Deep in the heart of British Columbia is the region known as the Okanagan Valley and is sometimes referenced as the ‘Tuscany of Canada.’ With almost 200 wineries, sun-soaked hills and an ideal climate, it’s no wonder many wines from this region win international accolades year after year.
Many people are surprised to learn that Canada produces great wine, and a lot of it!
Since it’s so far north (compared to other wine producing regions), British Columbia is probably one of the best well-kept secrets of all the wine regions around the world.
Did you know that the Okanagan Valley receives 2 hours more sunlight than Napa Valley in July and August?
Being in a dry, desert-like climate, the Okanagan enjoys some of the best grape (and other fruit) growing conditions and flavorful, ripe fruit.
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Things to Know about Visiting Wineries in the Okanagan
Where the hills embrace the vineyards and lakes,the Okanagan Valley is a vast area and includes sub-regions anchored by small cities and towns. You could spend days within each sub-region.
From North to South, wineries in the Okanagan are found near Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland/Summerland, Penticton, Naramata, Oliver and Osoyoos.
If you want to cover the entire region, the drive from Kelowna to Osoyoos itself is less than 2 hours and makes for one of the most beautiful road trips you will ever take (including tons of other things to do along the way besides visiting wineries).
But if you want to enjoy a nice wine tasting holiday in the Okanagan Valley, plan to spend at least a few days to a week (or more) in the region.
It’s a stunning area perfectly suited to stroll, wander, sip, savor and enjoy, making it an ideal spot for those who love slow travel.
If you’re self-driving, all you have to do is look for signs that look like this:
Kelowna is the largest city in the Okanagan Valley and is about 4.5 hours driving time from Vancouver.
This region in British Columbia is located directly north of the state of Washington, northwest of Spokane by about 5 hours driving time.
I’ve found Wines of British Columbia to be the best resource for an Okanagan wineries map.
Since there are so many wineries in this area, it’s hard to plot them all on one image or PDF. So it’s best to use their interactive trip planner.
I also highly recommend the book, Winetripping, written by one of BC’s best wine experts, Rachel von Sturmer. Not only does she help you plan and make the most of your time, she includes proper wine tasting etiquette tips to impress your friends! Perfect for a girls trip through the Okanagan.
When is the Best Season to Visit Okanagan Wineries?
Summer Peak Season is April to October
All wineries in the Okanagan will be open from at least April to October, but many are open year round. Or at least open for holidays and special occasions such as the Christmas season and Valentine’s Day/weekend.
Most often, I have visited British Columbia wine country in July and August, when it’s scorching hot. If you visit in the peak summer months, it will be beautiful but very hot.
I love red wine, but always find myself wanting to try way more chilled white in the heat of the summer. Just something to think about.
On our last trip, many of the winery staff mentioned that May is the best month to tour wineries in the Okanagan, since the heat hasn’t reached its highest point and there are usually no wildfires.
You can see in this photo from a visit in early August that there were wildfires in the distance.
Winter: November to March
If you are visiting in the winter months from November to March, it’s best to look up the individual winery websites to see if they’re open. That being said, if you do find a spot that closes for the winter, many wineries will still take reservations for private tasting.
There is still lots of work to do at the vineyards in the winter, like pruning trees! Visiting Okanagan wineries in the winter or shoulder season can be a great way to get an up close and personal wine tasting experience.
Walk-In Wine Tastings
Most of the wineries allow for walk-ins of small groups – you don’t always have to be part of a tour. So if you want to make a day of it, you’ll need a designated driver.
If no one in your group wants to volunteer and miss out on the fun, you should seriously look into hiring a limo for the day! It sounds extravagant, but it’s actually not as expensive as it seems.
Or consider booking a private Kelowna wine tour where you can customize your trip.
At most places, tastings will cost you $5 person, which is usually waived with the purchase of a bottle.
With over 180 wineries located in the Okanagan Valley, it’s going to be hard to visit them all (I think I just added another item to my bucket list).
Whether you want to visit as many as possible or are just looking for some recommendations in a certain area, this post will provide an overview of some of the best Okanagan wineries you should visit and some fun, unique or special things about them!
