First Look: Upper Bench Winery and Creamery

Upper Bench Winery and Creamery. Upper Bench Grey Baby cheese. Photos by Anya Levekh


The Naramata Bench is famous for its wineries, views, orchard fruit and cheese. What happens when you combine all of those amazing things? You get Upper Bench Winery and Creamery. Opened in May by husband-and-wife team Gavin and Shana Miller, Upper Bench is the perfect marriage—literally—of winemaker (Gavin) and cheesemaker (Shana). They also happen to sell local fruit at their shop, so it’s a picnic basket waiting to happen.


Despite the newness of the storefront, this is a project that has been years in the making, evident foremost in the wines. The 2010 Merlot ($28.90) is a deep, dark wine that hints of black cherry, cassis and a really good Cubano on the nose, with fig and prune joining on the palate. The 2011 Riesling ($21.90) is another stand-out, slightly off-dry, with a striking nose of pear, gooseberry and tart apple. The palate has hints of honeydew, and a bright, clean finish that makes you want to repeat the experience, and soon.


As for the cheeses, Shana Miller has concocted some amazing styles of creamy blue. Of special note is Grey Baby, surface-ripened blue that is so creamy, silky and earthy that it brings to mind pigs foraging for truffles in the fall. There’s also the King Cole (named for both branches of her family), which is a semi-soft blue with hints of pear and apple. It made a great pairing with the Merlot. The French Gold was a surprise, a firm, brine-washed number speckled with herbes de Provence and a sprinkling of lavender. All of the cheese are $5.50 per pound, and can be purchased at the winery.


The winery has also started weekly pizza nights, partnering with Flat Bread Farms in Cawston to create pizzas using Upper Bench cheeses and, naturally, pairing them with one of the Upper Bench wines.


170 Upper Bench Rd, Penticton | 250.770.1733 |


Open May to October, 10am-6pm daily

Rest of the year by appointment


Written By:

Anya Levykh was born on the shores of the Black Sea, in what was formerly the USSR. The cold, Communist winters were too much for her family, and, before she was four feet tall, they had left for warmer climes in the south of ...

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