See Ya Later Ranch Winery, the host site for the kick-off opening reception of the Wine Bloggers’ Conference, features one of the best views seen high above the Okanagan Valley, as well as vast acres of growing Gewurztraminer and champions one of the best winery origin stories~
The land was purchased by a Major Hugh Fraser in 1919 finding it perfect for his many dogs and Gatsby-esque parties within the countryside. However, his London wife found the location too remote and she severed the relationship as cruelly and cooly as a modern day text message simply penning “See ya later”.
Fraser, with a renown sense of humour, adopted these three words as a name for his ranch and, since 2003, it is the brand name upon his bottled grapes he once planted so many years ago. The various dogs upon the labels are also a nod to Fraser and his love of dogs – upon the grounds you can visit the cemetery where his canine friends rest in peace above the spectacular valley.
It is at this remarkable site that the Wine Bloggers’ began their remarkable evening with the setting sun.
Immediately exiting from the bus I smelled roasting meats, heard a trilling banjo and clinking glasses. It was an impressive sight with multiple food stations scattered about the property and their paired wines right next door to each. This evening was my first taste of the talents belonging to Joy Road Catering. Joy Road has fast become a legendary Okanagan experience for their al fresco dinners within vineyards and passion for the unique produce and food of the Okanagan terroir. If you ever come to the Okanagan make sure it coincides with a Joy Road Catering event and have your fingers crossed that they aren’t sold out. Visit their website for more information or to purchase tickets.
With each food and wine station there was also music to be paired alongside. With the baguette sandwiches and Osoyoos LaRose wine there was a man dressed in a chapeau and French stripes playing an accordion. With the salmon and the Nk’Mip Cellars wine there was a First Nations man drumming and musically cawing with traditional garments and feathers. By the parking lot of old classic cars truffle popcorn and sea salt chips were served with See Ya Later Ranch wine and music from the 1950s and 60s rang through speakers and a wide-smiling banjo player accompanied some of the best burgers I’ve had in a long time. It seemed as if it was more than a moveable feast, it was a globetrotting feast, a feast that traveled through time and all of a sudden I was at Major Fraser’s iconic parties upon his See Ya Later Ranch.
I must also give a Kudos! to Vintage Origami Decor Rentals for decorating the grounds and stations. It made the evening magical and brought home the theme of travel.