We’ll start from North to South.
House of Rose Winery
This rustic but charming winery certainly lives up to its name, with hundreds of rose bushes on the property, including some of the tallest you’ve ever seen.
There’s a beautiful garden area for a picnic and in the fall you can participate in a traditional grape stomp. If you’ve ever wanted to squish grapes with your feet, this is the place to do it.
If you’re a fan of Rosés or smooth sipping blends, you’ll find a new favorite here.
Summerhill Pyramid Winery
Here you’ll find one of the largest selections of organic wines in the the Okanagan. There’s a full service top notch restaurant on site (with great plant-based menu items for Vegans and Vegetarians), and their wine cellar is actually a massive pyramid!
The story behind the pyramid is a fascinating one. Purposely built on sacred land, the pyramid was constructed to align with the stars and provide a sense of stillness and harmony.
Plus, Summerhill is one of only three biodynamic wineries in Canada. Ask the winemakers for more details when you visit.
Try the Riesling with notes of bright peach and lime, and is dangerously drinkable.
When the tasting room resembles a recording studio, you know you’re going to have some fun here. Instead of food pairings, the winemakers will suggest the best music parings!
For example, their Gewurztraminer pairs best with 1980s dance pop! You can even record your next hit single here!
If you’re looking for a more unique Okanagan winery to visit, Frequency is worth a stop.
Another stunning vineyard overlooking Lake Okanagan, this is one is a leader in sustainability. The minimalist chic vibe from the tasting room is pretty cool too.
Their Riseling is the star here, and they’ve also partnered with a local brewery to produce a Riesling Kölsch that’s crisp and bright.
Pulling up to this exquisite property, you first notice the massive grey brick house and you start to question whether you’ll be able to afford a bottle or two.
But as soon as you enter the tasting garage, the fun atmosphere and energetic staff are a stark contrast to the seemingly pretentious property (which you quickly realize it’s not).
These guys know how to throw a party.
Catalina Kelowna Wine Mixer anyone?
Still not sure if you should DIY or join a tour? Check prices and availability on the highest rated Kelowna wine tour here.
West Kelowna Wineries
Travel west along the big bridge that crosses Lake Okanagan and you will find yourself in West Kelowna where there are many fine wineries to visit.
West Kelowna is where you will find some of the more popular Okanagan wineries, like Mission Hill or Quail’s Gate.
While these large, estate wineries are definitely beautiful, produce quality wine, have top-notch restaurants and are open in the winter, my list focuses on the ones that are a little smaller and have something unique about them.
It’s easy to be drawn in by the impressive scale of these places, but there are many other Okanagan, BC wineries that deserve a visit, too!
Indigenous World Winery
Visit the only 100% owned Indigenous winery in British Columbia. You’ll love the views, the artisan crafts to purchase and the restaurant’s unique Indigenous inspired menu.
And don’t just take my word for it, plenty other reviews put this winery at the top of the list for one of the best winery restaurants in the Okanagan.
Try the buttery Chardonnay with notes of cooked pear and vanilla.
The Hatch Winery
If you’re seeking an eccentric winery, oozing with personality, a visit to the Hatch is a must.
The welcoming atmosphere is laid back and fun which is the intent behind this offbeat and unconventional winery.
But don’t let that fool you – try the Screaming Frenzy Meritage a red blend of Merlot, Cab Sauv and Merlot. With spicy overtones of nutmeg and blackberries, this red ruly stands out from the crowd.
If you’re new to wine tasting or not into the large, ‘hoity toity’ estates, this West Kelowna winery would be the perfect introduction.
Off the Grid Winery
When you arrive on the property of this organic winery you’ll be greeted by friendly goats and an off the grid 100% sustainable wine tasting building (think solar powered and straw insulation).
Visit this one for the picture perfect farm style setting, sample some wine and then enjoy your favorite bottle with a cheese plate in their picnic area.
This is another Okanagan Winery that produces predominately white wines, so be sure to try the smooth sipping chardonnay and the floral Gewurztraminer.
TRAVEL TIP: Don’t forget to pack some wine bottle protector sleeves. They’re a lifesaver and reusable for your next trip!
