Like the product it produces the local wine industry is coming of age after years of maturing and vintages that, in some cases, have made wine aficionados drool.
With two of the better known local wineries celebrating milestone anniversaries this year—CedarCreek turns 25 and Grey Monk 30—and the success of the seasonal wine festivals in the Valley, Okanagan wines are attracting attention like never before.
Each year, local wineries rack up awards and medals from wine competitions around the world, a testament not only to the quality of grapes grown here but to the wine-making abilities of the men and women who craft the product.
In the late 1990s, a chardonnay created by Mission Hill Family Estate winery stunned the world by winning a prestigious competition in France and being named the “best chardonnay in world.”
Since then, the local industry has not looked back.
And the number of wineries in the valley have risen steadily.
A trip to any of the events during this week’s Okanagan Spring Wine Festival will give an indication of the growth of the industry here, and the quality.
Okanagan wine may be from the “new world” when it comes to wine-making but it has proven time and time again that it can hold its own with wine produced elsewhere.
And that is only likely to continue.
When the wine pioneers of this area started the first wineries here all those years ago, they could only dream of this day.
Now the word quality and Okanagan wine are synonymous, with example after example available to anyone entering a liquor store, beer and wine shop or one of the many wineries that offer tours.
The Okanagan wine industry has come a long way and deserves the credit it is now getting.
That is definitely something worth toasting.