It’s May long weekend, and we’re on the water. The lake is full of chop, the winds heavy, and there’s a flurry of activity as the start line nears. “Harden up the sails,” calls Naitaka’s skipper Scott Moore as the boat races to the start line in Kelowna’s first regatta of the season.

Regattas — whether with boats or swim meets — have a long tradition in Kelowna. That tradition is being honoured by a new partnership with the historic Eldorado Hotel and The View Winery.

My trip to the winery in East Kelowna was a lovely exclamation mark to end a fun-filled May long weekend. I wind up the roads past farms full of vegetable patches, greenhouse bursting with plants and orchards with the first fruits setting on the branches. 

I had a lovely flight of flirty pinks with The View Winery president Jennifer Molgat. The parcel of land on the East Kelowna Slopes has been in the Turton/Ward family for five generations. In 2006, the winery and cidery was birthed as the family transformed the beloved old packinghouse built by great-granddad Ward in 1922. 

The 2022 harvest brought new vintages to their portfolio. 

The bouquet of the Hotel Eldorado 2022 Regatta Rosé greets one with scents of strawberry and watermelon, the pull of summertime enticing you to take a sip. The fruit-forward rose delivers all the best a summer wine can ask for, with a bit of residual sugar (7g/l), sweetness mid-palate, nice acidity, and a dry finish. As Jennifer says, “It’s keeping with our other roses: super tart, super fresh, with great mouthfeel.” 

Lovely with summer fare, the wine will pair well with mussels from The Eldorado menu. Jennifer suggests having it in the sun as a patio sipper or pairing it with shellfish, summer salads or her favourite dish, a watermelon salad with some feta balsamic and mint. 

Also available at The El is the Orchard Rosé Cider, sporting a heritage label that honours the more than 100 years the Ward/Turton family has been on the property with artwork that features workhorses that used to work the property. 

Made by a winemaker, this cider saw the same attention to detail and the same attention to quality fruit as The View’s wines. Orchard Rosé is a dry apple cider infused with blackcurrant, plum and a bit of hibiscus. Made from heirloom cider apples, the cider shows intense complexity. Cider apples, with their thick skin, tannins and flavourful flesh, provide the acidity needed for this well-balanced, food-worthy, top-shelf cider. 

However, its shining quality may just be the gorgeous colour of iridescent pink. So bring out the glassware for this beauty. 

We end our pink flight with the Charmat-style 2012 Distraction Frizzante ($24.95). Again the fruit-forward style is showcased and well-balanced with dry acidity. The grapes: Pinotage, Pinto Noir and Riesling. Eldorado oysters would be a great pairing, but as the bubbles burst in my mouth, a thought emerges of ending a summer dinner with lemon meringue pie. Ah, the colours! Oh, the flavours.

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Wine and music lovers can have a taste of both passions this summer at The View by joining their intimate summer concert series. Groups of only 50 will walk out into the middle of the vineyard, settle in the middle of the vines and sip wine as the music begins. The site, with its spectacular view, overlooks the city. Small charcuterie plates will be available for sale. 

Tix are extremely limited at $40. Hot Sax kicks off the series on Friday, July 7, followed by Jeff Piatelli on Friday, July 28 and Poppa Dawg on Friday, August 11.

The tall sails of Naitaka can be seen behind the other racing keelboats at Kelowna’s Blossom Time Regatta on the May long weekend. Named for the Ogopogo, Naitaka means lake demon in Salish.

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