2016 Kamloops Wine Awards – Winners!

It’s our second annual listing of our Kamloops Wine Awards! Hooray!

We are making some great wine here in our fair city. Really great wine. It was super exhausting but a few of us managed to get out and try them for you, selecting the very best of the bunch, so you can purchase exactly what you need. I know, it sounds like the toughest job in the world. You are welcome.

Don’t forget our disclaimer – none of us really know any more about wine than you do! We just drink a lot of it! Our credentials are fake so take this advice for what it is worth. Your tastes are your own and you should drink whatever you like! You can also drink whatever I like as long as you save some for me!

Without further ado, here we go!


There are 11 categories this year. Bigger and better than 2015. Unfortunately, Harper’s Trail was closed so we weren’t able to sample their new wines. That left Privato Winery, Sagewood Winery and Monte Creek Ranch to battle it out for grape supremacy. They all faired well and I can safely say that all their newest vintages are better than last year! Was it the weather? The grapes? The oak? Me? I don’t know. But in 2015 (2014 for the Reds) good things were happening for you if you were attached to a vine.

Best Dinner Red

Sagewood 2014 Cabernet Franc/Merlot – This wine is so full of flavour with a hint of subtle oak right off the top. How can it be so bright yet so warm all at once? With a light to medium body and enough punch to stand up to whatever you serve for dinner, this wine is tops in the dinner department.

$20.78 at the winery


Best Dinner White

Sagewood 2013 Kerner – Again, Doug knocks it out of the park for dinner! This dry white is the opposite of what you usually get with a white wine. Instead of being fruity at the front and lacking finish, this beauty is light on your tongue, then develops a beautiful green or grassy note and finishes strong and ‘appley’. Appley isn’t a word but I am no more qualified to write than to sip so you get what you pay for with me. This is a medium bodied wine and has enough weight to stand up to dinner well. It really is dry (unlike some ‘dry’ wines that you could never drink while you eat) and the aroma? Best part! And that’s saying something!


rating: 4.5/6


Best Specialty Wine

Monte Creek Ranch 2014 Late Harvest Frontenac Gris – I am not a late harvest lover but this wine is like a bottle of apple pie. Really, drinkable apple pie!  This was the only late harvest we tried today, I was expecting to find a rosé for this category or maybe a bubbly but this well-weighted dessert in a bottle was the top pick. Not overly syrupy or sweet, with a light finish, this bottle is a great Thanksgiving hostess gift. And it is on sale. Get it. Now.

$12.99 (sale price)

rating: 4/6

Best Patio Sipper

Monte Creek Ranch Giddy Up White – This was a tough category with stiff competition from all our contenders. In fact, we had flagged a wine from each winery that could have taken this prize. In the end though, for the price, this made a great patio sipper. After all, you should have a deck full of friends to share your wine with and this is a great value. Boxed up in 3 litre increments you really can’t go wrong with this wine. It’s a blend of Frontenac Gris and Frontenac Blanc. It’s a bit sweet but light and bright and airy. Great with appies it will please a crowd for sure!

$27.99 3litre box

rating: 4/6


Best Gifting Wine

Privato 2015 Rose – John can really make a rosé. His 2014 rosé was off-the-charts strawberry. It was amazing. Could he ever top it? Well, it turns out he could and he did. This bottle, a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir, is more subtle, more complex and more grown up than it’s older brother. It’s characteristics develop slowly in your mouth. It’s smooth and long and dry and light. Everything a good wine should be. There is nothing one dimensional about this wine. From beginning (aroma) to end (finish) it is an A+ wine.


rating: 4.5/6

Most ‘Kamloopsy’ Wine

Monte Creek Ranch 2015 Frontenac Gris – Now we are really just making words up, eh? But we really did want to try to find a wine that was true to our city and would be a great ambassador for our wine industry. This grape grows well in our dry climate, it is exclusive to our community within our province and it’s a great wine to boot! If you have never had it you really do have to try it. Light at the beginning, it develops into this beautiful, tropical flavour as it sits in your mouth. With warm pineapple and coconut notes, it almost seems like it was lightly oaked. It is just the rich flavour of the grape. Well worth the try  and a great conversation starter for visitors to our city.


