First Look: Sandhill Urban Winery

The term first look is something of a misnomer when it comes to Sandhill Winery — after all, winemaker Howard Soon has been making wine for Sandhill since 1997. But as of May this year, Sandhill has a new home to showcase its small lot, single vineyard focus wines. Located next to Calona Wines on Richter Street in Kelowna, Sandhill’s urban front is a blend of contemporary architecture and history, where clean lines also give a nod to the province’s winemaking — and agricultural — past. 

The Sandhill Winery Visitor’s Centre at 1125 Richter Street is an interactive space designed for more than wine tasting. Virtual vineyard tours and daily educational sessions help enthusiasts connect wine to place while remaining comfortably hosted in a modern building. Tastings, of course, take centre stage at an expansive bar; around the corner is a lounge, encouraging visitors to linger as they enjoy a ‘tasting flight’ under 80-year-old reclaimed wooden beams and a reach-for-the-sky ceiling. It’s both intimate and inclusive, with room enough for private events and special gatherings — think small lots applied to a living space.

The new Sandhill

Old meets new at every turn, from the 1930s champagne filler to an antique cash register on the front desk. Even displays have a patina beyond new construction, with vintage-style pull handles as an aesthetic detail. The place feels pleasantly lived-in, even at its debut, and is in good harmony with the wine on its shelves.

And open and airy event space

Creating an authentic winery vibe without the benefit of picturesque vineyards to set the tone can be a tall order, and in the last three decades British Columbia has seen its fair share of the ostentatious to the sublime — even at wineries with an advantageous setting. Sandhill Urban Winery is on track with what appears to be a trend in BC wineries creating a new wine experience, providing value to consumers beyond a transaction. As a brand that has become known for over-delivering with its wines, we should expect nothing less from the in-person Sandhill.

 

Open daily June through October from 9am – 6pm; November through May Mondays to Saturdays 9am – 5pm, and Sundays 9am – 4pm.

 

Notable Sips

2013 Hidden Terrace Sauvignon Blanc – lightly herbaceous aroma, with a citrus explosion; lemon, lime, and lovely acidity; think late nights on the patio, under twinkling stars, with large conversation.

2011 Cabernet Merlot – picnic basket aroma, with charcuterie; strawberry, rhubarb, and mocha; think brilliant blue skies and barbecue afternoons, with an 18 hour smoked something in your near future.

 

Sandhill Wines

Twitter: @sandhillwines
Facebook: Sandhill Wines
Instagram: @Sandhillwines

1125 Richter St
Kelowna, BC
V1Y 2K6
(250) 762-9144

 

 

Written By:

Jeannette is EAT's Okanagan writer. With her rural Canadian roots and love of grand experiences, Jeannette is equal measures country and city. Since moving from Vancouver to the Okanagan in 2007, she quit her day job ...

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