wine tasting. Heading east on Crowsnest Hwy, we turned left onto 45th street on our way to Nk’Mip, the area’s anchor winery and the only winery owned by a First Nations tribe, the Osoyoos Band. But a funny thing happened along the way: we found Adega on 45th Estate Winery.
The place rather beaconed us with its mission style and bell tower (with no bell). The inside looks like a California mission complete with cathedral ceiling and distressed wall paint.
Partner Maria Nunes poured us through the list while explaining how her parents bought the 38 acres in 1966 and grew nothing but fruit until 4 years ago. Her husband and brother decided to grow grapes, and then to make the wine themselves – with the help of a consultant. They have 9 acres of grapes planted now, and last year they made 1500 cases. But if they planted the entire property, Maria said, they would reach full production of 10,000 cases.
We tasted and bought the refreshing 2010 Felicidade Viognier for its crisp, clean fruit, as well as the softer, rounder 2011 Viognier.
Tried the Manuel 2011, an un-oaked rosé blend of merlot, cab franc, viognier that is interestingly heavy for a rosé.
The 2010 Syrah was elegant and well balanced, and great with the chocolate Maria offered us. It spent 18 months in French oak having been started at another winery. This facility had only been open since June of 2012.
Alas, Adega was sold out of their 2011 Chardonnay and 2011 Pinot Gris. That gives us a good reason to come back next time.
We got on the road soon after buying fruit at one of the gazillion fruit stands in the Okanagan. It was the perfect end to a weekend of going places we’ve never been before in Oliver and Osoyoos. We’ll be back in October.
For more information about visiting Osoyoos, please check out the official town site.