The Okanagan Valley In the Canadian Rockies is one of the warmest regions in Canada and thus known for its beautiful wine country-beautiful both in Summer AND Winter. Stunning lakes, sandy beaches, water sports, hiking and of course wine tasting are a delight during the summer months while there are numerous ski hills to entertain all your winter adventures.
We used the main city Kelowna, as our base for a few days as we headed north to Alberta. Surrounding cities such as Vernon, Penticon and Osoyoos also make great stops on your roadtrip.
Whether Winter or Summer, do not visit without tasting the sensational wine! The cellar doors are almost all open during winter, so set aside a day to do a wine tour! As we stayed in Kelowna, these are the wineries I would visit…You can do any or all of them!
Start at Summerhill. They use organically and biodynamically grown grapes to produce their wine and they have a wonderful organic bistro, happy hour daily and lots of yummy food!
Next, Tantalus, for lovely wines made from a single Vineyard. Followed by The View, just 15 mins out of Kelowna, where you can get a flight of tastings for $4 and cheese and charcuterie boards during summer months. In summer months get involved in “Sip and Slip” for crosscountry skiing or snow shoeing through the vineyard followed by a wine tasting-the perfect winter adventure if you’re not into skiing or snowboarding.
The last winery I’d visit is Sandhill, a beautiful modern tasting room in Kelowna, with happy hours all Winter and Summer, with live music and local chef made food! Check their website for details. If you’re really keen you could also stop in at Sperling for a tasting too!
Once back in town, Kelowna has a great food and craft beer scene, my favourite being Vice and Virtue a local craft brewery with an excellent chef doing amazing and unique things in the kitchen-everything is locally sources and they cure their own meats! Check them out for an amazing food and beer experience.
Now if Skiing is your thing, you have one of the most famous ski resorts basically on your doorstep. Big White is the most family friendly ski resort in Canada and is riddled with beautiful runs for the pros. The village is also the hub for tubing, ice skating, Horse sleigh rides and ice climbing if skiing isn’t your thing. We took the sleigh ride as one of our party fell snowboarding and injured herself so we cut our boarding time short, but the silver lining was the beautiful, snowy trip through the backcountry, hot chocolate in hand. There really is something for everyone at Big White.
Other ski resorts in the area are Sun Peaks, though quite far from Kelowna, its Canada’s second biggest resort so theres plenty of room with less crowds than Big White. Another mention is Silver Star, with great terrain for all abilities and kids 5 and under ski for free! Bonus.
I haven’t visited in the Summer (Yet!) but I can’t wait to experience the incredible hikes and lake life, so whatever your interest, head to the Okanagan Valley, and have a wine or two for me.
-Vice and Virtue
-BNA Brewing Co and Eatery
-Bluetail Sushi- excellent sushi and cocktails.
–Mad Mango’s –for great laksa soup
–Wasabi Ramen and Izakaya for cheap ramen
P.S If you’re heading north to Revy as we did, be sure to take the long, scenic route which will take you too two ferry crossings both of which take you across the Upper Arrow Lake. Both are free of charge and leave at regular intervals. The first, the Needles Ferry leaves every 30 minutes all day and the second the Shelter Bay Ferry leaves every hour finishing at midnight and starting again at 5am. This route means you can stop at Halcyon hot springs on the way for a stunning soak with crazy views of the river and mountains.