One of the most well-known wine-growing areas in British Columbia is the Okanagan. The area is renowned for its sunny, dry climate, which is ideal for grape cultivation.
Are you planning a trip to its wineries and wondering which ones you put on a priority list to make your trip more memorable? dont worry; we are here to help.
The distinctive Okanagan microclimate produces grapes with nuanced flavours, frequently accompanied by hints of blackcurrant and blueberry. It’s nearly impossible to decide how to enjoy Okanagan wines because there are so many options!
The Okanagan wineries throughout the Okanagan Valley offer various experiences, from the casual wine tasting at OHO Cellars in Oliver to the intimate and enlightening visit to Winery Terra in the region’s heart, near Penticton.
No matter which winery you visit, you will surely learn something new and have a great experience.
You can also visit wineries when the tasting room is open or book a tour with a winery driver to enjoy the scenery and learn more about the winemaking process.
Let’s go over them one by one.
1. The History and Significance of Okanagan Valley
1.1 The Valley
The history of Okanagan Valley is closely tied to the Okanagan River, which provides the name for the area.
It is stretchy from the US border to Kelowna and is described as the Napa Valley of British Columbia. Okanagan wineries offer some of the best wines worldwide, and with over 1,000 acres of vineyards, the Okanagan is the size of Rhode Island.
The Okanagan Valley is a beautiful part of British Columbia and is a popular getaway for visitors from all over the province and throughout Canada.
The Okanagan was initially home to the Okanagan, a tribe of Native Americans who lived in the area for several thousand years.
European settlers first arrived in the Okanagan in the late 1800s, and the region began producing wine in the early 1900s. The Okanagan has since grown into one of the most famous wine regions in British Columbia.
The Stanley Park Botanical Garden and the Cheakamus Crossing Vineyards are just two of the picturesque attractions that can be found in the Okanagan today.
The region is also known for its numerous wineries, allowing visitors to learn about the winemaking process or sample some of its best wines.
Okanagan is an ideal vacation destination for those exploring the area’s scenic landscape and activities.
1.2 Growing grapes
The region is in the Coast Mountain rain shadow, meaning the Okanagan receives much less precipitation than other regions of the province. The weather in the Okanagan Valley tends to be warm and dry.
The warm days and cool nights are perfect for grape growing. Also, The area is sometimes hit by solid thunderstorms, resulting in hail and heavy rainfall.
Winters are generally mild, with most rain falling between June and August. Spring and fall are usually the warmest and driest months, with July and September the coldest and wettest months.
The soil in the Okanagan is highly varied, contributing to the large number of different grape varietals grown in the regions. The soils in the Okanagan are primarily clay, with some silica and sand.
Many of the most well-known grape varietals, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, require heavy soil nutrient requirements, so the Okanagan is an excellent region for these grapes.
The soil in the Okanagan is composed of a majority of decomposed granite and decomposed basalt, with some clay, loam, and sand added for structure and texture.
The Okanagan soil is predominantly volcanic, contributing to the region’s unique climate and grape-growing abilities. The region’s unique soil is why the Okanagan is well-known throughout the wine world.
There are grown more than 60 varieties of grapes. The majority of the grapes grown in the Okanagan are used for winemaking. Red grapes are primarily grown in the nearby Columbia Valley.
The most common grapes are Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Okanagan’s most well-known wineries include Cheakamus, Castle Rock, and Wente Vineyards.
However, the Okanagan is also home to a few fruit farms that grow other crops. The most common grape varieties in the Okanagan are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc.
However, the area is also home to unique varieties, including Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, often grown in cooler climates.
2.The Best Okanagan Wineries
1. Kelowna wineries
The third-largest city in the Okanagan Valley and one of British Columbia’s fastest-growing regions in Kelowna. The Okanagan region’s tourism hub is there as well.
Kelowna is located in the south of the province and is the westernmost community in Canada. It is a vibrant wine region. The vineyards are encountered on the shores of the lake; vineyards are visible from the lake.
