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Naramata wineries capture 'Best of the Bench' honours

Annual gathering recognizes, celebrates local wineries

An annual campaign that celebrates the local food and beverage industry has ended with widespread praise for a dozen Naramata wineries.

The third annual Best of the Bench event is now in the books, after kicking off on June 5 and welcoming two international Masters of Wine (MV) for tastings in the South Okanagan community.

Siobhan Turner and Doug Frost were tasked with tasting 75 different wines submitted by 26 locations in Naramata.

Both MVs were "deeply impressed" with the local scene, according to representatives from the Naramata Bench Wineries Association.

Turner and Frost would even go on to recognize the top 12 wines they tasted, based on a points system:

• Elephant Island Winery - Blanc de Blancs 2015 (95 points)

• Howling Bluff Estate Winery - Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2022 (95 points)

• Upper Bench Estate Winery - Riesling 2022 (95 points)

• Van Westen Vineyards - Viscous 2022 (92.5 points)

• Four Shadows Vineyard & Winery - Riesling Classic 2023 (94.5 points)

• Deep Roots Winery - Gamay 2022 (95 points)

• Three Sisters Winery - Gamay 2022 (95.5 points)

• Little Engine Wines - Gold Merlot 2020 (93 points)

• Terravista Vineyards - Fandango 2023 (93.5 points)

• Moraine Estate Winery – Estate Pinot Noir 2022 (95 points)

• Chain Reaction Winery - Reserve Blanc de Noir 2022 (93.5 points)

• Tightrope Winery - Pinot Noir Fleet Road 2022 (92.5 points)

"Each wine was sampled in flights and was categorized by varietal, residual sugar, and alcohol content," reads a press release from event organizers.

"Both MWs were deeply impressed by the outstanding quality of the submitted wines, further reinforcing the exceptional reputation of the Naramata Bench region."

Festivities were marked by an event at Poplar Grove on June 6, when members of the public were welcomed to try wines from places across the community. 

Food stations were also set up for the gathering, courtesy of executive chef Stacy Johnston from the local restaurant.

"The success of the 'Best of the Bench' event highlights the amazing talent and dedication present on the Naramata Bench and builds anticipation for future events that continue to showcase the region’s extraordinary wines and elevate its global reputation," the press release continues.

About the Author: Logan Lockhart

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