British Columbia is one of those places you never guessed would be making dry wines. Even if you considered its close proximity to the state of Washington, it probably still wouldn’t dawn on you that Canada would produce anything other than Ice Wine. Well, surprise – they DO!
Occupying what is essentially the Columbia River watershed in Southeast British Columbia, the Okanagan Valley is about 110 miles long from north to south. It is bisected by the Okanagan River, which finally joins with the Columbia River in northern Washington State. Although the region is the driest in B.C., the valley also contains 6 lakes. It is the ancient home to the Okanagan people, an Interior Salish people who still live in the valley today.
The first non-natives arrived in 1811, and were mostly fur trappers. In 1846, the Oregon Treaty laid out the border between British North America and the United States west of the Rocky Mountains on the 49th parallel. The Okanagan Valley did not see many more outsiders for a decade afterward.
The Fraser Canyon Gold Rush of 1858 eventually encouraged more settlement. In the decades that followed, hundreds of ranchers came to settle on Okanagan Lake. A mining industry began in the southern Okanagan region, and more farmers, as well as a small service industry, came to meet the needs of the miners. Today, fruit production is a hallmark of the Okanagan Valley today.
Like much of Southern British Columbia, the Okanagan has a mild climate, although the Okanagan is considerably drier than many other areas. Areas in the north end of the valley receive more precipitation and cooler temperatures than areas to the south. Vegetation ranges from cactus and sagebrush in the south, to Cedar and Hemlock trees in the North.
Join us as we talk with Rasoul Salehi, General Manager of Le Vieux Pin and La Stella wineries. You’ll learn more about Canada’s second largest wine region – its differences and its similarities, and what its grapes bring to the proverbial wine table.
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Sponsor: Best Wines Online: www.bestwinesonline.com
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