It is home to many beautiful wineries, which are great places to visit if you want to learn more about wine.
There are several different winery tours that you can take, including wine barrel cellar tours, winery tours, and wine tasting tours.
Many wineries offer discounts to local school groups and groups of 10 or more, so it is worth asking about group discounts if you are visiting on a school field trip.
Kelowna has a handful of wineries, most family-run and have been around for generations. One of the more well-known wineries is Pinnacle Ridge Wines, located just minutes outside the city.
The winery offers tastings and tours and has a retail store where you can purchase their wines and wine accessories. If you’re looking for something more unique, head to Soma Vineyards instead.
Wine lovers in Kelowna can enjoy a scenic drive with stops at some of the region’s best wineries. The award-winning Mer Soleil has been a Kelowna wine industry leader for over 100 years.
For an educational and entertaining experience, visit the winery’s barrel room and learn the winemaking process from the experts. Or, take a guided tour of the Mer Soleil Cellar Door and discover the secrets to the winery’s award-winning wines.
The Mer Soleil Cellar Door is only open to guests who pre-booked a tour.
The Kelowna area is the largest city in the Okanagan; the Kelowna area often receives the most attention.
However, the Okanagan Valley is beautiful and has many interesting wineries and attractions. The Oldest Winery is Oblate Mission, located in the Kelowna region.
Also, One of Okanagan’s most famous Okanagan wineries is Mission Hill Winery. Mission Hill is located up in the hills above Kelowna and is a family-owned winery producing award-winning wines for over 150 years.
The winery offers some different wine tours, including a tour of their award-winning wine cellars and a tour of vineyards.
Mission Hill is also home to one of the largest collections of French oak barrels in the Okanagan, used to age the wine.
2. Summerland Wineries
One of the most famous wine tour options is the Summerland Wine Tour. The Summerland Wine Tour takes place each summer, and it is a two-day tour in the late spring and early summer.
Summerland Winery is west of the lakeside, which has hot summer mornings and cooler evenings, opposite Naramata Bench.
Summerland is an area of the Okanagan located in the heart of the Okanagan Valley. Summerland hosts great individual wineries like 8th-generation vineyards, perfect places for Italian wine lovers.
This tasting room is a must-visit; other Okanagan wineries are Dirty laundry vineyards and Sumac Ridge.
3. Naramata Bench
Naramata is located on the beautiful Naramata Bench, a series of hills parallel to the Okanagan River. The hills are dotted with several different wineries.
Naramata Bench Winery is a small family-owned winery located in the Okanagan Valley. The wine is made in a traditional fashion using natural winemaking techniques.
The vineyard is situated in the Okanagan Valley’s Naramata Bench, a stunning and untamed region. Nothing is more stunning than spending a nice summer afternoon at Naramata Bench.
Some of the great wineries to visit in Naramata bench Van Westen Vineyards, Lock and Worth, Daydreamer, and Origin Wines; if you prefer red wine over white wine, then D’Angelo Winery is a perfect place for you.
One of Okanagan’s most picturesque wine destinations is the Penticton area. The Penticton area is a wine region located in the southern portion of the Okanagan near Skaha lake.
It has vineyards to visit and is situated on the Naramata Bench. It is a wonderful area to explore because several vineyards border it.
The soil in Penticton is rich with volcanic soil, which gives it acidity, minerality, and freshness to the grapes.
Penticton wineries are famous for making delicious wines like Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, and Rosé with Pinot Noir and sparkling wines.
Wineries in Penticton for red are Poplar Grove Winery; Laughing stock is an award-winning vineyard. Joie Farm Winery, Nichol vineyard, Cresent Hill, and Red Rooster are for whites.
5. Okanagan Falls
The Okanagan Falls is a region in the Okanagan famous for its waterfalls and beautiful scenery. The region is located just north of Penticton and is a great place to visit.
The waterfall is located just off the lakeside of the Okanagan River and is a must-see for visitors. The waterfall is a natural wonder, surrounded by several stunning wineries, making it a popular place to visit.
