Activity: Going Boutique – Wine Tasting at La Frenz on Naramata Bench and La Stella, South Okanagan

Our second day of wine tasting in the Okanagan area took us through to some old favourites and new discoveries.


This post is one chapter on our trip through the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada. This trip was booked using Marriott Bonvoy Points. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Activity: Going Boutique – Wine Tasting at La Frenz on Naramata Bench and La Stella in South Osoyoos, South Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada

The goal today was to sample a view wines and visit some old favourites and new discoveries in the Okanagan Wine Region. Like on our day before, we had made pre-booking reservations at each of the wineries as a result of the pandemic. Normally, you can just turn up without a booking and be accommodated at most of these places, save the higher end wineries. We had a lighter today today with only two wineries on the docket; La Frenz on Naramata Bench, and La Stella in the South Okanagan.

Getting there:

The area of the Okanagan Wine Region we were visiting was towards the South. It was about forty five minutes in the car before we’d make the region surrounding Oliver, British Columbia, Canada.

We started much closer to Penticton on the Naramata Bench, a mere 11 minutes drive from the hotel.

Visiting La Frenz Winery on Naramata Bench

La Frenz winery is located on Naramata Brench, just a few minutes from the city of Penticton, British Columbia.

A small entry through vines
La Frenz Cellar Door

La Frenz has a smaller operation, known for making among the better wines of this developing area.

La Frenz Tasting Room
Outdoor Tasting today.

La Frenz is also famous for the view over Okanagan Lake. It was a nice spot that was once painted on the rear of the Canadian $100 note between 1954 to 1969. 

La Frenz Tasting
La Frenz Tasting Board

We enjoyed some great reserve tastings here but as a smaller winery, many of the main varietals were sold out during our visit in August, awaiting the new fall harvest that was coming. At the very least, we had pleasant views over to Okanagan Lake. 

La Frenz Grapes on the Vine

Tickelberry’s for Ice Cream:

We then drove town towards La Stella Winery. On our way, we stopped in at Tickelberry’s for an Ice Cream.

Tickelberry’s is a locally famous ice cream stand that has been family run for 30+ years. Despite all the modern advances of franchising and boutique take home ice cream brands, they’ve been selling many flavours of ice cream in Okanagan Falls (population 2,500), British Columbia for several decades.

Tickleberries’ Roadside Attraction
Tickleberries Family Business History
Tickleberries Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour

I really appreciate an old fashioned ice cream parlour and Ticklelberries was no exception. I enjoyed a house made coconut lime which was exceptionally tasty in the sunny thirty degree temperatures outside.

Last Call: La Stella Winery:

Our last winery of the trip was a visit to La Stella Winery on the Osoyoos flats. Osoyoos is Canada’s only desert and is typically hot. It can typically reach the high thirties Celsius here in August and today was no exception.

La Stella is a co-brand with Le Vieux Pin. Both are owned by the same family and share the same wine maker. La Stella features more Italian style wines from the hotter southern Osoyoos regions, where as Le View Pin features more northern French styled vineyard wines. Both share the same wine maker who is focus on old world styled wines.

We had previously visited Le Vieux Pin on a separate trip ten years ago but this was our first time calling at the Cellar Door of La Stella.

Outstanding Osoyoos Views
La Stella Vineyard
La Stella Cellar Door

We had a socially distanced tasting, by appointment. There was not a bad wine amongst the bunch today. There was also outstanding views over the lake during this summer heat.

Lake View Tastings
Lakeside views

MrsWT73 loaded up on a magnum of Rose when she learned that Restauranteur and Entrepreneur Vikram Vij (from the Canadian television show “The Dragon’s Den”) did not fulfil his original order for his restaurants as a result of lessened demand as a result of the pandemic. This left the winery with some 52 magnums of Rose that MrsWT73 was happy to help contribute in taking off their hands.

After La Stella, it was up to Spirit Ridge to reminisce on where we got married. The property is now re-flagged as a Hyatt branded property just prior to the international border shut down. We didn’t get organized enough to do a third tasting at the local in Nm’kip winery on site as all tastings were in advance and we hadn’t bothered to make a reservation. Still, it was enjoyable to see the view that marks many of our wedding photographs.

Views of Nk’mip vines from Spirit Ridge Resort

We spent the rest of the afternoon in Osoyoos down by Gyro Park near the Water Mark hotel for some sunning in the heat.

Trying out Turkish Food at Elma’s, Penticton

Returning to Penticton, we decided to explore Elma for dinner. Elma’s appears to be a reasonably recent addition to the dining scene in Penticton. It’s run by the family of the Black Sea Motel on a corner of their property. The Black Sea Motel is economy accommodation whereas Elma’s has a much more contemporary vibe.

Elma’s, Penticton, BC
Great Waterfront Views

After a bit of a short wait for dinner, we got a waterfront view table for 4 with just the two of us. The restaurant was decorated in a modern contemporary manner, which was a bit at odds (in a good way) with the family holiday vibe of the City of Penticton.

Views of Okanagan Lake
Elma Upstairs

Dinner here consisted of many share plate foods with a Mediterranean theme. We were pretty impressed by the menu and the availability of something different than the usual restaurant meals.

We enjoyed for dinner a feat of Turkish meatballs with sumac tomato sauce, pickled onions and strained yogurt, Turkish cheese feta and parsley flatbread, zucchini fritters also with strained yoghurt and preserved lemon and hummus with tahini, parsley and pickled onion and cucumber.

Zucchini Fritters, Turkish Meatballs and Hummus with Tahini and Cucumber
Turkish Flatbread

All of these came out excellent and were a very tasty alternative to the wine dinners and pizza that we’d had earlier in the week. We paired these with Big Rock Brewing beer and Blasted Church wine for MrsWT73 to compliment our Mediterranean food.

I can’t recommend Elma enough for an interesting place to dine while in Penticton. It’s originality and taste amongst it’s ingredients was excellent for a restaurant situated along the waterfront of Penticton.

Overall:

We had a good two days enjoying the wineries of the Okanagan Area. There was enough here to keep us entertained and amused over our time here which is always a good thing for a visit to any area.


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