9 Tips for Wine Tasting in the Okanagan Heat

I wrote this while having not one, but two fans blowing on me.... hahahaha.  

So It's 6am and you wake up to the breathtaking view of Okanagan lake and it's 20C/68F.  You sip on your coffee from the comfort of your patio and think to yourself, "I am the happiest version of myself, right here, right now...  I can't wait for a day of wine tasting shenanigans!"

Fast forward to 9am it's already 28C/83F and as the day continues the temperature gradually increases until it reaches 38C/101F at around 6pm before it starts to "cool off", which we all know there is nothing cool about how the weather feels up until around 11pm when it's a chilly 27C/81F.  (That's sarcasm btw)

And these examples are temperatures in Penticton, it's even hotter in Oliver and Osoyoos wine country.  

I love wine tasting in the summer, I've done some pretty epic wine tasting days with friends in the middle of August where we would visit up to 6 wineries in one day (we like to call our group TasteCoasters, ha!) but I'll tell you, when you go all day tasting wine in temperatures like we have during peak summer months, you will have an amazing time, but come around 5pm you're gonna hit a wall, have your butt kicked by the heat, wine and exhaustion.  This might mean a nap might be in your near future if you want to enjoy your evening.   This is unless of course, you or your friends/family are in the category of energy level I call, "Energizer Bunny level".  You know, those friends that can just go and go and you wonder how they do it?  I can say for a certain, that is NOT me.  Hahahahaha.

So here's a list of tips and tricks to help you and all your favourite wine loving friends and family make the most of your wine tasting day... even if it's 42C/108F outside.  They are categorize into two categories, before wine tasting and during wine tasting, check them out below:

The Night Before & Morning Before Wine Tasting

  1. Drink a Glass of Water Right Before Going to Bed: It's really important to start being hydrated before your day even begins.  I'll even go so far to leaving a big glass of water beside the bed so that I don't forget.
  2. Drink a Glass of Water Right When You Wake Up:  There might be a theme here, can you guess what it might be, ha!  Some people don't naturally drink a lot of water while others do, but try your best.
  3. Apply Sunscreen During Your Morning Routine:  That's right, just get it over.  The sun is fierce here and your skin will love you for it!
  4. Do NOT Apply Perfumes or Colognes:  Just skip that step in your morning routine, you will have a more enjoying wine tasting experience when your sense of smell and taste isn't over stimulated by other aromas in the room.   

During the Day Wine Tasting

  1. Try to Start Your Day as Early as Possible: This makes sense as the day continues to increase in temperature as late as 6pm, so the earlier you start, the "cooler" it will be.  A handful of wineries start tastings at 10am, like La Stella Winery and Phantom Creek Estates so hit those wineries up first.  Bonus:  If you are out and about that early, make sure to get your paws on the freshly baked bread at Platinum Bench Winery, they even pair their breads with their wines.  But go early, they sell out DAILY.  
  2. Spit, Don't Sip: Unless you REALLY enjoy the wine then drink away.  You are going to have wines that you love, others will just be meh.  Don't drink the meh!  Pour it out, throw it out but don't feel obliged to drink it all.   I can't express how important this is, plus you'll look like a wine tasting pro.  We aren't meant to love every wine, so never feel forced that you have to drink it all.  Tasting room employees understand that everyone's palate is different.  (My personal weakness is bubbles, I can never NOT drink all of the bubbles.)
  3. Drink Water at EACH Winery:  If they put down water at the table, make a conscious effort to finish that water.  If they don't, ask for it.  Most wineries will offer water because the heat in the Okanagan really sucks the life out of you, and sometimes it's hard to tell how much your sweating as it just evaporates immediately.  Drink more water then you think you need, then drink some more.  Then drink some more after that, ha!
  4. Have Snacks Intermittently, Even if You Don't FEEL Hungry:  The heat makes you not feel like snacking, but it will help keep your energy levels all day long.  I like to keep a combination of dried fruits from Creek & Gully Cider for a little sugar pick me up, and almonds and cashews from from Liv Artisanal for some protein and to keep me feeling full.  
  5. Bring a Hat, Sunscreen & Electrolyte Tablets:  The hat and sunscreen might seem like an obvious thing, but having a tube of electrolyte tablets handy to help beat the heat is a game changer.  You can also get tablets that have an electrolyte/energy boost combo for a little pick me up.  Personally, I like to have a coffee in the afternoon in my day to day life, but when you're wine tasting it's not usually available or is it good for your palette, so I drop a tablet into my water and I'm set for the rest of the day.  

So those are my tips and tricks and FYI, on all wine tours with Farm to Glass Wine Tours has access to unlimited, sustainably packaged water from Flow, my center console I've nicknamed "snackland" where you can find a selection of dried fruits from Creek & Gully Cider and almonds and cashews from Liv Artisanal and amenity kits that have sunscreen, electrolyte tablets plus so much more!  

Also, all wine purchased on tours is kept temperature controlled in the Tesla throughout the day.  It get's hot in the Okanagan, but your wine won't!

Do you have any tips and tricks when wine tasting?  Let me know if the comments!

And as always, 

Be Kind.  Drink Wine.

Jess (Owner, Guide & Fun Person)

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