The Vineyards are stretched from Northwards to the East Bench of Skaha lake and the shore of Vaseux Lake. This small region has ten wineries and 30 vineyards.
The most common wines are Sparkling wines, Gewürztraminer, and Riesling. Along with the most popular winery collection, Okanagan falls is famous for its wonderful view of vineyards and lakes from south to north.
The region has a small but notable winery collection, a Liquidity Winery, See Ya Later Ranch, a place to relax and is very friendly, and Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery.
The Oliver Winery is one of the most famous Okanagan wineries. The winery is located in the beautiful Nicomekl Valley, on the lake’s west side.
The Nicomekl Valley is a beautiful area surrounding the Okanagan Mountain Range. The Nicomekl Valley is a great place to visit and is home to several wineries.
The Oliver Winery is known for its delicious wines like Merlot, Syrah, and Zinfandel. The tasting room is open to the public, making it a must-visit. The winery is also a great place to visit with friends and family.
The Oliver Winery is a great winery to visit. The winery has a very comfortable atmosphere, which is great for looking for a nice place to relax.
The Oliver Winery is considered the wine capital of Canada and produces half of all wines in the world. It has so wide different varieties to decide where to start. The tasting room is very comfortable and is a great place to visit with friends and family.
Osoyoos is a town located in the southern area of Okanagan valley. The area’s semi-arid climate produces very hot and dry days.
It is Canada’s hottest spot. Vineyards around the Osoyoos winery are generally planted with Bordeaux red varieties and Merlot, which has the largest plantation.
The best winery to visit in Osoyoos is Nk’mip Cellars, whose beautiful desert location and view of Okanagan lake. Le Grand Vin red wine was built for long cellaring in Bordeaux Tradition. The winemaking process includes blending only two wines.
This is the first indigenous-owned winery.
8. Lake Country
Lake Country winery is famous for Pinot Noirs and aromatic white wines. It has eight wineries, is a beautiful property, and has a collection of crisp, fruity whites.
The winery is located near Kelowna and International airport, which makes it accessible for amazing lake views and a range of variety for tasting.
The best wineries to visit in Lake Country are the 50th parallel estate and Gray Monk Estate Winery.
Frequently Asked Question
1. What You Should About The Tour Option In Okanagan Wineries
Okanagan Valley is located 4 hours east of Vancouver and about 6 hours from Seattle.
The airport is in Kelowna; tickets are expensive because it’s a small regional airport. You can book a wine tour or rent a car after arriving.
Okanagan Wineries has so many different wineries that it’s difficult to decide which winery should visit. Generally, Okanagan wineries are open from April to October, seven days a week, from 10 am to 5 or 6 pm.
But check before visiting about opening months, time, and vary by wineries. Small groups can visit on a walk-in basis, and large groups can book a tasting visit beforehand.
Most wineries have a 5-dollar tasting fee waived with the purchase of wine.
The Okanagan Valley is easily reached by road. The best way to tour the Okanagan Wineries is by vehicle; it allows flexibility in the choice of wineries and length.
Large group wine tour
- Private small group wine tour
- Shuttle Bus
- Hire taxi
- Bike tour
- Walking tour
2. Best Time to visit Okanagan Wineries?
Summers are the best time to visit Okanagan Wineries, but late spring (May and June) is recommended for more varietal choices and quieter tasting rooms.
The tasting fee of wines varies from large Okanagan wineries to upmarket wineries, like 30 dollars charge for tasting.
Most wineries’ prices are 5 to 10 dollars for 4/5 varieties.
3. Are There Good Eating and Accommodation options in the valley?
Most wineries have on-site restaurants and cafes, and some have designated picnic areas. Drive along the Okanagan river and visit the best Okanagan wineries with wine rooms and restaurants.
- Delta Hotel by Marriot.
- Penticton Lakeside Resort.
- Summerland Resort and Spa.
- Watermark Beach Resort Walnut Beach Resort.