Pick up your RV in Calgary or Vancouver and head to Kelowna, the start of our wine tour.
From Calgary to Kelowna, it's a 600 km (379 mi). From Vancouver, the drive is a little shorter at 338km.
Overnight at Kelowna
Head out today to tour some of the wineries on the east side of Kelowna. Camelot Vineyards is a young winery which welcomes visitors May 1st – October 31st on Tuesdays through Sundays between 11am and 5pm. House of Rose is nestled amongst apple orchards on the outskirts of Kelowna and is renowned for its Winter Wine, a secret blend of ice wine with grapes picked late in the fall.
Raven Ridge won an award for the best fruit wine of the year in 2005. This winery specializes in ice ciders.
For spectacular views of Kelowna and the Okanagan Lake, be sure to visit The View winery. Vines planted here consist of Ehrenfelser, Gewurtztraminer, Reisling, Optima, Pinotage and Baco Noir.
Tastings are available at Tantalus Vineyards daily from Noon to 5.00pm. Sample some exceptional Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines.
Other wineries on the east slopes in this vicinity include St Hubertus, open seven days a week from 10.00am between May and October, and the Cedar Creek Estate Winery which offers tastings and tours of the vineyard for a small fee.
The last stop of the day features organic wine-making at its best. Summerhill Winery, Canada’s largest certified organic vineyard, may well be the most-visited winery in all of Canada. The property also features a four-story-high, 8% replica pyramid of Egypt used scientifically for aging their wines.Overnight at Kelowna
This morning we suggest you begin at Sumac Ridge Estate Winery in Summerland for a Tour and Tastings. Known as one of the pioneer wineries of the BC wine industry, Sumac Ridge produces a variety of excellent wines including a sparkling Brut that few Okanagan winemakers produce.
Your next stop in Summerland is at Thornhaven Winery, situated in a quaint little valley overlooking Okanagan Lake. Located only two blocks away is DirtyLaundry Winery. These two wineries are quintessential Okanagan winery settings and shouldn’t be missed.
After passing through the heart of Penticton, you’ll enter onto the “Naramata Bench”, home to 15 wineries with amazing vistas, view and vineyards along the way. Consider having lunch at the Barrel Room Bistro at Hillside Estate Winery. With its high ceilings and cool shaded patio, it’s the perfect place to escape the midday sun. This is a great opportunity to try a wine the Okanagan is known for, a Reisling or perhaps Sauvignon Blanc.
It’s a time to tour as many wineries as you feel up to. They’re all located within minutes of each other. Some suggestions are:
- Lake Breeze Vineyards
- Lang Vineyards
- Red Rooster
- Therapy Vineyards
- Elephant Island
- Kettle Valley
- Howling Bluff
- Poplar Grove
- Zero Balance
- Laughing Stock
With so many wineries along the Naramata Bench, you’ll have a hard time choosing which ones to visit.
This may be a good time to venture into the sleepy village of Naramata. At the general store, you can pick up some local Poplar Grove cheese along with some crackers and wine and take it to beautiful Manitou Park, located just four blocks away on Okanagan Lake.
If you don’t feel like preparing your own dinner tonight, how about venturing out for a beautiful wine paired dinner at the Hooded Merganser? This is a lovely west coast style restaurant situated over the water at the Penticton Lakeside Resort. This award winning restaurant partners with area wineries to prepare a creative menu serving locally grown fruits and vegetables paired with Okanagan wines.
Overnight at Penticton
You can start your day off by spending part of the morning discovering Penticton and its quaint downtown core or strolling along the lakeside boardwalk. Perhaps your winery visits the previous day left you inquisitive to see other products from Okanagan Wineries.
Before you depart Penticton, stop by the Okanagan VQA Wine Store located at the Visitor Information Centre. It features a full selection of wines from one end of the valley to the other.
Head south on Highway 97 towards Canada’s only desert region and the town of Osoyoos. You may feel like a “pick me up” in the quaint village of Okanagan Falls. Stop for some coffee or ice-cream there at Tickleberry’s – they have the best ice-cream in the valley!
From Okanagan Falls, take Green Lake Road to your first winery visit of the day at See Ya Later Ranch Winery, formerly known as Hawthorne Mountain Estate Winery. Originally planted as an orchard in the early part of the last century, this winery has terrific wines, a fabulous view and a unique north-east facing vineyard.
Consider stopping for lunch at the Toasted Oak Bar and Grill in Oliver. Known as the “Wine Capital of Canada”, Oliver is a thriving agricultural community that’s home to the popular Fest of Grape and the Tomato Festival. The Toasted Oak has a large selection of B.C. wines by the glass and a unique menu that features many ingredients from this area. Don’t miss the cool misters on the patio!
Two special afternoon tours will highlight your day. This first is a tour of Burrowing Owl Winery. This is a sprawling estate winery that produces some of B.C.’s most sought after wines. Buy them at the winery because they’re hard to find elsewhere. Next it’s on to taste the wines of Tinhorn Creek Estate. This winery is nestled in the hillside next to a former gold mining creek and near the site of an old ghost town. The self guided historical tour atop the “Golden Mile” provides some fabulous views. One of the early pioneers and best-known success stories in Canada’s wine industry, Inniskillin Winery just down the road, was founded in Ontario in 1975 but in 1994 developed a winemaking partnership with the Inkameep Indian Band by purchasing the band’s extraordinary 23-acre Dark Horse Vineyard in 1996. Well worth a visit!
