Oliver's Black Hills Estate Winery is keeping that boutique look, feel and taste despite now being part of the Andrew Peller Ltd. conglomerate.

"We've maintained the Black Hills vibe," said Morna Cassidy, the Andrew Peller brand ambassador for the company's South Okanagan wineries – Black Hills, Red Rooster in Naramata and Tinhorn Creek in Oliver.

"Even now, 75% of Black Hills' wine is sold through the wine club."

Andrew Peller also owns Peller Estates, Sandhill, Wayne Gretzky, Calona and Conviction wineries, all based in Kelowna, and Gray Monk in Lake Country, as well as an extensive portfolio in Ontario.

A big part of Black Hills' boutique success is winemaker Ross Wise, who continues to make wines in limited quantities that attract a cult following.

The most famous is Black Hills' flagship Bordeaux-style red blend Nota Bene.

But there's much more to the winery than Nota Bene.

For example, Black Hills' Bordeaux-style white blend Alibi 2018 ($25) is 59% Sauvignon Blanc and 41% Semillon.

The combination is a textured drink of gooseberry, lime and pineapple, thanks to the Sauv Blanc, and toast and spice, thanks to the Semillon that spent a little time in oak puncheons (large barrels).

Black Hills' 2018 Rose ($25) is an excellent reason to continue drinking pink through the fall and winter.

It's a Rose with character, adding savoury herbal notes and vanilla creaminess to the typical pretty and pale watermelon-strawberry-peach profile.

One nod to corporate compliance is the delicately curved and clear bottle that the Rose comes in is the same as the Sandhill Rose, another Peller property.

My wife, Kerry, and I absolutely loved the Black Hills 2017 Viognier, going as far as to declare it our favourite white wine last year.

Therefore, the 2018 Viognier ($25) was eagerly anticipated.

It lives up the the hype with exotic aromas and flavours of nectarine, peach, candied lemon peel and warm spices.

Raspberry, cherry, pepper and dark chocolate are all there in the 2017 Syrah ($40).

Drink it now with steak, stew or pasta in tomato sauce, or save it for up to eight years to see how it evolves.

Not many Okanagan wineries make wine from the Spanish-native grape Tempranillo.

Black Hills does and the resulting 2017 Tempranillo ($50) is a full-bodied beauty of black currant, blueberry, pepper and black licorice.

This is another wine to pair with hearty fare, drink now or cellar for later.


I had trouble spelling Uruguay and finding it on a map.

But I did not have trouble drinking my first wine from the little South American country.

By the way, Uruguay is on the east of the continent, nestled along the coastline where Brazil meets Argentina.

The 2018 Albarino Reserva ($26.50) from Bodega Garzon is an intense expression of peach, lemon and minerality.

It makes sense the Spanish-native grape Albarino makes great wine in Uruguay because the country was first colonized by Spaniards keen to establish a wine industry.

Bodega Garzon was named 2018 New World Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Limited amounts of Bodega Garzon wines are imported by Renaissance Wine Merchants for sale in Canada.

In the Okanagan, Bodega Garzon wines can be found only at private liquor stores, including Cask & Barrel in West Kelowna.


Penticton has become quite the beer city.

As such, the seven craft breweries in the community have launched Penticton Beer Week, which runs today through Oct. 26.

The week starts tonight by tying into the 10th annual Penticton Oktoberfest at Lakeside Resort.

There will be German-inspired food and music and you're encourage to come costumed in lederhosen (leather breeches) or dirndl (German peasant dress).

Tickets are $37.50 ahead of time online at PentictonLakesideResort.com or $42.50 at the door.

Sunday the Neighbourhood Brewing industry kick-off at The Nest & Nectar.

Tuesday, Highway 97 Brewing takes over The Barking Parrot Pub at Lakeside Resort.

The Brewers' Showdown will be at Cannery Brewing on Wednesday.

On Thursday, there's a beer-paired dinner at Brodo and a Work Boots, Beer and Bacon event at Barley Mill Brew Pub.

Bustin' the Barrel at Slackwater Brewing happens on Friday.

And the week wraps up with Laughs and Drafts hosted by Tin Whistle Brewing at Craft Corner Kitchen.

Get more event and ticket information on Penticton Beer Week's Facebook or Instagram pages.

All seven of the participating craft breweries collaborated on a beer called Community Common to mark Penticton Beer Week.

The easy-drinking sessionable brew is now for sale at breweries and liquor stores and partial proceeds will go to the Penticton & Area Cycling Association to develop and enhance trails.

Travel booking website Expedia.ca named Penticton one of Canada's best beer towns two years in a row.


Steve MacNaull is a reporter with The Okanagan Weekend. Reach him at steve.macnaull@ok.bc.ca. Also listen to Steve's Okanagan Wine & Dine show exclusively on digital radio station OkanaganValleyRadio.com every Saturday at 11:15 a.m. If you miss it then, it's always in the podcast vault.