The rare, cigar-shaped female black swift bird lays only a single egg every spring.
Similarly, the new West Kelowna winery Black Swift makes only single-vineyard wines.
“That’s our whole theory, our whole philosophy,” said winemaker Jason Parkes. “Just as the black swift lays only a single egg, we will only make single-vineyard wines.”
As such, the grapes that go into each wine come from the same vineyard, accentuating sense of place and quality.
Therefore, Black Swift’s lineup of nine wines are all labelled with the name of the vineyard where the grapes were grown.
At this week’s grand opening of the new winery at 2345 Boucherie Rd. the welcome drink was the lush-and-racy Kurkijan Vineyard 2017 Riesling ($30).
Parkes declared the Hans Estate Vineyard 2016 Syrah ($45) and Hans Estate Vineyard 2015 Cabernet Franc ($63) his favourites and the winery’s signature reds.
There are also another single-vineyard Cab Franc, three Chardonnays, each made with grapes from a different vineyard, and two single-vineyard Pinot Noirs.
In all, the umbrella company that owns Black Swift has many acres and many vineyard sites, mostly along the Boucherie Road corridor.
In keeping with the bird theme, Black Swift was hatched by The Hatch, the winery farther up Boucherie started in 2015 as a incubator for various beverage brands.
The Hatch has its own label and developed the Black Swift and Screaming Frenzy labels over the past few years.
When Black Swift and Screaming Frenzy were ready to leave the nest, they flew to their own winery location, the aforementioned 2345 Boucherie Rd. with a stunning glass-and-concrete building containing the shop and tasting room atop a hill overlooking vineyards and Okanagan Lake.
By the way, a screaming frenzy is a flock of black swifts, perpetuating further the bird motif.
The Screaming Frenzy label has 10 wines made to be more approachable and affordable ranging from whites and rose in the $19-$22 per bottle range to reds priced from $26-$30.
Jason Parkes Customs, funded by a group of Vancouver-based invest-ors, also owns Truck 59 Cider in West Kelowna, and Crown & Thieves Winery, which will open behind the cidery in a couple of months.
It also has in development The Hitching Post craft brewery, which will open on Boucherie Road across from Volcanic Hills Winery, and a separate sparkling wine winery.
Parkes is also winemaker for nearby Indigenous World Winery.
He doesn’t do all this alone.
The group has 40 employees, including three other winemakers, John Ray Fletcher, Brodie Issac and Corey Trogi.
Tasting at Black Swift and space on the picnic lawn are open on a first-come, first-served basis, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
There’s nothing like multiple servings of sparkling wine.
That’s why a visit to Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards in Peachland is a must.
The winery specializes in Champagne-method bubbly and spotlights them with the ‘Watch for Flying Corks’ tasting in the sun-splashed gathering room.
For $15, you sip samples of a rotating flight of three sparkling wines, which means any one of the winery’s six bubbly could end up in your glasses from a trio of reserves, Sparkling Rose, Blanc de Blancs and the signature 2016 Fitz Brut ($33).
When you’re finished your tasting, continue your sparkling indulgence on the Fitz Bistro patio with sweeping views of Okanagan Lake.
The bistro specializes in pizzas from a wood-fired oven and pizza is touted as a perfect match for sparkling wine.
“We’re proving that sparkling wine isn’t just for special occasions, it’s ideal with thin-crust pizza for lunch on a Tuesday,” said president Gordon Fitzpatrick.
When my wife, Kerry, and I dropped by for tastings and lunch on that Tuesday afternoon, we paired the Sparkling Rose with the Big Leap pizza topped with truffle cream and Fontina cheese.
Fitz also makes still wines, which you can sample with a ‘Prepare to Sip’ tasting under an umbrella at the outdoor bar for $7.50.
Both the sparkling and still wine tastings are by appointment only and can be booked at FitzWine.com.
Those who drop in can be accommodated at the indoor tasting bar on a space-available basis.
Reservations are recommended for the bistro.
The winery is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. daily.
Around the world
With just a few glasses of wine, you can take a trip around the world.
Kerry and I always make a point of interspersing our Okanagan wine drinking with some international bottles to ensure we don’t get Valley palate.
Such a formula allows you to compare Okanagan wines to imported wine styles and makes you realize there are fantastic wines from so many countries at so many price points.
Our latest rounds included affordable vintages from Italy, Spain, Argentina, France and South Africa.
From Italy, we reached for the Gemma di Luna trio in the distinctive light-blue bottles, sparkling Prosecco, sparkling Moscato (low alcohol and sweeter) and 2018 Pinot Grigio.
More bubbly was had with the Lobetta Sparkling Brut from Spain.
A pair of refreshing whites from Argentina fit the bill for summer sipping, Zolo Torrontes 2019 and 2019 Argento Pinot Grigio.
The Arabella 2017 Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa is also ideal on the patio or boat.
The French always do wine well and, in some cases, differently.
For different, the Pamplune Rose has added grapefruit and peach juice to create a quaffable and low-alcohol wine-based drink.
The La Petite Perriere 2017 Sauvignon Blanc is traditional French wine with subtle flavours and aromas of gooseberry and lime.
All these wines are imported by Vancouver-based Renaissance Wine Merchants and are for sale at most government and private liquor stores.
Steve MacNaull is an Okanagan wine lover. Email: email@example.com.