Peachland Wineries and Summerland Wineries
As you continue your road trip south, follow Highway 97 which hugs the miles-long Okanagan Lake as you pass by the small towns of Peachland and then Summerland.
Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards at Greata Ranch
For white wine and sparkling wines, this is where you want to stop. Here they produce sparkling wine using the same methods from the champagne region of France.
Don’t miss the full behind the scenes tour through the vineyards, the crush deck and inside the caves to the cellaring area.
Try the Brut for hints of rose apple or the delicate Gewurztraminer.
Upon arrival, it may not look like much compared to other wineries in the Okanagan. But I think this is a good thing. At TH Wines they put much more love and care into producing high quality wine instead of showing off a flashy, sexy building to drink it in.
It’s a small, but highly personal production here. Try the Pinot Noir and the Viognier.
Lightning Rock Winery
If you’re looking for a winery set among a beautiful setting, the views of the valley and shimmering lake below will take your breath away.
You’d never know it’s a relatively new winery based on the deep aromas and knowledge of the winemakers.
Another refreshing Viognier winner here or try a bold Rosé.
At the southern tip of the Lake Okanagan is where you’ll find the fun town known as Penticton.
Besides wine tasting, there are tons of outdoor pursuits to keep you busy here like hiking and plenty of water activities (tubing down the channel is a must) and a surprising beach.
Painted Rock Winery
On site you will find a classy, contemporary and ultra modern tasting room. Painted Rock is a dog-friendly winery, so bring them along and visit the patio area.
Try the red icon, their flagship wine and a nice chardonnay, which is the only white they produce.
Wineries Along the Naramata Bench
Most wineries in the area are located along the Naramata Bench, which is a beautiful stretch along the east side of Lake Okanagan.
In my opinion, Naramata is home to some of the most stunning (and sip-worthy) wineries in the Okanagan. And for that reason it deserves a full post of its own.
But a few favorites to pique your interest are:
Hillside Winery for the smoothest Viogner best described as your perfect summertime sipper. With the upbeat staff and one of the most beautiful winery restaurants in the Okanagan, we had the most fun at this one.
A favorite among the younger crowds (or young at heart) is the super fun Therapy Vineyards for the aptly named Freudian Sip. This smooth white blend is a patio pounder. Plus, the view from the tasting room is endless!
You can also stay overnight at the Inn at Therapy Vineyards and enjoy private patio time after all the other wine tasters are done for the evening.
Lang Vineyards has the oldest vines on the Naramata Bench at over 60 years old, so you know the grapes have really settled in to produce some of the region’s best wine.
The Marechal Foch is one of the best reds you’ll ever enjoy. We can’t leave this place without at least 6 bottles.
Looking for a place to stay in the Okanagan for the ultimate wine tasting vacation? I highly recommend staying in Naramata at one of the many winery accommodations to choose from.
You’re closest to the highest concentration of wineries, and it’s also right in the middle of the whole region from Kelowna down to Osoyoos.
We loved our stay at the Wesbert Winery (click link to view on Booking.com). Our private balcony overlooked the vineyards, it was walking distance to many wineries, and included breakfast and is dog-friendly!
Or if you prefer a house, we have also stayed at this newly renovated vintage farmhouse on a winery.
The chef’s kitchen was perfect to make our own meals, and the views from the front door make your wonder if you’re actually in Napa Valley or Tuscany instead!
Okanagan Falls Wineries
See Ya Later Ranch
A little off the beaten path, you won’t want to miss this dog friendly, 100 year old ranch, now winery! This winery is perfect if you’re on a road trip and looking for a nice spot to stretch your legs, have a picnic and want to let the pooch roam around in their designated barking lot!
Try: the Rose is perfect for long summer days.
The star of the south Okanagan wineries, here you’ll find a premium, upscale wine experience with one of the most stunning tasting rooms and an art gallery all in one.
Try the unique spin on the classic Pinot Noir with hints of blackcurrant, cedar and sweet tobacco.
Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery
Not only do they produce award winning wine here, Noble Ridge provides visitors the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in all things vineyard.
