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Phantom Creek Estates: Enjoying an exclusive winery experience in Oliver, BC

Foodology – Diana Chan – July 14, 2022

When we previously visited the Okanagan, we would do several tastings in a day. As we make more trips to the Okanagan, we really find a lot of value in having an immersed experience to really understand the unique wine making methods, the architecture, and of course tasty dishes.

Phantom Creek Estates has 25 years of rich history in Oliver, BC on the famed Black Sage Bench of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, specializing in single-vineyard Bordeaux reds, Alsatian whites, and the Okanagan’s benchmark varieties of Viognier and Syrah from storied vineyard sites. The winery was established in 1996 by Richard Cleave, a pioneering viticulturist and found by the Bai family in 2016 to further develop the estate.

Phantom Creek Vineyard is consistently recognized for producing some of the best red wines in Canada, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. They strive to be one of the best in Okanagan and it shows through the wine, restaurant, and amazing staff.

Tour and Wine Tasting

Phantom Creek Estates offer 6 different tour and tasting options from $20 to $475 per person. Good options depending on how much time you have during your trip to learn about Phantom Creek Estates.

A popular option is their Estate Tour & Tasting for $60 per person where a Senior Brand Ambassador will guide you on a 90 minute tour around the estate. It begins in the History Room, where you’ll get an overview of the historic vineyards on the Black Sage Bench. From there, you’ll see the curated art installations and learn about their commitment to natural farming. Then, venture into the winery to see the winemaking process. The tour will end with a one-of-a-kind tasting in an exclusive private tasting room with unobstructed views of the South Okanagan. The tasting features their premium selection of wines.

Their Founder’s Cellar Experience is highly recommended as you get the extended tour and access into the Founder’s Cellar, plus a curated five-course menu paired with library and exclusive wines from their cellar. The underground cellars make for some amazing photos to capture memories with your friends and family. A great way to see it all.

The Restaurant

The restaurant is a must and have 2 and 3 course menu with optional wine pairings. It opened in 2021 and Chef Alessa Valdez brings her skills to elevate the seasonal menu that pairs so well with their exclusive wine selection. Plus, the view from the dining room and patio are stunning.

Lunch service offered from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm.

Do inquire about any features of the day as we were surprised they offered a seafood tower and had the options of substituting our appetizers or main.

Seafood Tower
This seafood tower has shrimp, oysters, mussels, ahi tuna on crisps, and mini crab claws. Paired with the rosé. It was fresh and naturally sweet and delicious. I love how everything is cracked for you so it’s seamless to eat and enjoy.

Duck Confit
The duck confit has puffed red quinoa, beets, fiddlehead, red and green sorel, and hoisin. It is paired with the 2019 Cabernet Franc. Duck was rendered nicely and always a great pairing with red wines.

Prairie Ranchers Pork
This fun plate has pork shoulder croquette, pork tenderloin, jerusalem artichoke, pickled mustard seed, and harissa. It is paired with their 2018 Merlot. The pork shoulder croquette was a joy to eat and bursting with flavour.

Spring Risotto
The morel & oyster mushrooms, asparagus, sous-vide farm fresh egg, and grana padano in the risotto is pure magic. The earthy notes from the mushrooms pairs so well with the 2020 chardonnay

Strawberry Pavlova
The pavlova has house made granola, coconut cream, and basil. It is paired with the exclusive 2016 Riesling Ice Wine only available at The Restaurant. Guests have tried bribing the staff to purchase bottles, but no luck.

Rum Baba
This dessert was surprisingly moist even though it didn’t look like it. It has cardamom diplomat, crepe dentelle, poached rhubarb, rhubarb purée, and nasturtium. It is paired with the 2016 Chardonnay. Very enjoyable.

Pecan Éclair
My favourite dessert was this eclair and it has mousseline, praline, candied pecan, and pickled Saskatoon berry. It is paired with their exclusive 2016 Cabernet Franc Ice Wine only available at The Restaurant. Just a joy to eat.

Reservations is a must and it can be booked up fast. They have inside and patio seating available. The Restaurant was the highlight of our trip at Phantom Creek Estates and even our whole trip to the Okanagan.

Summer events

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Phantom Creek Vineyards, the winery is hosting a series of celebratory events this year and will take place through September, including a monthly Phantom Creek Vineyard-focused dinner series.

Soirée en Rouge
The Soirée en Rouge event happened earlier this month and kicked off the 25th anniversary with more Summer events to come. The estate is gorgeous and is a perfect backdrop for any event. Absolutely STUNNING.

Summer Picnic
The winery is also debuting a new Summer Picnic offering which is available daily and is BYO (bring your own) blanket. Reservations are required for the Summer Picnic, and wine bottles and charcuterie trays are available for purchase to enjoy in the winery’s outdoor lounge and amphitheater. 

Summer Music Series
The winery will also be hosting a Summer Music Series every Friday, through September 16 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. with live music in the amphitheater featuring local musicians.  Tickets can be purchased here.

Final Thoughts

Overall, there are a lot of ways to enjoy Phantom Creek Estate through the tours, tastings, restaurant, or special events. Plan accordingly and make reservations as it will get busy through the Summer.

Phantom Creek is a newer brand in the Okanagan, but don’t overlook them as they have 25 years of rich history and continually giving back to the land to make it better. Add Phantom Creek Estate to your next visit to Oliver, BC!


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