It was a triumphant return to live music — a post-pandemic party, born out of pent-up demand — at the Mission Hill Family Estate in West Kelowna.
Who better to kick off the winery’s summer concert series, after a two-year hiatus caused by COVID, than acclaimed Canadian country-rock band Blue Rodeo?
Lead singer Jim Cuddy and company played a two-hour non-stop show in the cellar’s outdoor amphitheater Wednesday night to a sold-out crowd of 800.
The audience enjoyed it and Cuddy returned the favor by singing all the band’s hits and encouraging people to sing along and come up to the stage to dance.
These hits, of course, included Til I Am Myself Again, Head Over Heels, and Rain Down on Me.
The band teased the crowd, recording their most famous song – Try – for the encore.
Spectators treated the evening as a long-awaited social mix, as they put on a musical performance.
Many arrived early for the 7:30 p.m. concert to have a glass of wine and a chat.
Others preceded the concert with a picnic on the wine estate or a dinner at the restaurant Terrasse, Salle Chagall or long table in the loggia.
The long-table dinner included welcome bubbles (Mission Hill Exhilaration Brut Rose), tomato and bocconcini salad with Jagged Rock Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon, and beef tenderloin with a red blend of Quatrain.
Mission Hill has three more concerts on the schedule this summer – country star Dan Brody on July 28 (tickets on sale now), country-R&B singer Johnny Reid on July 29 (sold out) and jazz trumpeter Chris Botti and Friends August 30 (some tickets still available).
Tickets to MissionHillWinery.com.
Mission Hill’s partner winery, CedarCreek in Kelowna, is also hosting concerts this season. On July 20, indie rocker Tim Baker takes the stage and on August 17, it’s blues guitarist and singer Matt Anderson.
Ticket information at CedarCreek.bc.ca.
Jim Cuddy returns for another show
Cuddy will be back in the Okanagan, a little solo, on July 29 for a concert at Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards.
Cuddy will perform on the cellar’s outdoor patio with Blue Rodeo guitarist Colin Cripps and violinist Anne Lindsay.
The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. and Cuddy will play until sunset.
Tickets are $145 for the concert or $295 for the concert and three-course dinner with wine at [email protected]
Fitzpatrick boasts of having the finest vineyard concert venues right on the clifftop crush deck with 180 degree views in the background
vineyards, Okanagan Lake and mountains.
Fitzpatrick is also a sparkling wine house, so concertgoers will surely want to enjoy the show while sipping bubbles.
The signature sparkling of Fitzpatrick’s Champagne method is the 2017 Fitz Brut ($33.50 a bottle, retail) and its top-tier sparkling is the 2018 Blancs de Blancs, made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, which sells $44.50 a bottle.
Talented and versatile winemaker Sarah Bain also crafts a range of still wines for Fitzpatrick:
—Riesling The Lookout 2021 ($19.50)
— The Elusive Pinot Noir 2020 ($28.50)
— 2021 Intruder Gewurztraminer ($19.50)
— Big Leap Chardonnay 2020 ($24.50)
– 2021 Pink Mile Rose ($22.50)
— Sudden Inversion Red Meritage 2019 ($29.50)
— White Runabout 2021 ($17.50)
Steve MacNaull is an Okanagan wine lover and Canadian wine researcher. Email: [email protected]