Walk-In Wineries: The First Edition

Occasionally I will plan a day of wineries where I end up having far too much time between my appointments or I chose to visit only one winery and end up exploring the area and finding one that I want to go to if I have time. I'm slowly learning how much time I really need between visits, but in the beginning it was a pretty common problem! The two wineries I'll be sharing today are two that I had extra time to visit on two separate occasions. I really wanted to share them with you because they're a bit smaller so may not necessarily be on your list of places to visit, though they really should be! 

Winery #1: Volcanic Hills

Volcanic Hills is located in the Westside Wine Trail, right off the main road! It's in the same vicinity as Mt Boucherie, so when I had a ton of extra time between Mt Boucherie and Quails Gate, I decided to pop in! I have been to Volcanic Hills before so I knew I wouldn't be disappointed. Both my father and sister are members of their Wine Club, and they love wine so that should tell you how good it is! I got to try 5 of their wines at my walk-in, and here is what I tasted:

1. 2018 Rose

This was a dry style Rose with a blend of predominantly Gamay Noir and Pinot Noir, with smaller amounts of Viognier, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer. I mean, Rose is truly the perfect summer wine and this is no exception. It's bursting with strawberry and rhubarb, some cherry and grapefruit in there as well. There's also a hint of spice in there from the Gewurztraminer which always gets me excited!

2. 2018 Single Vineyard Gewurztraminer

This is one of the Flagship wines at Volcanic Hills! I have such a soft spot for Gewurztraminer. People either love it or hate it because it's oddly spicy for a white wine, but I absolutely adore it. This wine has a lot of lemon and pear to it, but also some more tropical notes of lychee! It has a beautifully balanced acidity and some nice minerality to it as well. For those unfamiliar with Gewurztraminer, because of the spiciness in the wine it actually is a perfect wine to pair with spicier food! It's very complimentary but still light and fruity in a way that the spice won't completely overwhelm your palate.

3. 2016 Pinot Noir

Ah my favourite grape, the Pinot Noir! This one is definitely done in more of an earthy style, it had a lot of mushroom and wet earth, but still had the nice red fruits in it as well! I got a lot of red cherry and strawberries. It's actually pretty cool the way they made this Pinot, they aged it in stainless steel tanks, then barrel-aged it for 11 months! This made the wine have beautifully balanced tannins and a nice, smooth mouthfeel.

4. 2018 Lava Red

This is a super unique red blend! I've honestly never had anything else like it. It's a red blend of Zweigelt, Merlot, Marechal Foch and Pinot Noir and these are all barrel-aged for 15 months, but what makes it so unique is that right before bottling, they add 3% of Zweigelt Icewine, giving it a touch of sweetness! This wine is just bursting with fruit like cherries and plums and even some blackberry! This would be very nice if you pop it in the fridge 15 minutes before drinking. 

5. 2017 Chardonnay Icewine

Mmmmmm Icewine. I could smell Icewine forever. Someone please make a candle out of Icewine smell!! This one is just full of pineapple, mango and peach. It has a gorgeous balance of acidity with the sugar, my mouth started watering as soon as the Icewine got in my mouth! Another great one to pair with on a summer day, eating your cheesecake on the patio!

Volcanic Hills also has a restaurant called Blu Saffron! Now I've never eaten there, but my sister has and she had nothing bad to say about it! It's on the back side of the tasting room so the view for dinner would actually be so beautiful and you'd be far enough away from the road so that traffic wouldn't be bothersome! I'll definitely have to try it out one of these days...

Winery #2: Daydreamer Wines

This place has been recommended to me many times! Mostly by my WSET instructor but like, obviously I would trust his taste to be great so I had to come see for myself! Daydreamer is located on the Naramata Bench, wayyyy way up the hill. When I was driving here I seriously had no idea where I was going and couldn't see a winery until it was literally right in front of my face. This is one of those super cute, family-owned wineries who really care about making good wine and making it right. They are fully vegan and all the grapes are grown without pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Their philosophy is make wines that you want to drink, not just wines that win medals and they have successfully done both! 

1. 2020 Pinot Gris

The grapes for this Pinot Gris are all hand harvest and barrel fermented. They call this a bone-dry wine, but it surprised me at how fruity it was! The fruit counteracts how dry it is and the acidity pulls it all together. This wine had lots of crisp minerality to it, with notes of green apple and citrus peel. This was very refreshing and perfect for a hot day like the one when I tried it!

2. 2020 Rose

This is a nice Rose made from a blend of Syrah and Viognier (two of my favourite grapes, we knew I would love this). The grapes are actually co-fermented, which is super cool! Normally grapes will get fermented separately and then they're blended together, but not in this case! This was just beautiful on the nose, full of those nice ripe strawberry and raspberry notes. There is some sweetness on the palate, but it just comes from the fruit!

3. 2020 Riesling

The Riesling at Daydreamer is their only wine that sees no oak, which I thought was interesting! It's done in an off-dry style and has a nice high acidity that balances off the dryness just perfectly. There are notes of green apple, citrus, minerality, juicy pear and even some peach in there. This is a nice and delicate Riesling and I think is very approachable for those of you who don't necessarily like Riesling or haven't had a lot of it. 

4. 2019 Amelia

This is a beautiful Rhone-style blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Viognier and it actually comes from the free run juice of the Rose they make and I just find that so cool. It had a lighter body than I expected, it actually reminded me of a Gamay! I think this could definitely be chilled for 10 minutes before you drink it and it would be great. It has nice notes of red cherry, blackberry, and violet, with some hints of anise in there. This wine is named after the daughter of the owners! I quite enjoyed this one and ended up taking a bottle home for myself!

5. 2018 Jasper

The final wine of the bunch! This is a Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot (the dominant) Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. It spent 18 months in French barriques and has a nice ability to age. This had lots of those rich, dark fruits like dark cherry and plum. There were some nice spicy notes from the oak as well, some nice vanilla and clove. Literally my notes say: This wine is very yummy with nice mouthfeel. I was clearly too distracted to sound eloquent! 

I had quite a pleasant time at Daydreamer Wines! I think their wines are a very nice reflection of how they make their wine! All of it is minimal intervention, being more of a natural style than most wineries tend to do. I cannot remember the name of the nice man who did my tasting, but he was great and I hope I can go back for another visit and that he'll be there again! 

I hope you enjoyed hearing about some of my last-minute walk-in wineries! These will continue to pop up throughout the summer so maybe I'll make Walk-In Wineries a whole series in itself! Keep your eyes open for my next post where I head up to Lake Country with another very special guest!

Whine of the day: I need someone to go to each of these wineries and start making candles out of all the wines. 


  1. I like Volcanic Hills because it’s got a great variety regardless of it you prefer white wine or red wine

    1. Totally agree! There's something for everyone!


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