OK: Honey wine, lavender and hazelnut biscotti, prosciutto and peach artisan flatbreads... Just a few of the items that have our tastebuds buzzing when we think about this interview today! Today we are chatting with Caitlin from Meadow Vista Artisan Farm Winery - one of our FEATURED WINERIES on the OK market, who is going to fill us in on everything about Meadow Vista from their bee tours, honey wine, history and the bistro! We always have food on the brain so let's start with that! We love that you incorporate local, fresh ingredients; can you describe some of the flavours that visitors will get to indulge in and share a bit about the inspiration behind the menu at the Meadow Vista Bistro?
Caitlin: Living in Kelowna we are so lucky to have so much available to us! With everything we do, our goal is always to be as local as possible. When we sat down to plan the Bistro menu, we knew we wanted to create an experience that showcased the amazing flavours of the Okanagan. Meats, cheeses, and bread all come from local suppliers, and we love being able to tell that story to guests as they sit on our patio. We are also fortunate to have amazing partners here on the Farm: Know Your Roots. They manage our gardens and allow us to grow a lot of the fruit and vegetables we use in the Bistro right here on the property!
For the menu itself, we kept it simple and delicious. Soup made with seasonal ingredients, fresh salad with greens from our garden, and platters made with local meats & cheeses, and our house-made preserves & pickles. We also have our flatbread pizzas: local organic rosemary focaccia bread topped with house-made tomato sauce, local meats, cheeses and produce.
OK: For those of you who prefer to pack your own picnic, you are in luck because Meadow Vista offers a picnic area! You can pick up a bottle of your favourite Meadow Vista Honey Wine and enjoy lunch on our picnic tables in the grassed area. Whether you decide to indulge in our bistro or simplify things with a summertime picnic - we are positive you will not be disappointed in your experience! Caitlin we know you host Friday markets on the farm; for those who have never been what can they expect?
Caitlin: A super fun evening of local artisans, local music, food & wine! This year we have paired up with Karalyn at Tall Cloud Productions (Craft Culture) to bring the best experience possible. Every week there is a different collection of artisans, a different food truck and a different musician so come down and join us.
OK: Can you share with us a bit about your background? We love what Meadow Vista offers to the Okanagan so please enlighten our readers with a bit of insight on how it all began!
Caitlin: Meadow Vista was founded in 2009 with the goal of producing mead that was a modern spin on an ancient beverage. After a few years in a less than ideal; location, we opened the doors of our beautiful farm Wine Shop in SE Kelowna in February 2014 (thats when I joined the team!).
Meadow Vista is owned by sister duo Emily and Electra, who both have backgrounds in Food and Beverage and are passionate about mead, bees and farm-to-bottle!
OK: The most basic question that we know a LOT of people are asking themselves ... what exactly IS honey wine, what is the process like to make it and how does it taste?!
Caitlin: Honey Wine is a version of the ancient beverage Mead. Made with honey as the base, traditionally Meads were quite heavy and sweet. Our meads are done in a lighter style, more reminiscent of a grape wine but definitely with a different flavour.
The process is the same as grape wine, just different ingredients. We mix honey and water together, to create an environment the yeast can thrive in. The yeast processes the sugars in the honey/water mix the same way it processes sugars in grape juice and the product of that is alcohol.
OK: Can you give us the down low on the general mead trend?
Caitlin: It's growing! New meaderies seem to be popping up every year and because there are so many styles of mead, we all have different things to offer.
As consumers look more locally for their consumables, they look for local drinks as well. Mead can be made in more places than grape wine so it's a great local choice for lots of people.
OK: Are there any common misconceptions about mead that you would like to clear up?
Caitlin: It's not all sweet! So often we have people come in and tell us they wont like our wines because they don’t like sweet wines but most of our wines are off-dry.We love surprising people with an approachable mead that is wonderfully crisp and able to pair easily with food.
OK: What are some of the challenges facing the bee population and what can readers do to support the bees?
Caitlin: Right now bees are facing several issues- disease, pesticide and climate change are the big issues we are concerned about.
There are lots of things people can do to help support the bees! Keep your green spaces bee-friendly by not spraying pesticides and by planting bee friendly flowers & plants, support your local beekeepers by buying local honey & beeswax. When you see bees out there, give them their space; they don’t want your food and they don’t want to sting you.
OK: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Caitlin: Get out there and try mead, people are often surprised by what we have to offer! There are several meaderies throughout BC and Canada and we all have our own versions of this ancient beverage.
OK: Below are the awards Meadow Vista has received!
So whether you are a lOKal or you are just passing through - be sure to check out this OKanagan treasure! Thank you Caitlin for taking the time to chat with us!
To purchase and explore more of Meadow Vista Honey Wine, head to their shop on the OK market: