Travel: A Winemaker Walks into a Wine Bar

What an insanely fantastic week I have had full of birthday wishes, glasses of wine and loads of love – a 100% perfect way to start my next year around the sun.

I was up in Penticton for B.C. VQA panel last week and I had such an excellent time that I thought I would share some highlights with you…along with some great suggestions for Rosé!

Tightrope Winery Rosé


On Monday when I first arrived, I went up to Naramata to visit Tightrope Winery and to try their current releases with the always delightful and smiling, Heather. I am such a fan of Lyndsay and Graham O’Rourke’s style and respect for their wines. One of the winners for me was their 2015 Rosé. Mostly Pinot Noir with a dash of Barbera – this wine is fantastic for the patio in the sunshine. I enjoyed the entire lineup, as usual, and will be doing a more detailed profile in upcoming weeks.


After panel on Tuesday, I met up with my friend Erin Korpisto (of Liquidity Wines) to have a walk through the Okanagan College sensory lab where I will be instructing May 2nd and 3rd. I am beyond excited and looking forward to instructing these two courses. After the shop talk, we went to Mile Zero Wine Bar for a ‘white’ tasting flight of three wines. The inside space is über cool as a converted garage and the wines available were some of B.C.’s finest options.

While sitting at the bar, Rob Van Westen, of Van Westen Winery, strolled up and joined us for a glass. Not very often, in Vancouver anyway, does a winemaker walk into a wine bar and sit at the bar. Brilliant. The three of us had a great chat about the state of our B.C. wine industry while we sipped away on our wine. It felt like a Sideways moment.

Mile Zero Wine Bar

Onto dinner, Erin suggested we try a new restaurant in Penticton, Front Street Brasserie. I have recommended this perfect little spot to as many people who will listen to me for French inspired cuisine with local ingredients. I had the Halibut and can honestly say I have never enjoyed it more. Delicious. A great evening with Ms. Korpisto indeed…


After my panel on Wednesday, I headed up to Quails’ Gate for lunch with outstanding winemaker, Nikki Callaway. Nikki and I became fast friends after I interviewed her for the The Alcohol Professor. We found out that our birthdays are one decade apart minus two days so we have celebrated the last two years with a birthday lunch at the always fantastic Old Vines Restaurant. Nikki ordered us a glass of her 2015 Rosé that is destined to sell out soon. Juicy, fruity, crisp and refreshing – this is her best Rosé yet. It never feels like Nikki and I have a long enough time together so we made plans for a Vancouver visit this summer.

Beer Tasting


After lunch and an impromptu PR tour, I headed over to Tantalus Vineyards to taste through the current releases with one of my favourite tasting room people, Ryan. Refined, great quality and well-crafted wines – go say hello when you are up in Kelowna next!

Whew – one of my more social visits to the Okanagan, indeed, but also one of the most enjoyable!

Christine Campbell

Partner (North Vancouver, BC Canada)

Floats like a Montrachet, stings like a Chablis. Christine holds her WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Advanced Level 3 Certificate and French Wine Scholar designation. An avid student, Christine is continuing with the inaugural ‘Master of Champagne’ course through the Wine Scholar Guild. When not studying, Christine writes weekly on her wine blog Girls Go Grape and is a contributing writer for the Alcohol Professor and British Columbia Correspondent for the Wine Tourist Magazine. Christine consults to private groups as a Wine Specialist and consults to industry and private sectors. She also sits on the B.C. VQA assessment panel.

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