The Wine Wall at Maverick Winery.  Photo: The Vancouverite

The Wine Wall at Maverick Winery. Photo: The Vancouverite

Grapes on the estate of Maverick Winery   Photo: The Vancouverite

Grapes on the estate of Maverick Winery  Photo: The Vancouverite

Ah, family vacations. 

All too often, these weeks of 'relaxation' are focused entirely on the kids and the parents end up exhausted and not relaxed in any shape or form by the end of the week. You need a vacation from your vacation. I don't subscribe to this - I strongly believe that vacations should be balanced so that the parents can also have some fun. It is, after all, their vacation too. 

When you're in wine country, in particular, this can get tricky. Luckily, many wineries in the Okanagan - and particularly where we were, in southern Okanagan (Oliver, Osoyoos and Okanagan Falls) cater to families. On our recent trip to Osoyoos, the southernmost part of the Okanagan and a few degrees warmer than the rest of the area (which can be a huge benefit) we wanted to discover some newer, interesting wineries than the usual ones out there, and that were family-friendly. I've been going to the Okanagan every year since I was little, camping with my family and swimming in the many lakes there with my brother. So it's always fun to find something new. Below is one of my favorite wineries in the southern Okanagan. Feel free to add some of your favourite new wineries in the comments section.

Maverick Estate Winery (Oliver)

Located just north of Osoyoos on Highway 97 sits Maverick Estate Winery, a family winery led by Bertus Albertyn, a South African winemaker who married his childhood friend, Elzaan Schalk and immigrated to BC's wine country. Together with Elzaan's parents, they purchased the acreage that is now home to Maverick Estate Winery. For the kids, there's a beautiful patio with lots of seating that provides gorgeous views of the valley. Pack a lunch and the kids can eat there (like ours did) while you sip the Maverick portfolio inside.

Albertyn, who was the winemaker for Burrowing Owl back in 2009, has taken a more Old World approach with his own winery. The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc is a lovely, aromatic wine with hints of citrus and a minerality that provides complexity not found in the more grassy, New Zealand versions. I was also a big fan of their 2014 Pinot Gris, aged in French Oak and fruit forward with aromas of grapefruit and pear. If you're into bubbly, their rare Ella release is worth a shot - primarily Pinot Noir (80%) and Chardonnay (20%), it's pale pink and leaves a lasting creaminess not found in other sparkling wines in the valley. You can only taste the Ella on Fridays so plan accordingly. Limit of 2 bottles of Ella per person.