Part Four: The Conclusion: Stepping outside of Twisted Hills Cidery, I stowed the 3-new bottles of Cider we had just purchased and pulled out the drone. Whilst preparing the drone for flight Shauna headed into the washroom prior to our departure for our final stop in the Similkameen Valley.
Ducking on the drivers side of the Tacoma I heard Shauna say to herself, “Now where did he go?” Standing back up I placed the drone between the two Tacoma’s then manned the controls to the drone and began its eight-minute flight above the Geodesic Dome.
After landing and stowing the DJI drone, we climbed into the Tacoma and turned him left out onto Highway 3, heading southeast towards our next and final destination: Forbidden Fruit Winery. The 19-kilometre drive took us about 15-minutes at 100kmph. “What are you looking forward to the most at this next winery?” I asked. “O-M-G! There is sooooooo much and everything he has is truly spectacular. I just don’t really know until we get there,” Shauna replied her smile increasing with each kilometre we passed.
Nearing the base of the mountain you will see two signs one from Forbidden Fruit Winery informing you are 300m from the turn followed by a sign from Liber Farms with an arrow pointing right towards a single lane road.
As soon as you veer your vehicle off the highway and onto sumac road you will notice two things immediately. First if you turn slightly too far to the right you will plummet your vehicle down a 55-degree slope into an unsuspecting farmer’s field. And if the field does not stop you, you will cascade over a 15-foot cliff into the Similkameen River.
However as I have completed this turn-off once a year for nearly a decade, I followed the appropriate steps of turning on my right signal light nearly 150m from the turnoff and slowed the Tacoma from the 110kph to a meek 70kph to successfully make the turnoff.
Only a handful of minutes later you will literally reach the end of the road and the beginning of the Forbidden Fruit orchards. On your right is a low slung log-home usually with a couple of blue heeler dogs laying in the yard by the names of Winter and Fred.
Walking up to the front door you feel the seclusion of the property an oasis hiding at the end of the road amongst the tall poplar trees that drift slowly back and forth in the cool breeze within the valley. You may feel a slight wisp of cool air skipping up the hill from the Similkameen river just passed the beautiful sundeck to the right of the tasting room.
With a creak of the glass front door you will step inside a vibrant white room with an A-frame peaked ceiling. To your right four floor to ceiling windows bring in natural light as do the windows from the bathroom and a separate entrance on the south side of the building. The room is clean, crisp and beautiful. Typically the walls are adorned by local artists paintings or photographs.
Today, as you walk into the room you will see the counter divided between two partitions to ensure the 2m (6ft) social distancing practices for COVID-19 along with the use of disposable one ounce sample cups and hand sanitizer.
From the left hand side of the room through the separate entrance a kind gentleman will enter today he is wearing a tan sweatshirt, field dirty jeans and a well worn baseball cap. His long white hair is poking out the sides of the cap, and his smile lifts the spirits as he says, “good afternoon, it is nice to see you again. How are you?”
We both begin to respond and laugh at our in-unison talking then we both pause and wait for the other which turns back into in-unison talking and further laughter. “We are doing well Steve. It is nice to see you again,” Shauna finally breaks the embarrassing silence. Then she informs him that he is our last stop for the day before we head back over the hill to Osoyoos. We remind Steve that we come every year to his winery as its one of the most exceptional wineries in the Similakmeen and Okanagan Valleys. He smiles his appreciation and understanding that for over fourteen-years his wines have been winning awards in Canada, the United States and beyond North America.
Steve’s charm, knowledge and abundance of information is outstanding. He’ll impart as much or as little as you would like to know about the orchard, the organic labels, his fermentation processes, the day to day practices and so much more. Over the course of a few samples he will explain and expand your view point not only on his labeled wines but those of his son Nathan, whose been producing wines under a different label since 2012: Dead End Cellars.
As this is our 3rd stop of the day, I’ve elected only to taste a couple of samples and let Shauna handle the heavy lifting. Steve is shocked that I am turning down samples of his delicious elixirs and impressed by my willingness to stop after only a couple of samples. “Honestly, I would love to sit out there on your sundeck and sip a bottle of wine just watching the rest of the afternoon drift on by. However, I still need to drive us back over Richter Pass and get us safely down into Osoyoos for dinner with the grandparents tonight.”
After the tasting is over I look at Shauna who stares back at me in wonderment and before asking what she wants I say to her and Steve, “I know exactly what I would like and I believe it will surprise you.” Her face twinging in wonderment of what I was about to order.
“I will take the last 5-bottles of the 2018 Sauvidal,” the surprise on Shauna’s face grew big, “plus we will take 2-bottles of the Earth Series Sauvignon Blanc, and 2-bottles of Dead End Skrewed,” her smile grew even larger, “and because I am dying to know, I will also take a bottle of the Dead End Buried Alive,” she nearly fainted when I ordered the $85.00 bottle! Then I said to her, “And what would you like misses?”
“Wow! I don’t know where to start. That was an impressive order. Let’s see… I would like a bottle of Flirt, 2-bottles of Dead End Game Over, 2-bottles of Dead End No Return, and a Forbidden Fruit Pearsuassion. Is that okay with you?” she smiled looking my direction and I responded only with removing the Visa from my wallet.
Poor Steve had two and a half cases of wine now sitting on the counter. He looked at us then lined up the bottles, then began punching in the codes into the register, “perhaps I should keep one of these Sauvidal’s. You know because it tastes that good,” he said with a bit of remorse in his voice. “If that’s what you would like, I’m sure I can leave one behind for you,” I responded in-kind. He laughed then replied with, “I suppose I will just have to make a new vintage and hope for the best, right?” We all laughed at the thought of a fresh 2020 vintage for the upcoming 2021 sales year!
As we packed the 16-bottles into the 3-new case boxes, Steve informed he didn’t charge us for the bottle of Pearsuassion then said to us, “do you happen to like cider?” We both nodded in agreement. “Well then, why don’t you take 1 of each on the house.” We smiled inwardly as the three Dead End Ciders are spectacularly labeled as: Cynic (pear cider), Saint (peach cider) and Sinner (apple cider).
With the cases stowed in the backseat of the Tacoma, I pulled out our last snacks of the afternoon along with my drone case. “Hey, lets go down to that sundeck and enjoy this oasis for a few minutes,” I said, followed by, “plus I would like to fly the drone a bit to grab a nice shot of the Similkameen River.” Shauna nodded her agreement as she too was awaiting the opportunity to sit on the inviting sundeck to warm herself and watch the river run past the embankment whilst resting our tired bones on a comfy lounge chair and of course smell the scents of the nearby orchards.
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