Wine Celebrities go head-to-head in Okanagan blind tasting competition

Terrafina at Hester Creek is thrilled to be hosting the first of a series of Tasting Games where wine celebrities pit their taste buds against each other while the audience tastes along.

Thanks to Global Okanagan and Shay Galor for dropping by for a lesson in blind wine tasting in anticipation of the Tasting Games competition.


RauDZ Creative Concepts is opening ‘The Okanagan Table – kitchen | events | catering

Restaurant innovators, RauDZ Creative Concepts Ltd. (RCC), are bringing their latest idea to life in downtown Kelowna.  Like ‘The Okanagan Table’ cookbook that encouraged us to get in the kitchen and cook, this new space, ‘The Okanagan Table – kitchen | events | catering’ continues to share that enthusiasm with almost endless opportunities to enjoy food and its preparation.

RCC co-owners chef and author Rod Butters, wine guru Audrey Surrao along with RCC Executive Director of Operations Bernard Casavant, bring years of restaurant and hospitality experience together with this latest project.  Their award winning culinary, service and bar teams will continue to bring their warm hospitality and experience to The Okanagan Table – kitchen | events | catering.

Located in a beautiful heritage building at 1571 Pandosy Street, steps from popular local retailers Mosaic Books and Olive & Elle, The Okanagan Table – kitchen | events | catering adds a fifth location to the successful RCC restaurant group, consisting of RauDZ Regional Table, micro bar & bites, Sunny’s Modern Diner and Terrafina at Hester Creek by RauDZ.

The Okanagan Table – kitchen | events | catering is unlike their other spaces.  It’s not a restaurant; it’s a unique venue for use as a kitchen, customized event space, off-site catering preparation.

Award winning architect Tim Bullinger of Arca 3 Design Studio, who designed the RauDZ bar, micro bar • bites and Sunny’s Modern Diner is creating both a highly functional but upscale environment combining function with a dash of glamour.  Local trades have already begun work in the space with an anticipated summer opening date.

The kitchen will become the commissary kitchen for the four RCC restaurants allowing the culinary teams increased space to facilitate whole animal butchery, stock making, in-house training as well as lots of space for pastry chef Jason Whitfield to develop his desserts and treats for the properties.

In addition, this unique space provides the setting for almost unlimited creative events.  With seating for 30 or stand up reception space for 50, the space will host chef-led cooking classes, wine education seminars and tastings, and private events.  Moveable telescopic tables will run down the center of the space providing what Chef Rod Butters describes as the ‘ultimate chef’s table’ dining.  What used to be reserved exclusively for VIPs can now be yours at The Okanagan Table – kitchen | events | catering with guests seated steps away from the kitchen action, and menus created especially for the evening with wine pairings carefully curated to heighten the experience.

With the addition of the commissary kitchen RauDZ will now be able to facilitate off-property catering for exclusive private events with menus created by the RCC award-winning culinary teams utilizing the very best fresh, local and seasonal ingredients.

Jars of the addictive RJB Blackberry Ketchup, copies of the best-selling cookbook, ‘The Okanagan Table: The Art of Everyday Home Cooking’ and some exclusive kitchen wares that the RCC culinary teams use and love will be available in a small retail area as well.  Limited food items including the house made ‘Soul Stock’ will be ready for take-home use.

Over the years, RauDZ Creative Concepts has built a brand that attracts talent and aligns with the best in the industry while creating a quality experience for the guests.  The opening of The Okanagan Table – kitchen | events | catering in Summer 2019, allows the RauDZ team the opportunity to fulfill the frequent requests from guests for cooking classes, catering, private parties and other creative culinary experiences.

Visit for more information.



Wine Country: Exploring the Okanagan’s Golden Mile

The following article was written by Joanne Sasvari and published in the Vancouver Sun on April 11, 2019

Read the full article here.

Wine Country:  Exploring the Okanagan’s Golden Mile

It’s another perfect day in wine country.  And there are few places better to greet it than right here on the Golden Mile Bench.

The birds know it’s morning before you do. A single sweet note breaks the velvety silence and is quickly joined by a chorus of birdsong. Grape leaves rustle as some small creature wanders through the vineyard in search of breakfast. The inky darkness lightens to smoky grey and then brightens to gold as sunlight spills molten over the bluffs across the valley.

The bench is a steep, sandy, gravelly, loamy slope just south of Oliver, pop. 5,000, the little town known as the Wine Capital of Canada. It’s British Columbia’s first sub-geographical indication, a unique place within wine country that just happens to be the perfect spot to grow lush Chardonnay and elegant Merlot. Some of B.C.’s greatest producers can be found here doing just that, among them Culmina Family Estate Winery, CheckMate Artisanal Winery, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, Fairview Cellars, Road 13 Vineyards and Hester Creek Estate Winery.

Days move lazily here, broken by delicious moments. Hop in the car—or on your bike, though it’s easier to load cases of wine in your car—and meander along the numbered country roads that lead to Black Sage Road across the valley, where wineries produce peppery Syrahs and voluptuous Viognier. Head north, past the massive boulder known as McIntyre Bluff, and you’ll bump into Penticton’s twin sandy beaches. Head south, and you’ll find yourself in the desert surrounding Osoyoos and, just a few metres further, the U.S. border. But here, between the Golden Mile and Black Sage benches, it’s all rolling hills striped with vineyards, and hidden in their folds, people who want to give you lovely things to eat and drink.

