Wine tasting in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia

Wine tasting in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia

 

We kicked off our road trip through the Canadian Rockies with a visit to the sunny Okanagan Valley. 

After a night of camping in Manning Provincial Park, located in the heart of the Cascade Mountain Range, we arrived in Kelowna and were happy that our hotel had an outdoor pool (summer in the Okanagan is HOT!).

We have been to Kelowna several times before, but surprisingly we had never partaken in the activity that has made the region famous – wine tasting!

Wine tasting (and more importantly – wine making) in the Okanagan Valley has always been popular, but recently has exploded to become world renowned. Today there are over 170 wineries producing premium wines that consistently win national and international wine competitions, making the Okanagan Valley a must visit on the global wine trail.

The Okanagan’s dry, desert landscape and rolling hills remind us of Northern California and its famous wine region.  It’s not the typical scenery one expects when thinking of British Columbia, but the 200+ days of sun per year make for perfect grape growing conditions.

When it comes to wine tasting, we often find ourselves questioning whether its better to do a wine tour with an organized group or grab a map and do it on our own?

Of course both options have advantages:

Wine Tour Group

  • You can drink all you want and not have to worry about driving from winery to winery. This is a huge plus if you’re normally the designated driver!
  • You don’t need to worry about getting lost. Wine regions are typically quite large and it can be difficult to find the spot where the wine tasting occurs
  • You get introduced to wineries with great wine but limited marketing budgets. Often times the best wineries get overlooked for the bigger, well-known wineries
  • Pre-selected wineries make the decision easy!  There are times when thinking is over-rated
  • You get a  tour guide that gives knowledgeable insight about the grape growing and wine making process
  • You get to meet new people that share your interests
From Canadian Rockies Road Trip

Wine Tour on your own

  • You get to select the number of wineries to visit (most tours are limited to 3 or 4)
  • You choose which wineries to visit
  • You move at your own pace
  • It can be cheaper (ie. you don’t pay the tour cost).  Although you typically pay a wine tasting fee at each winery, which can add up and get annoying

After weighing the options above, we decided that a group tour of the region was the best option for us. We chose Club Wine Tours because they offered an evening dinner tour, which we felt was the perfect way to spend a hot summer evening in wine country.  They also offer custom wine tours and we found them reasonably priced.

From Canadian Rockies Road Trip

Our evening wine tour included visits to four organic wineries:

Kalala – Organic estate winery, only 2 years old, won over 22 awards.
Rollingdale Winery – Certified Organic Wines, 100% family owned and operated.
Beaumont Family Estate Winery – Family orientated and they entertain for their guests.  Open for 2 years.
Summerhill Pyramid Winery – Certified Organic Vineyard using no herbicides, pesticides, or chemical fertilizers in the soil.

Although we enjoyed all of the wineries, its tough to beat the sunset views at Summerhill Pyramid Winery. We’ve added a few more photos below.

From Canadian Rockies Road Trip

Patio views from the Summerhill restaurant, overlooking the vineyards and Lake Okanagan

From Canadian Rockies Road Trip

Classic tourist shot in front of the giant wine statue at Summerhill Pyramid Winery. Notice the pyramid in the backdrop – there is an interesting story about the purpose and meaning behind this strange pyramid.

From Canadian Rockies Road Trip

Delicious plates of cheese and meats paired with a bottle of Baco Noir.

From Canadian Rockies Road Trip

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Where is your favourite place to go wine tasting?
Share you secrets in the comment section below!

About Traveling Canucks

Cam and Nicole Wears are newbie parents living in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. A passion for travel and outdoor adventure has taken them to over 65 countries on 6 continents in the past 10 years. Learn more about their story here. Follow them on Google+ and subscribe to their travel newsletter.