Wines of the Okanagan
Osoyoos Lake Bench
The southern most vineyards in the Okanagan grow on the Osoyoos Lake Bench. This is one of the narrowest points of the Okanagan Valley-Osoyoos, in fact, is a First Nations word meaning “narrows of the lake”-and one of the hottest temperatures. Osoyoos (pop. 5,200), a Spanish-themed lakeside town next to the US border, averages summertime temperatures that are three to five degrees higher than those in Penticton.*
The dominant grape here is red. Leading varieties are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Canada’s first successful Zinfandel block or section of grapes. Whites are also planted, notably Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. The leading producers that get Osoyoos Lake Bench grapes include Jackson-Triggs, Mission Hill, CedarCreek, Osoyoos Larose, Inniskillin Okanagan and Nk’Mip Cellars.
Vincor International (owners of Jackson -Triggss) have the most extensive vineyards that were planted in 1998 and 1999 on the eastern and northeastern side of Osoyoos Lake, on slopes rising about 60 metres (200 feet) above the valley floor. These have been named Bull Pine, Sun Rock, Bear Cub, McIntyre and Whitetail. The bench on the western flank of the valley is perched slightly higher and has a more complex mix of sand, clay and gravel.
~ Osoyoos Lake Bench ~ The Golden Mile ~ Simillkameen Valley ~ Okanagan Falls ~ Skaha Lake
* John Schreiner - Okanagan WIne Guide
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