British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, aka. BC Wine Country, is home to some 180 wineries. In addition to the variety of fantastic wines made (everything from Pinot Noir to Riesling to Ice Wine) Okanagan wineries also boast some incredible venues with stunning views. With so many to choose from it’s hard to know where to start. Read on for the inside scoop on everything you need to know about Okanagan Valley wineries and the 10 best okanagan wineries you don’t want to miss!
About the Okanagan Valley:
Many people don’t realize that Canada produces some amazing wine. The Okanagan Valley has a dry, desert like climate that is perfect for growing a huge number of grape varietals. Fun fact – during the summer months the Okanagan Valley gets more sunlight each day then Napa Valley!
The Okanagan Valley is a pretty big area, geographically, with multiple towns comprising it. In broad terms you can look at the Okanagan Valley as divided into 7 wine regions:
– West Kelowna
– Kelowna / Lake Country
You need at least a few days to cover all of these regions, and for the sake of this post the 10 Don’t Miss Okanagan Wineries will come from all of the regions (I’ll identify which under each heading). Maybe next summer I’ll break it down further and provide a guide to the best wineries in each region!
When to Go:
May to (early) October would be peak season, though some wineries are open all year round. In these lovely current COVID times many wineries have changed their policies (ex: no indoor seating at some, reservations required at others) but in general most wineries are open and very much looking forward to hosting guests!
How to Go:
Once you get to the Okanagan Valley – a 4 hour drive from Vancouver or 5.5 hour drive/ 1 hour flight from Seattle – you can either drive between wineries (if you have a designated non-drinker!) or hire a driver. There are many driver services available that let you build your own tour and decide what wineries to visit. If you’re sticking to wineries in the same area you can also rent bikes and bike between them!
1. Mission Hill Winery:
One of the biggest most opulent wineries in the Okanagan, Mission Hill will make you feel like you’re in a vineyard in Tuscany. The grounds themselves are worth the visit. The wines are some of the best internationally rates wines coming out of the Okanagan.
Location = West Kelowna
2. Arrow Leaf Cellars:
This hidden gem winery is one few people outside of the local wine scene know about and it is amazing! Picnic tables overlooking the most beautiful vineyard and lake views make up the casual layout of this winery.
Location = Lake Country
3. Quail’s Gate:
A beautiful winery with a tasting room and incredible views (the photo at the start of this post is from Quail’s Gate!) The also have an excellent restaurant! My personal favorite wine from here is the Gewürztraminer but they have a quite a few popular wines including their Pinot Noir (my favorite!)
Location: West Kelowna
4. House of Rose Winery:
This rustic winery is covered in, you guessed it, rose bushes. It’s beautiful and has just a few select wines each year. They are best known for their Rosés! Pro tip: If you visit in the fall you can actually participate in the grape stomp!
Location = Kelowna
This tiny winery is not well known but they make some of the best crowd-pleasing wines. Plus they’re an organic winery! They’ve got a number of great red blends and white wines to choose from but the 2018 Rosé is my personal favorite!
Location = West Kelowna
6. Therapy Vineyards:
Known as being a hip vineyard that attracts a younger crowd, Therapy is great for a winery experience minus the stuffiness. They have a small selection of wines but people love them!
7. Covert Farms Family Estate:
This small, rustic winery is well worth a day trip. Their most popular wine is their Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, but they have many refreshing, summery wines that people love. Enjoy your wine on their beautiful patio but be sure to explore the property after – they’ve got goats, gardens and even a giant inflatable pillow you can jump on (… on second thought, maybe do that before the wine).
8. Larianna Cellars:
Bordering the Canada/US border this winery is a must visit if you’re wine of choice is a full-bodied red! They have a number of great reds to try including a powerful Cabernet Sauvignon!
Location = Osoyoos
9. Sumac Ridge:
Sumac Ridge is actually the very first winery to open in the Okanagan so, in my opinion, is worth a visit just for that reason! But if that doesn’t entice you, the wines certainly will. They have a great variety (perfect if you’re travelling with a group with different tastes) as they have a popular Sauvignon Blanc, Cab Merlot & a Gewürztraminer.
Location = Peachland/Summerland
10. See Ya Later Ranch:
I have to include this one because I’m a huge fan of their Gewürztraminer! They have a beautiful location with a great restaurant as well.
Location = Okanagan Falls
I hope you found this list of the 10 best Okanagan wineries helpful! If you’ve been to the Okanagan before – any favorite wineries I’ve left off this list!? Let me know in the comments! ⬇️