Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sideways B.C. Style

A magazine arrived the other day in the mail and within its glossy covers was an article encouraging readers to explore California wine country by bike and I thought why travel all the way to California when right next door is British Columbia and its scenic wine country?

Snail mail 

I can recall pedaling all day down to Oliver on one of our cycling expeditions, checking in at the campground to reserve a spot and then grinding uphill past row upon row of  heavily laden vines to the Quinta Ferreira Winery.  Roy and I sampled copious amounts of what my friend considers the best reds in the Okanagan and we ended up purchasing a fine Malbec that we planned to quaff that evening.

Our own Sonoma

What I had failed to consider was the judgement impairment that comes with sampling too many wines.  You see, the vintner John doesn't bother with accurate measuring of his samples.  He doles out what he thinks you need to make a judgement of his wines - it might be half an ounce it might be two ounces.  When we left clutching a bottle of the best, John was out on the patio watching us mount our bikes and encouraging us to come back soon.

Hooting and hollering to each other as we rode out the gates of Quinta Ferreira, it was the same steep hill we had soberly climbed numerous samples ago.  Except now we had some "Kikapoo Joy Juice" in us and that fueled our quick descent to where the winery's road meets what's called Black Sage Road.  Roy as usual was way ahead of me and had already crossed the road and was making a bee line for the campground.
A winery right on the Kettle Valley Railway
Worried that Roy would pop the cork on the Malbec without me, I failed to notice the vehicle approaching from the left as I barely came to a stop on the gravel at the intersection.  As though I was riding on top of ball bearings, my heavily laden bike began to buck and squirm as I tried to avoid slamming into the side of the car.  This particular time it was my rear wheel that I lost and my panniers flew off their rear rack, spewing socks, sandals, tent pegs, cooking pots and tonight's freeze dried supper into the path of oncoming traffic.

The car I felt sure I was going to hit turned without signalling onto the winery's road and an accident was avoided - unless you consider the contents of my panniers smacking into the road a collision.

After assessing that my scrapes and scuffs were not life threatening and having salvaged my camping gear from the oncoming traffic,  I gingerly pedaled to our camp where I discovered that in fact my buddy had already uncorked the bottle.  But only to let it breathe so that we could enjoy the delicate flavours that the Okanagan Valley and specifically the Black Sage Bench give to B.C. wines

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