Forget Napa Valley, just a four-hour drive away from Vancouver lies some of the best vineyards in the world.
With 40 wineries in and around Kelowna, and the weather heating up, now is the perfect time to plan a weekend getaway to Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley. But choosing which ones to visit can be tough and daunting, so we spent a few days this month visiting a handful of the best ones to put on your summer must-try list right now.
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Whether you want to turn up for a quick glass of rosé on a patio, or slowly sip your chardonnay in a luxurious tasting room, we’ve listed some experiences you’ll surely be up for if you’re visiting this BC paradise.
It would take you a week to check out all of the amazing wineries in the area, so to make your summer getaway plans even easier, here are our picks for five must-experience wineries in Kelowna from our weekend.
Summerhill Pyramid Winery is a must-hit destination for anyone who is visiting wineries in Kelowna because it’s Canada’s largest certified organic winery.
The biodynamic wine is aged in the awe-inspiring cellar pyramid, which was built according to the ratios of Sacred Geometry like the Great Pyramid of Egypt (and it’s 4-storeys tall). This winery boasts killer lake and vineyard views and a restaurant – the Sunset Organic Bistro – that has a patio like no other. This spot is all about organic wine and food, and aims to always deliver these offerings to patrons and customers in a socially responsible way.
This was Canada’s first premier certified organic winery, and has won numerous awards for its Icewine and its sparkling wine – it’s no wonder this spot is BC’s most-visited winery.
Address: 4870 Upper Mission Drive, Kelowna
This creative small-batch winery’s tasting room is located in a space at the back of the owners’ private residence (AKA their gorgeous home).
Patrons who step into this spot with be greeted with hip hop music and bright and vibrant artwork. The art of the walls is eclectic and it contrasts nicely with the black and white easy-to-read label that’s on all of Kitsch’s bottles.
This funky new-kid-on-the-block winery is approachable for those who don’t know a whole lot about wine, and despite Kitsch winning Best of Varietal at Okanagan Spring Wine Fest for their 2015 Riesling, this is one label that doesn’t really take itself too seriously (they even recommend pairing their wines with Cards Against Humanity).
Address: 3330 Neid Road, Kelowna
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, CedarCreek Estate Winery is gorgeous and has a stellar view for those eating at the Vineyard Terrace Restaurant, open daily from 11 am to 8 pm. We’d say you can’t really beat this patio view, and the culinary offerings are definitely a highlight as well.
Known for their knowledge of regional terroir, CedarCreek has earned numerous awards and international acclaim, and it was one of BC’s pioneering first eight wineries.
This place is peaceful, and considering its philosophy is “Respect the land, honour tradition, pursue perfection,” we’d say you’ll feel pretty fulfilled after some wine-fuelled R&R once you leave this spot, especially if your visit included one of their Tuesday night sunset yoga sessions.
Address: 5225 Lakeshore Road, Kelowna
The vineyards at St Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery were first planted in 1928, making them some of the oldest in the Okanagan Valley. Two vineyards in one, (St Hubertus and Oak Bay) this 76 acre plot of land is now owned by two brothers (the Geberts) who ensure their winery uses sustainable farming methods to created wines that truly possess the spirit and terroir of the north Okanagan Valley.
The owners believe in minimal intervention when creating wines using a hands-on approach to deliver 100% estate grown wines to customers with relaxed hospitality.
Address: 5225 Lakeshore Road, Kelowna
Located on one of Okanagan Valley’s premier vineyard properties, Tantalus Vineyards is a stunning place that’s widely known for having some of the best Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay that you can buy, as well as being a state of the art LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) winery – and the first and only one in BC, too.
Tantalus offers premium, single vineyard wines with fruit sustainably grown on the vineyard, which they pour in their tasting room that feels more like a modern Canadian art gallery.
Visitors also learn about the cultural significance of the winery’s black label wines and the hand-carved masks that appear on the bottles, which were created by First Nations artist Dempsey Bob. Some of these masks are on display in the tasting room in South East Kelowna.
Address: 1670 Dehart Road, Kelowna
Still thirsty? If there’s one thing wine lovers know about Kelowna it’s that there is plenty to see and savour, so consider this your starting point for the summer. For more wine adventures, follow one of Kelowna’s five wine trails, for a region-by-region taste of what’s going on in this wine paradise.
And for those looking for a luxurious treat, complete your Kelowna getaway by staying at The Royal Private Residence Club at the Delta Marriott. Nestled in the heart of downtown, and along a stunning seven-acre waterfront, the rooftop pool offers some of the best views of the city. The Residence Club is also steps away from the best spots for delicious eats. From Krafty Kitchen + Bar’s Hip Hop Brunch, to casual drinks at BNA Brewing it’s all at your doorstep. And save some room for dinner, because Kelowna’s best dining along the waterfront is at the Delta’s OAK + CRU. The freshest locally crafted menu includes a perfectly seared sable dish, which easily pairs up with some of the wines from the region.
Disclaimer: Travel, accommodation, and meals were made possible by Tourism Kelowna. All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the author.