Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hidden gem

Saskatchewan is Canada's best kept secret. Seriously. If you don't mind a bit of a drive (an easy one at that) you can see amazing landscapes, fossils, historic land marks, travel prohibition tunnels, sit in a mineral spa and sip fantastic wines at a California-worthy winery. Yes, a winery. In Saskatchewan.

The air is clean, the vistas breathtaking, the people friendly. The opportunity here is endless. This province has so much going for it, but its residents don't give themselves or the landscape the credit it deserves.

Of course, that suits me fine. I like my spaces wide open and hardly populated.

I am home.

I spent Friday morning at one of Canada's research stations. This is hard white wheat - for those of you who love white bread with all the benefits of brown bread (just eat brown, you fools).

The Cypress Hills Winery - breathtaking. And who knew that rhubarb and sour cherries could make really good wine. Trust me, I'm a wine snob and I found at least two wines I loved here. And yes, it's in the middle of nowhere.

This is Marty, one of the owners and the ideas guy behind building a commercial winery in southwest Saskatchewan. The ladies to the left are from my town - no joke! - we drove four hours away and met people we knew. Nuts!

The side of the winery that faces the actual vineyard. They built all the ponds and did all the landscaping themselves. They've nearly doubled their capacity in just two years and will reach max capacity in another two. They sell out each year by Christmas.

Yes, baby grape vines in Saskatchewan! These are a few years old, but they won't grow super tall like you see in Germany, Italy or California. Why? Because it's windy here and cold. Snow is a good insulator. The wires you see are what the vines are trained on. These plants will grow outward, not upward, and may live as long as 100 years.

Chou Chou had missed her afternoon nap and was a mess by this point.

The gates out of the vineyard. It must remain locked at all times - the fence is eight feet tall. Why? Two words: demon deer. Anyone on the prairies with hay knows what I'm talking about. Vermin!

The husband took this one of the vineyard. He's a better photog than I am.

This is Chou chowing down on dried Saskatoons (delicious!).

And within five minutes....out cold.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

A bit of a drive is a bit of an understatement. But yes, you have a lovely province.