Outdoor Summer Dining in the Okanagan

Dining among the vines…or in the orchard, as the case may be, has become a very popular gastronomic pastime in the Okanagan-Similkameen summers over the last few years. The evenings are warm, the surroundings fruitful and scenic, the produce and wine local and abundant. There is nothing quite as intoxicating, in more ways than one, than to feast and drink with fellow foodies at one of these exquisite events.


“Because of the plethora of incredible local bounty and beauty surrounding us, why not celebrate all of this great food, wine and spectacular views?” says Dana Ewart of Joy Road Catering, instrumental in establishing the outdoor dining experience in the Okanagan.


Quails’ Gate Winery Dinners in the Vineyard


Quails’ Gate Winery Dinners in the Vineyard, West Kelowna, July and August

Public or Cellar Door members, $140. Reservations 1-800-420-9463 or 250-769-2514. quailsgate.com

Quails’ Gate Winery is a renowned family-owned winery in a spectacular setting and features local, fresh fare by Chef Roger Sleiman in the Old Vines Restaurant. Four dinner in the vineyard events are being offered–two for the public (July 13, August 8); two exclusively for Cellar Door members (July 25, August 24). At 5:00, you meet the winery team in the vineyard for a glass of wine and appies, followed by a property tour. You’ll then dine amongst the vines from Chef’s multi-course menu composed of summer ingredients, paired with Quails’ Gate wines. The view of Okanagan Lake is exceptional. Join the Cellar Door Wine Club at cellardoorclub@quailsgate.com to attend their dinners in the vineyard and receive additional benefits.

Little Creek

Little Creek Gardens Cookbook Celebration Lunch, West Kelowna, July 28

Invitation only

Donna Dennison and Dale Ziech of Little Creek Gardens and Dressing in West Kelowna  have paired with Jennifer Schell, author of the cookbook The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker, and will host a large potluck luncheon served al fresco on the verdant organic farm overlooking Okanagan Lake. The guests are primarily the artisans, farmers and winemakers featured in Jennifer’s cookbook; they’re bringing their culinary creations, so what a delectable feast this will be. This is a bring-your-own refreshment, plates and cutlery event. The feast will be followed with music by Dale. This is definitely by invitation only, so if you got one, you are in for a treat! LittleCreekDressing.com



Orofino 1.6 Mile Dinner, Cawston, August 10

$140. Tickets at orofinovineyards.com, admin@orofinovineyards.com or 250-499-0068.

Now in its sixth year, this is a signature event of Cawston’s Orofino Wines, Canada’s only straw bale winery. All the ingredients in the five-course dinner, prepared by chefs Cameron Smith and Dana Ewart of Joy Road Catering, really do come from artisan producers within 1.6 miles of the winery–Orofino co-owner Virginia Weber actually measured the distance to the furthest one. First, guests will enjoy Orofino’s Moscato Frizzante and tasty canapes on the lawn. The dining will take place behind the straw bale winery against a gorgeous mountain backdrop. This unique event raises money for the Cawston Community Kobau Park; a silent auction will be help on the evening of the dinner.


Little Church Organics

Little Church Organics


Okanagan Feast of Fields, Kelowna, August 18

$95. Tickets at Choices Market in Kelowna, Penticton Visitors Centre, or online at farmfolkcityfolk.ca.

Little Church Organics, the largest U-Pick organic cherry farm in the valley, is the host of Okanagan Feast of Fields this year.  Taking place in the Valley since 2009, this event is a truly a movable feast, since you wander from tasting station to tasting station with a wine glass and linen napkin in hand. This is a fun and truly social way to sample from and learn about over 40 of the province’s food and beverage producers. Bring a notebook, camera, good walking shoes and sunscreen, as well as your appetite. Also taking place in the lower mainland at Krause Berry Farm, Langley, September 8, and Vancouver Island September 22 at Metchosin Farm, Metchosen, the annual Feast of Fields raises funds for FarmFolk CityFolk, a non-profit society that works to cultivate a local, sustainable food system.


Joy Road

Joy Road Catering-God’s Mountain Estate Dinners in the Vineyard, Penticton, July-October

$115 Summer 2013 Winery series; $99 Alfresco Vineyard Dining series. Reservations: joyroadcatering.com.

This will be the seventh season that Joy Road Catering of Penticton will be offering its summer alfresco dinners at the spectacular God’s Mountain Estate, perched on top of a hill with an incredible view of Skaha Lake. The communal table is situated on a clay bluff overlooking one of the oldest Riesling vineyards in the valley. The Summer 2013 Wineries series takes place on selected Thursday evenings from July 4 through September 5 at 6:30 pm, featuring a menu paired with wines from selected local boutique wineries. The Alfresco Vineyard Dining series takes place every Sunday at 6:30 pm starting July 7 through October 13. Joy Road Catering’s chefs Dana Ewart and Cam Smith create an unexpected menu, inspired by local produce, wine pairing, and their travels to other countries. Only 35 guests can come to each dinner, to preserve the intimacy.


—By Dona Sturmanis


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