Overnight at Osoyoos
A desert in Canada? Impossible, you say? Here in Osoyoos you’ll find yourself in the world famous “Pocket Desert” a small patch of the Sonoran Desert that extends all the way from Mexico into BC’s Okanagan Valley. Spend the morning at the Osoyoos Desert Centre, an ecological interpretive centre on a protected portion of this habitat. Stroll the elevated boardwalk and learn about desert ecology, ecological restoration of damaged portions of the landscape, and the flora and fauna which inhabit this unique ecosystem.
Spend the afternoon at the Nk’Mip Desert Centre. This state-of-the-art venue celebrates thousands of years of Okanagan First Nations habitation. The Centre provides on-site cultural tours together with interpretive displays reflecting the unique and contemporary experience of the desert and its relationship to the local First Nations people. Right next door to the Desert Centre you’ll find Nk’Mip Cellars. The winery site is one of the most attractive in the South Okanagan with outstanding views in a setting of natural beauty. Situated on a bench overlooking the shores of Osoyoos Lake, the newly planted vineyards and orchards provide a stunning contrast against the desert landscape. Tour experiences at the winery are enhanced through the architecture of the buildings which complement the beauty and unique nature of the wild sage desert surroundings.
As you leave Osoyoos this morning, take highway 3 out of the Okanagan, climbing the scenic Richter Pass to the neighboring Similkameen Valley. This relatively undeveloped valley has seen several new wineries and large vineyards sprout up in the last two years. Your first stop today takes you a kiometre off the highway to the shores of the Similkameen River and Forbidden Fruit Organic Winery.
The farm has grown organic fruit for years and supplies several large Canadian stores with produce. This may be your first opportunity to taste fruit wines. Forbidden Fruit has a number of them including several white wines that are similar in taste to grape wines. Make sure you take crackers to go with the awesome jellies they make.
17km west of Osoyoos, you’ll find Seven Stones Winery. The vineyard name comes from the legend of the seven individual rock formations throughout the Similkameen Valley known as the Seven Stones.
Your journey then takes you to Crowsnest Vineyards, situated on an orchard and vineyard bench overlooking the beautiful Cascade Mountains. This winery has just completed a new building that features a restaurant and overnight suite accommodation. Take in the sights on their vineyard side patio and enjoy a German varietal wine and delicious cuisine paired to perfection! Other vineyards close by include Orofino and Rustic Roots.
Travel on to Keremeos and stop to visit the Grist Mill & Gardens. Founded in 1877, and lovingly restored to grind fresh flour daily with power from a giant water wheel, the historic mill is over 125 years old. Colourful heritage gardens take you back in time to the pioneer days of pack horses, gold miners, and wood stoves. You might even be invited to share in the daily homestead chores, offering a truly hands-on experience of history. Be sure to check out their range of delightful baked goodies made with the freshest stone-ground flour in British Columbia. Just west of Keremeos on the outskirts of town, you’ll found K Mountain Winery. This winery produces some excellent red and white wines and also ice wine. They also have a deli and sell fruit and gifts.
The Similkameen Valley is known as the “Fruit stand capital of Canada”. From June to October, the main roads are filled with local fruits and vegetables bursting with a myriad of colours. Succulent fruit, fresh honey and crisp vegetables are everywhere to be found.
From Keremeos, take highway 3A towards Kaladen. The Robin Ridge Winery is along this route and you can purchase their wines here. Head back north on Highway 97 through Penticton towards Peachland. En route, you may like to drop in on some of the wineries you didn’t have time for when you first travelled this road. Names such as Sleeping Giant, Sonoran, Silk Scarf, 8th Generation and Hollywood and Vine will surely arouse your curiosity. Stop at Greata Ranch Vineyards & Winery for a tasting and tour. One of the most beautiful locations to view the sparkling waters of Okanagan Lake is from the veranda at Greata Ranch. Your experience wouldn’t be complete without a refreshing glass of their award winning wine.
Overnight in Peachland
A little past Peachland you’ll find Hainle Vineyards & Winery Bistro. If you’re hungry, take the opportunity to eat here. You can watch from your seat as the culinary team prepares fresh artisan creations from the exhibition kitchen.
Framed by the Okanagan hills, the vineyards of west Kelowna offer more opportunties to taste and savour some great wines. Larger wineries such as Mission Hill offer a variety of tour options while smaller wineries like Little Straw have tastings only. Other wineries in West Kelowna include:
- Meadow Vista
- Rollingdale Winery
- Mt Boucherie
Overnight in Kelowna
Continue on to Shuswap Lake via Vernon for your overnight stop. En route we suggest you check out a couple of small wineries on the east banks of Lake Okanagan just north of Lake Country. .
Tours of the Grey Monk Estate Winery take place daily year round and you are welcome to sample and purchase from the wide variety of wines they produce. Neighbouring Gray Monk is Ex Nihilo Winery - Latin for “out of nothing”. This Mediterranean style winery has a new tasting room where you can enjoy a truly unique Okanagan Valley wine experience. After passing through Vernon, take Highway 97A to Armstrong.
At Armstrong, turn west on Lansdowne Road and follow the signs about six kilometers through verdant farmland to Hunting Hawk Vineyards in the beautiful Spallumcheen Valley. This is one of two vineyards operated by Hunting Hawk, the other being at the historic O’Keefe Ranch in Vernon.
Next take Highway 97B to towards Salmon Arm. Our last vineyard on this tour is the Larch Hill Winery located at 110 Timms Road. To get here, leave 97B at Black Road and follow the signs. Larch Hills produces premium cool climate wines and has won numerous awards at festivals across Canada.
Overnight at Shuswap Lake
Enjoy the drive back "home" today as you leave the Shuswap and take your chosen route back to your pick-up location