Description 1 of 4


The Okanagan Valley is the most productive viticultural area of British Columbia in Canada. Once Canada was settled in the early 1800s, much of the country resigned itself to growing labrusca varietals such as Baco Noir, Concord and Seyval Blanc, which were resilient to the extremes in weather, but not so instantly endearing to the palate. However, many wine-makers in the Okanagan Valley, some of which has a comparably warmer, drier climate, persisted with vinifera vines until they found those most suitable to the growing conditions. In the mid-20th century, once modern techniques came into practice, most labrusca was pulled in favor of the more marketable vinifera
The Okanagan Valley has an array of microclimates and soil types. The area to the south in the Osoyoos subregion is considerably warm and arid, with dessert-like conditions in some areas and low rainfall. To the north in Kelowna, it’s much cooler and wetter. The south is sandy and rocky while the north is a mixture of clay, silt and mineral-rich glacial deposits. 
The south is famous for its Bordeaux varietals and blends from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc as well as Syrah. Further north excels in aromatic white wines from Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris as well as Sylvaner and Chardonnay. A range of styles is available from Okanagan Valley from reds, whites, and rosés, to sparkling wines, late harvest dessert wines and even some Icewines. 
The subregions of Okanagan Valley are:
*Black Sage - Osoyoos
*Golden Mile
*Okanagan Falls ~Amanda Schuster
– Description from Amanda Schuster

Back to top

Description 2 of 4

Over 100 miles long with close to 100 wineries, this is the biggest, oldest and most productive grape-growing region in British Columbia. The Okanagan Valley DVA, with 4,000 acres under vine, covers various microclimates, although dry sunny conditions prevail in the lee of the Coastal Range. Most of the Pacific's moisture is filtered from the air by the time it reaches the Valley, but Lake Okanagan provides ample irrigation, while steep slopes intensify the heat. The southern Okanagan, where 70% of the Valley’s wine is produced, is the northern end of the Sonora Desert (the only classified desert in Canada!). Sunny, hot dry summers and less than six inches of annual rainfall provide favorable conditions in the South for reds, notably Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, as well as the principle whites, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. The North is cooler but still dry, with just 16 inches of annual rainfall. Here, German varieties like Siegerrebe, Sylvaner, Optima and Ortega are more suitable. The dissimilarity from north to south continues in the soils, with glacial stone, silt and clay dominating in the North giving way to sand and gravel in the South. Aside from aridness, the Okanagan Valley DVA is really two regions in one, with such marked differences that further appellation division may be warranted. In fact, to a degree, the cluster of wineries on the east side of the Lake's southern extreme have already begun to identify themselves under the 'unofficial' appellation name Naramata Bench because of the distinct microclimate that exists in their area. – Description from Appellation America (view original content)

Back to top

Description 3 of 4

Great place to grow up!

Back to top

Description 4 of 4

Thanks for correcting my misapprehension that the word labrusca included an "m". Apparently that's a genus of flies!

The great wines of the Okanagan - many of them bold Bordeaux blends - are hard to find, even for the residents of the same province. One of my biggest pleasures is vacationing in the Okanagan region, visiting and buying at some favourite wineries, and discovering new favourites among the now 100+ establishments.

There's something for everyone. Not mentioned in the foregoing descriptions are the dry rosés and rieslings that have cropped up in recent years.

The Similkameen Valley west of Osoyoos deserves mention as well. Arguably separate from the Okanagan, and applying for appelation status.

– Description from Canucklecabeza

Back to top

« Back to Okanagan Valley Overview

View larger map

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals

Recent Forum PostsView all

Okanagan Valley wine ratings and reviews

Snooth Media Network