I believe in good hospitality . The manner and attitude in which your staff greets and treats the customer is the main difference between success and failure. I was very pleased to hear about the great hospitality Hillside staff provided to their late and very hungry customers. Here is the letter I received telling me about their experience.
Kelowna to Naramata 4x4 excursion:
As often happens, last April, we found ourselves geocaching in one of Canada's wine regions. During our travels, it's not uncommon to come across geocaches at wineries. Where we live on Vancouver Island, we have successfully assisted nine wineries in the Cowichan Valley use geocaching to bring in a new demographic of clientele. We know geocaching and we love wine - what better recipe for a weekend in Kelowna! Our number of successful geocaching finds is climbing, along with our collection of wine!
On Saturday morning, we decided that we wanted to geocache along the Kettle Valley Railway and the Chute Lake Road, finishing up in Naramata for dinner. Parts of this route are well documented as a 4x4 route from the Old Mission district in Kelowna to north of Naramata. For 11km the Chute Lake Road is shared with the Kettle Valley Railway. What an adventure!
For access, we followed the directions on the Chute Lake Resort Map that we found online. One thing we weren't sure about was the timing; we guessed that it would take about 2 hours, plus some time for geocaching. With a start time of around 3pm, we figured we'd have lots of time to pick and choose a restaurant once we got to the Naramata area. What we hadn't considered was that the road was high elevation - at Chute Lake we were at 4000' and so there was still a lot of snow that had not been visible from the lakeshore. We only met two other vehicles - a Hummer and a very high clearance Jeep. We were in a Toyota Tacoma 4x4... so no slouch either! We bounced along, enjoying the sunshine and the views, slowing quite often to look for a geocache or carefully traverse the many deep slushy puddles. We finally pulled off the 4x4 road onto pavement and it had been almost 5 hours! We were famished!
Once we got cell service we looked up nearby restaurants - the first to answer the phone was Hillside Estate Winery and Bistro, about 15 mins away from our location. It was well after 8pm, but they said they would be open until 9. We made record time to their parking lot, let the dog out to sniff, tied her up on a bench outside and headed quickly into the empty restaurant in our denim and hiking boots. A quick trip to the ladies room and I was wishing I'd brought a hairbrush! The staff were in the process of putting things away, and so we asked for recommendations of what would be easy on the kitchen staff this late in the evening. I don't remember what we ate, but I do recall the staff didn't hurry us and gave us a table-side tasting while our dinner was prepared. We came home with a couple bottles of Viognier to add to our cellar and remind us of our fantastic adventure driving from Kelowna to Naramata on the road less travelled.
Helen and Chris Edley
Owner, Edley Imagineering Inc
DBA Landsharkz.ca; Sharkzcoins and Edley Signs
Note: Hillside Estate winery is located at 1350 Naramata Road of the Naramata Bench. It one of the first wineries established in 1984. The Bistro Voted Top 100 Outdoor Restaurants in Canada in 2015 by Open Table. Executive Chef Brent Pillon leads a talented and committed team. The Bistro features a striking 65 seat dining area, lower outdoor patio and an upper open-air patio with breathtaking views of Okanagan Lake.
Thank you Helen and Chris Edley for telling us your story.