The District Wine Village in Oliver is the place to see and be seen.
This holds true for both wineries and wine lovers.
For small wineries that otherwise wouldn’t have a tasting room, it’s an opportunity to be in a central location (right off Highway 97) with a dozen other wineries, each with its own building facing a huge courtyard with patio seating, event and concert space.
For wine lovers, it’s a beautiful setting to taste wines from several wineries and hang out.
“We couldn’t be happier to be at the District Wine Village,” said Michal Mosny, owner and winemaker of Winemaker’s Cut.
“There’s strength in numbers, so it’s good to be amongst other winery tasting rooms in a development that attracts both locals and tourists.”
Winemaker’s Cut’s vineyards and production facility is 18 kilometres away at Deadman Lake between Oliver and Osoyoos.
Mosny had plans for a tasting room there, but COVID came along and derailed everything.
Instead, the winery decided to move forward with a virtual tasting room at WinemakersCut.ca, the first of its kind in Canada, and a tasting room at the District Wine Village.
“This has worked out better,” said Mosny.
“We see more people and sell more wine at the District Wine Village than we would have at our own location (at Deadman Lake).”
As a result, Winemaker’s Cut is sold out of many of its 2020 whites and rose.
However, it still has 2020 Muscat, 2020 Bohemian Riesling, 2020 Gruner Veltliner and 2020 Fidelia Sparkling ($26) available at the District Wine Village for tastings and sales.
Winemaker’s Cut is also about to release its crop of 2020 reds under the Bohemian label — Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Tempranillo.
For November, hours for wineries at the District Wine Village are 11 am to 6 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays.
For Trading Post Brewery and its restaurant, hours are 11 am to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, Fridays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Time at The District
The latest winery to set up shop at the District Wine Village is Time Family of Wines.
Time, which has the Time, Chronos, McWatters and Evolve labels, has a popular winery, tasting room, restaurant and production facility in downtown Penticton.
However, it decided to open a satellite tasting room at the District Wine Village as a way of exposing its wines to a larger audience and increase sales.
“We are excited to be part of the villages’ innovative concept and happy to continue to be part of the Okanagan wine community,” said Time general manager Christa-Lee McWatters.
McWatters also recently took over as the 2021-22 chair of Wine Growers BC, the organization that represents 325 wineries that make wine from 100% BC grapes.
While the group does lobby governments, McWatters said the main purpose of Wine Growers BC is to inspire people to support local and drink more B.C. wines.
It has worked. During the pandemic, B.C. wines grew their market share slightly to 19%, which means one in every five bottles of wine sold in the province is a B.C. wine.
That’s good when you consider the competition is big hitters from California, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and Chile.
Also at The District
The other small, artisan wineries at the District Wine Village are Eau Vivre, Gneiss, JoiRyde, One Faith, Uppercase, Vintners Cove and Valley Commons.
Nk’Mip, which has a well-established winery and tasting room in Osoyoos, has also set up a second location at the village.
There are only two spaces left at the village, one for a winery and one for a distillery.
There’s already talk of a second phase being built to meet the expected future demand.
Penticton-based Greyback Construction, which has built many other wineries and the Bennett Bridge crossing Okanagan Lake, is the developer.
Steve MacNaull is an Okanagan wine lover and Canadian Wine Scholar.