Thanksgiving in the Okanagan

For Thanksgiving, we braved the longest drive with the twins yet and made our way to my parents vineyard in the community of Kaleden in the Okanagan valley in British Columbia. What is normally an eight hour drive became a nine hour drive with the twins but all things considered it went remarkably well with only two feeding breaks and minimal crying and the fall foliage made for a very scenic drive through the Rockies and then the valley.

Click on images to enlarge.

The view from mom and dad's deck, thanksgiving 2017
The view from mom and dad’s deck, thanksgiving 2017

Our first day there was spent celebrating Janet’s 33rd birthday but that’s covered in another post.

As always, thanksgiving was a welcome opportunity to connect with family and enjoy lots of excellent food and wine. This year my cousin Russel who couldn’t make it sent a taste of some wild turkey that he shot in Nelson to share with us and it was excellent. If I hadn’t been told that it was a wild turkey, I never would have guessed.

Grandma with Eileen and Ewan
Grandma with Eileen and Ewan
Madeline with her cousins Ewan & Eileen
Madeline with her cousins Ewan & Eileen
Nancy, Renee, Eric, Vicky, Bowen, Loren, Kyle, Ewan, Madeline, Janet, Eileen, Ken
Nancy, Renee, Eric, Vicky, Bowen, Loren, Kyle, Ewan, Madeline, Janet, Eileen, Ken & Lucy

Thanksgiving is also right around harvest time for grapes so everyone grabbed a pair of shears and got picking.

Janet & Madeline in the Vineyard
Janet & Madeline in the Vineyard (very serious business)
The Picking Crew
The Picking Crew
Dad and I Pressing Grapes with the Twins
Dad and I Pressing Gewurztraminer Grapes with the Twins
Dad and I Crushing Grapes
Dad and I Crushing Merlot Grapes
My Trusty Assistant Stirring 220L of Gewurtz
My Trusty Assistant Stirring 220L of Gewurtz

I decided to try something different and started a small batch of rosé from dad’s Merlot grapes in addition to a big batch of standard Merlot, and a big batch of Gewurztraminer.

On a whim, my brother Loren decided that he would also try his hand at making a batch of wine this year and started a big batch of Merlot. Over the course of 4 days we picked well over 1000 lbs of grapes and started 4 batches of wine coming in at approximately 570L between us (not including the wine dad already had under way). The smell in my parents house, and in the back of my truck on the way home was amazing.

Fermenting Rosé
Fermenting Rosé

Janet, dad, the twins and I also took a trip out to Keremeos to buy some produce, in particular tomatoes so that we could can a big batch of tomatoes for use throughout the winter, and red russian garlic because that stuff is amazing and strangely hard to find.

Keremeos Produce
Keremeos Produce

Finally, on our last day in Kaleden I was able to squeeze in a bike ride with my friend Andrew on Campbell Mountain just outside of Penticton, my first ride since separating my shoulder in the spring!

It was no small feat packing all that wine into the back of the truck in addition to everything else that we came with (and were sent home with), but somehow we managed.

Wine in the Truck
Wine in the Truck (The garbage pail is full of crushed Merlot grapes)

We only just got home last night and we are already looking forward to next year!

Bonus wine shop spider
Bonus wine shop spider

Author: Kyle Maclean

IT Guy during the week, hunter, mountain biker, and snowboarder on the weekends. I was born and raised in Calgary and attended the U of C where I completed a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science. Shortly after graduating I got a job with Calgary Alternative Support Services as a Systems Analyst and I've been there ever since.

4 thoughts on “Thanksgiving in the Okanagan”

  1. Sounds like a great time was had by all 🙂 So how long before the wine is ready to taste LOL… can’t wait!

    1. Well we have to do quality control at every step of the way so we will need to taste samples a few times over the next three months then more tasting 3 months from then, then probably more tasting and bottling 3 months after that. So around 9 months to bottle and then the merlot likely won’t be at it’s best until 2 years or more after bottling. The gewurtz and rosé should be ready to drink by next July. Just in time for fishing season perhaps…

  2. Thanks for the WONDERUL pictures and commentary. I went to see Oma today and showed them to her – of course she loved loved loved them!! Keep them coming!
    Love Auntie Heather xoxo

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