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Off the Vine

Food friendly wine
Some of B.C.'s winemakers open up in-house restaurants
The Globe and Mail
Saturday, October 20, 2001

Harry McWatters marvels at the way his 1998 Red Meritage stands up to a hearty roast loin of venison and opens up into its full chocolate and coffee flavours under the soft goat cheese crust. "Creating great wines with food in mind," the proprietor of Sumac Ridge Estate Winery explains to dinner guests gathered at the Grand Okanagan Lakefront Resort in Kelowna during the recent Okanagan Fall Wine Festival. "That is our motto."

To that end, many of B.C.'s winemakers are opening in-house restaurants. A few notables:

Sumac Ridge Estate: McWatters recently bought his winery's cozy indoor Cellar Door Bistro and hired Neil Schroeter, formerly the executive chef for the Delta Whistler Resort, to expand the kitchen and work there full-time.

Gray Monk Vineyard: Proprietors George and Trudy Heiss hired Andrew and Dawn Fradley of Vernon's Eclectic Med' restaurant this summer to fire up an open grill on their casual hilltop patio.

Quail's Gate Winery:It continues to do a booming business on its Old Vines Patio. With its elegant Japanese styling and sweeping view of the lake, the restaurant is a lovely place to feast on wild B.C. salmon with lavender jelly glaze and watch the vines grow.

Summerhill: A certified organic vineyard, it has opened an indoor tapas bar with lily pad tables built right into the gold-fish pond.

There are more openings in the works, including the arrival of celebrity chef Rod Butters, the force behind Tofino's Wickaninnish Inn. He opened Fresco restaurant in Kelowna this summer, substantially increasing the region's gastronomic appeal. Just make sure to leave room for the wine.

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