In the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, the same extended sun exposure that gives you your golden glow ripens the region’s grapes just right to produce some of Canada’s best wine.
The ideal winemaking climate makes the valley home to over 100 wineries; still, this is not just a valley for vinification. Consider the lakes, the dining scene and challenging golf courses as added value attractions for a northern and unexpected alternative to Napa.
Kelowna, the largest city in the valley is an exciting hybrid of amazing food and wine, diverse shopping, vibrant culture, outdoor adventure, water activities and beach-based family vacations on the shores of Okanagan Lake. As if those accolades weren’t enough, the area also produces wine that has achieved international recognition. Home to Okanagan Valley’s very first vineyard that was planted solely for sacramental wine production and later removed during prohibition, Kelowna’s wine-making history is as ripe as the grapes that grow there now. Visit one of the city’s many wineries for tastings paired perfectly with beautiful and unique architecture reflective of both times past and present. The many galleries, museums, public art displays and flower gardens contribute to making the area a sophisticated destination and sightseeing can be accomplished via walking, biking or ATV tours.
The Naramata Bench
With a name as unique as its scenery, the Naramata Bench benefits from the long warm sunny days and lakeside cooling effects of the Okanagan Lake. Naramata winemakers boast a distinct terroir, from the gentle hills to the variable soil types, making it the area’s premier wine region. The same landscape that makes an impeccable pour is a beauty to behold within itself.
Locally known as OK Falls, the Okanagan Falls is a must-do destination in the Valley. In this quaint town that formerly featured twin falls, two famed vineyards produce award-winning wines. Have a taste for something more? Just south of Skaha Lake, OK Falls is full of outdoor recreation opportunities and plenty of wildlife viewing.
Once home to 19th century gold and silver mines, the quality of wine from this sub-region still has many believing the name was earned because of its golden grape growing conditions. The temperatures are typically higher in the Golden Mile than at the bottom of the valley and the backing hillsides create a unique soil composition for maximum nutrient maintenance. While the mines are long defunct, winemakers continue to take advantage of these circumstances to the delight of any one that enjoys good wine in view of a beautiful backdrop.
Centered on Osoyoos Lake, Osoyoos features a unique mix of terrain from grassland to the lush valley floor to Canada’s only real desert. Twenty plus wineries can be found within a quick and scenic drive and each contribute to the area’s reputation as a never-to-disappoint wine destination.