Whistler and Wine a Perfect Pair


The Savour the Sun winery dinners at Nita Lake Lodge feature a magnificent backdrop in Whistler, which has beauty beyond its mountains. (Adrian Brijbassi/Vacay.ca)

Vacay.ca is publishing a series of articles by Managing Editor Adrian Brijbassi focused on the wine region of British Columbia. The following article is the third in the series. Click here to read the most recent entry that covered family-owned wineries in BC.

If you can’t get to wine country then wine country will come to you. That’s the premise and offer from Whistler’s Nita Lake Lodge and the Oliver-Osoyoos Winery Association (OOWA). For one Sunday each month until September 29, one of OOWA’s 43 wineries will pour its vintages in a four-course wine-paired dinner at Aura, Nita Lake Lodge’s flagship restaurant. 

The first dinner in May featured the remarkable Culmina Family Estate Winery, operated by Canadian wine-industry pioneer Don Triggs and his family on some of the coveted vineyards in the Okanagan Valley. The dinner was served on Aura’s patio overlooking Nita Lake, one of Whistler’s lovely bodies of water that often get overlooked for their attractiveness because of the mountainous beauty and stature of North America’s most popular ski resort.


At Alta Lake, visitors can enjoy water sports in front of the Coastal Mountains of British Columbia. (Adrian Brijbassi/Vacay.ca)

If you think sipping some of British Columbia’s finest wines while dining on decadent dishes prepared from ingredients sourced from regional farms and gazing at a sublime view of a secluded lake is a fine way to say goodbye to your week, you’d be right. The Sunday night wine dinners give visitors to Whistler and residents of the area a chance to experience boutique wines that are rare to find outside of the tasting rooms of Oliver and Osoyoos, the prime viticulture destinations in Canada. Driving to the Okanagan is a five-hour trek and a commitment of a weekend or more for anyone in the Sea-to-Sky corridor. So OOWA’s initiative is a smart marketing program to introduce its wines and its culture as a way to tempt oenophiles — or those curious about wine country — to come explore.


Alpha Lake is a favourite spot in Whistler for sightseeing and paddling. (Adrian Brijbassi/Vacay.ca)

Meanwhile the location at Nita Lake also provides a chance to get to know Whistler outside of its famous village, which teems with tourists year-round. Nita Lake Lodge is about three kilometres from the heart of Whistler Village and the gondolas that in warm weather carry mountain-bikers, hikers and sightseers to the top of the peaks. Guests at the lodge can walk, bike, or take a shuttle to the village, or they can explore lakeside life in Whistler.

Discover More: How Wine Can Impact Tourism

The lodge provides complimentary paddle boards, kayaks and canoes to guests who want to experience the small lake. For a larger and more lively experience, head either south to Alpha Lake, where there are playgrounds, a small beach and captivating mountain views, or north to Alta Lake, which features expansive scenery and is ideal for picnicking.

Back at Nita Lake Lodge, guests can experience one of the finest spas in the province (be sure to try the hot-stone massage) and the luxurious rooms of the property. Rooms feature fireplaces, ornate bathrooms with soaker tubs, and warm west-coast decor. My room included floor-to-ceiling glass doors that opened onto a balcony that faces the lake with a view that was a choice pairing for the exquisite food and Culmina wines I savoured. 

Upcoming Savour the Sun winemakers’ dinners will feature Road 13 Vineyards (June 23), River Stone Estate Winery (July 21) and Covert Farms Family Estate (August 18). The participating winery for September 29 has yet to be announced.



Roasted garlic and rosemary lamb shoulder is paired with Culmina winery’s 2014 Merlot. (Adrian Brijbassi/Vacay.ca)

Location: 2131 Lake Placid Road, Whistler, BC (see map below)
Dinner Costs: $89 per person for a wine-paired four-course dinner prepared by Nita Lake Lodge executive chef James Olberg.
Website: www.nitalakelodge.com
Room Rates: A recent search of Nita Lake Lodge’s booking engine showed a (bargain) rate of $179 for June 23. Rates for other winemakers’ dinner dates will vary. 


A California Feeling in the Okanagan
Learn about new and emerging wineries that are creating some of the best and most expensive wines in Canada.

River Stone Winery Among OOWA’s Charms
Family-owned wineries such as River Stone and Covert Farms keep the Okanagan Valley vibrant and unique.

Adrian is the editor of Vacay.ca and VacayNetwork.com. He also edited "Inspired Cooking", a nutrition-focused cookbook featuring 20 of Canada's leading chefs and in support of the cancer-fighting charity, InspireHealth. "Inspired Cooking" was created in honour of Adrian's late wife and Vacay.ca co-founder, Julia Pelish, who passed away of brain cancer in 2016. Adrian has won numerous awards for his travel writing, travel photography, and fiction, and has visited more than 55 countries. He is a former editor at the Toronto Star and New York Newsday, and was the social media and advocacy manager for Destination Canada. His articles have frequently appeared in the Huffington Post, Globe & Mail, and other major publications. He has appeared on national and local broadcasts, talking about travel, sports, creative writing and journalism. In 2019, he launched Trippzy, a travel-trivia app developed to educate consumers about destinations around the world.

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