You’ll need a central location to start from, a home base. A guest house like the Tuscan-style ones at Hester Creek Estate Winery will do quite nicely. They have kitchenettes, comfy furniture and, perched as they are high above the winery, patios with sweeping views across vineyards and valley. You can make yourself right at home without having to worry about pesky details like bringing in the harvest.

The winery itself is historic in this valley. Fifty years ago, back when everyone else in the Okanagan was still planting hybrid varieties like Vidal and Marechal Foch, an Italian immigrant named Joe Busnardo planted the first vitis vinifera here, including the Trebbiano vines that still produce a bright, crisp white wine each spring. The wines he made from these noble grapes were, by all accounts, terrible, but he proved that they would thrive here.

In the 1980s, Busnardo opened Divino Estate Winery on the site, and when he sold it in 1996, the new owners named it for the creek that runs along the south side of the property. In 2004, Prince George businessman Curt Garland bought the winery and hired Rob Summers, a veteran winemaker from Niagara, to produce its wines, which, please note, are no longer terrible. Far from it. The Cabernet Franc is elegant yet approachable, all black fruit and violets, and the Bordeaux blend known as The Judge is a powerful combination of juicy fruit and supple tannins.

Grab a bottle (or two) from the wine shop and some cheese and charcuterie from Oliver Eats, the new gourmet deli from local chef Derek Uhlemann. Or pick up some authentic tacos al pastor from El Sabor De Marina, the turquoise-blue Mexican food stand just outside town, if you can wait till you get home to dive into their savoury depths. Or, if you’re feeling adventuresome, head out to one of the great restaurants in the neighbourhood, which, happily, are all located at wineries: Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, The Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, Masala Bistro at Kismet Estate Winery, or Terrafina right here, just down the hill at Hester Creek.

About a year ago, chef Rod Butters’ RauDZ Creative Concepts took over the Tuscan-themed restaurant, and while chef de cuisine James Hanna still takes inspiration from the Mediterranean, Terrafina’s new menu is proudly local and seasonal. It abounds in pastas, risottos and pizzas made with fresh local produce. Though truth be told, you could simply order the fully customizable boards that come loaded with marinated veg, cured meats and cheeses and be perfectly happy sipping wine at a patio table and watching the glow from the setting sun dance across the vines.

From Terrafina, it’s just a short stroll under the stars back to your guest villa. The night falls gently here, cool and fragrant, cattle lowing softly in the hills, birds trilling goodnight. Rest well in your suite, happy in the knowledge that tomorrow you can do it all again.


RauDZ Creative Concepts restaurants launch their own craft gin

We cannot tell a lie – The Truth is out and it’s ‘The Whole Truth’.  RauDZ Creative Concepts (RCC) is launching their own craft gin, ‘The Whole Truth’ in collaboration with award-winning distillery, Okanagan Spirits.

‘The Whole Truth’ gin was created to pair with the classic gin and tonic cocktail ‘The Truth’, a drink featured on the opening day cocktail list of RauDZ Regional Table back in Spring 2009.  It’s been a hit for the past 10 years and now with the creation of ‘The Whole Truth’ gin, it has found it’s perfect pairing.

In keeping with the RauDZ ‘eat local’ philosophy, you are also ‘drinking local’ with the botanicals found in this custom gin.  RauDZ Creative Concepts ‘The Whole Truth’ gin is cucumber-forward with florals in the background and contains mock orange, a native BC shrub, that was hand foraged by Okanagan Spirits’ Tyler Dyck from Poplar Point, at the foot of Knox Mountain, less than three km from the door of the restaurant. Mint, cucumber, lemon verbena and orris root- the root stock of an iris, each add refreshing, cooling notes that are perfect for gin and tonics.

This farm-to-flask gin is available exclusively at RauDZ Regional Table, micro bar & bites, Sunny’s Modern Diner, and Terrafina at Hester Creek by RauDZ.

Although originally conceived for ‘The Whole Truth’ cocktail, Wes Hunter, Beverage Operations has put his creative bar skills to the test, developing a custom cocktail for each of the RauDZ Creative Concepts restaurants highlighting this new gin.  Terrafina at Hester Creek by RauDZ will feature the gin in a white Negroni with white vermouth, Sunny’s Modern Diner pairs it with citrus and prosecco for a breakfast bubbly and micro bar & bites serves it in their twist on a Moscow Mule.

‘The Whole Truth’ gin by RauDZ Creative Concepts launches on the cocktail menus at RauDZ Regional Table and micro bar & bites on April 11 and at Sunny’s Modern Diner and Terrafina at Hester Creek by RauDZ on April 12.

About RauDZ Creative Concepts Ltd.

RauDZ Creative Concepts Ltd. own/operate a selection of the Okanagan Valley’s premiere dining venues and are recognized as industry leaders.  Award winning farm to table restaurant RauDZ Regional Table, International influenced micro bar & bites and Sunny’s Modern Diner are located in downtown Kelowna with Italian inspired Terrafina at Hester Creek by RauDZ in Oliver.  Further expanding their culinary influence RCC Co-owner Chef Rod Butters released his first cookbook, ‘The Okanagan Table:  The Art of Home Cooking’ in Summer 2017.