rating: 4.5/6

Best Value Wine

Sagewood 2015 Marachel Foch – Holy jam, Batman! This is a wine for the fruit lover. With deep cherry flavour and medium body, this wine comes across like a premium product. There is a lot packed into this bottle! This taste like roasted fruit that was blended up. Really, it’s deep and hearty and fresh and clean. I love a good Gamay and this comes pretty close. Best Sagewood wine I’ve had. This one is also a ‘must try’!



Best Surprise Wine of the Day

Privato 2015 Sorpressa – Ironically, Sorpressa is Italian for surprise. That had nothing to do with choosing this wine as our pick for an off-the-chart wine that gave 110% in all departments. This wine was just released in May and I predict it will be sold out before Thanksgiving. Get it NOW! A blend of 100% Privato-grown, pinot noir and foch grapes, there are just 756 bottles of this fresh, clean, bright and snappy wine. It’s light bodied and totally unoaked (that was the surprise part for me as Privato does the best oak in the Interior). New wine drinkers will love it and seasoned wine drinkers will appreciate how refreshing and crisp it is. A great combination and a fitting name. Two corks up!


rating: 5/6


Best Romance Wine

Privato 2013 Fedele Pinot Noir – Okay, boys. It’s time to impress your lady. Whether you are planning a very nice dinner, or something a little later in the evening by the fire or by candlelight, this wine will only score you points in the romance department. First of all, Fedele is faithful in Italian. Second, this is the warmest wine we tasted all day. Well oaked, with a bold flavour at the top, finishing fruity, this wine would be lovely with anything chocolate or just on it’s own. This is a beautiful wine, both in colour and in taste. Not looking to impress your love? This is a perfect ‘Winter wine’ for cold nights spent inside or hearty dinners. Just buy it. It’s awesome.


rating: 5/6

Best Kamloops Winery

We just couldn’t decide. This year, all three wineries we visited had amazing staff, amazing service and great wine! All are well marked and easy to find and each was so unique it was impossible to compare one to another.



With it’s beautiful setting by the river, Privato is quiet, romantic and high class. The vineyard is beautiful and I’ve always had great service. Today, Alyssa guided us through our tasting. She was knowledgeable and friendly. I am not sure I asked a question she couldn’t answer. Their facility is beautiful and there are lots of specialty products you can try on top of your wine purchase.

Sagewood Winery


I love this place. Tucked away in the middle of a neighbourhood, you would never know they produce 600 cases of wine a year. This place is full of character and a family affair. Quaint and charming, you will get very personal service here. Our tasting was led by the winemaker himself and it doesn’t get better than that! Your guests will feel like you took them to a hidden treasure if you bring them here.

Monte Creek Ranch


With stunning views and a beautiful restaurant, this vineyard is unique to our community. It is busy! Like, hopping. Most days I have had to wait for service. Today, Emily took us through our wines. Just two weeks into her position behind the counter here, she was a champ. Our service was exceptional and she was gracious and knowledgeable.

At all three places, we took a long time. We were never rushed and were encouraged to stay and look around. I feel strongly that when you make your way to one of these places they should make you feel like the trip was worth it. All three places are businesses I would bring any visitor to Kamloops and are great ambassadors for our community.

So there you have it! It was a great day, and a great year! Keep making great wine, you guys! And a huge thank you to Jocelyn for tagging along and helping to choose. It was 7 hours by the time we were done. A full day’s work! Tough day, hey? I’ll see you next year!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Debbie Woodward
    Sep 11, 2016 @ 15:27:38

    What a great piece you wrote today! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit all of the wineries. You had such positive remarks about each of wineries and the different characteristics of each that make the Kamloops Wine Trail a delight for the senses. Thanks so much for being a great champion of the efforts of the Kamloops Wineries Association. Our local support in Kamloops is very much appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person


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