My eye was drawn to a winery that shares my name, Beaumont Family Estates and felt that I just had to go visit it! The winery is owned by a couple from Beaumont, Edmonton and it is certified 100% organic. The wines are made by their daughter who is still only 23 but has been making wine for 8 vintages now. They have a wide selection and I was particularly impressed with their Gamay Noir rosé and the Pinot Gris. Rosé is popular in the area and this one is dry with a hint of residual sweetness but it is floral and refreshing. Production is small and the wines are only available in British Columbia but they were well made and of pretty decent quality. Prices are also good and it is worth a trip if you are in the area. They also have musicians play in the tasting room on occasions.
I was also fascinated by the St. Hubertus winery, a little south of the town. This is owned by two Swiss brothers, Andy and Leo Gebert who started growing grapes there in the mid 80s and then making wine in 1992. They have an interesting portfolio including a sparkling wine and a white made with the Chasselas grape that I have never seen outside of Swtizerland where it forms the basis of the white wine production of the cantons of Vaud and Valais on the steep slopes above Lake Geneva. I would say that the St Hubertus version is perhaps better than the original Swiss, in that it has more body and fruit. It is the classic fondue wine and also makes a dry, refreshing aperitif. Given the location of the winery and the similarities to Switzerland, I can see why the Gebert brothers came here.
There was a huge forest fire here in 2003 that destroyed over 200 homes and many acres of vines as well as the St. Hubertus winery. It has since been completely rebuilt and is a beautiful structure amongst extraordinarily beautiful scenery.
We enjoyed a Gray Monk Riesling with dinner in Penticton at a restaurant overlooking the lake and our day was complete. I am so excite about this region and feel I need to come back and spend a whole week just exploring the wineries. This was my own Okanagan aperitif!