From dinner events where you can dine among the vines, to participating in a harvest work day or simply enjoy lunch in one of the most stunning picnic areas of all the Okanagan wineries, there is so much to enjoy here.
If you’re visiting on a sunny day, try the Mingle – a white blend known as sunshine in a bottle that’s sure to please everyone in your group.
Wineries in Oliver, BC
On this last leg of you Okanagan wine tour, we enter the Golden Mile Bench, which is a beautiful array of wineries located between Oliver and Osoyoos.
Being so far south, the warm climate and elevation provides added protection from early frost and creates ideal growing conditions.
Covert Farms Family Estate
Located just north of Oliver, this adorable and down to earth winery is a little off the beaten path but well worth a visit.
You enter through a beautiful wildflower garden which opens up to an outdoor, pergola-covered patio where you can sit and sip on a bottle of your new favorite. And you WILL find a new favorite.
You’ll want to slowly savor the Sauvingnon Blanc Semillon, but it won’t last that long. Buy a few bottles and thank me later.
Then, wander around the property and admire the cute farm animals, splash around on the slip and slide or release your inner child and have a blast jumping on the massive inflatable pillow.
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
This grandiose estate might be one of the best Okanagan wineries with accommodations. With its stunning guest house and pool overlooking the valley below, it just might be the perfect summer getaway or an ideal spot to celebrate an anniversary.
Try the award winning 2015 Syrah. Almost sinful, its best described as rich and meaty with notes of dark chocolate.
For a more laid back wine tasting experience, Rust Wine is a true hidden gem winery in the Okanagan. Enjoy your wine from the comfort of the rustic outdoor patio with unbeatable views.
Plus, fans of Rust Wine can submit their own photos to be chosen for the following year’s wine label!
Try the zesty Rosé Magnum and the Gewurztraminer, which is interestingly rich.
As you continue down the Golden Mile Bench, you arrive in one of the warmest communities in Canada. Literally!
Osoyoos is home to Canada’s only desert and our warmest lake. Besides wineries, there are fantastic beaches, hiking viewpoints and plenty of golf courses.
But let’s get to the wine. Since Osoyoos has several microclimates and soil variations in such a small area, this region produces close to 60 different grape varieties.
Here you can expect to taste some stellar Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. And don’t forget to try the star of the region, a unique Ice Wine (best found at NK’MIP Cellars).
So, which Osoyoos wineries are the best ones to visit? Try going a little off the beaten path to some of the smaller wineries for an up close and personal experience.
Looking for a winery in the Okanagan that delivers a taste of Italy? LaStella is calling.
Encompassing all things La Dolce Vita (the good life), this Tuscany inspired winery is as elegant as it is down to earth. Transport yourself for an afternoon as you sip on wines each named after Italian musical notes.
The wines are pricier here than others you’ll find in the valley, but you’re rewarded with superior quality. Try their flagship Maestoso Merlot, pure velvet.
Plus, LaStella is another great Okanagan winery with accommodations. You can book their Tuscan waterfront villa on Airbnb, which is available for bookings year-round.
You Might Also Like: 12 Tips for Booking an Airbnb
Moon Curser Vineyards
This winery’s name comes from an ode to the miners who would smuggle gold in the dark of the night during the gold rush. After all, it’s only about 3 miles to the U.S. border.
Here you will find the most unusual grape varieties of all the Okanagan wineries. So if you’re up for some unique wine tasting, this place is sure to check all the boxes.
You won’t be disappointed in any of the dark, lush reds.
For full-bodied red fans, a visit to Larianna Cellars is a must. A small, boutique hidden gem that sits close to the Canada-USA border, this winery puts everything into producing high quality wine and doesn’t bother to show off a fancy building.
They specialize in Cabernet Sauvignon and Carménère for silky rich finishes.
P.S. – If you prefer to stay closer to Osoyoos, the Shiraz Villa is perfect if you’re on a romantic wine getaway.
What Are the Best Okanagan Wineries to Visit?
Now, I know this list covers a lot of wineries and like I mentioned earlier, you could spend a whole week touring through the Okanagan Valley visiting dozens and dozens of vineyards.
But if you’re looking for recommendations about the ones you can’t miss…
Here Are My Top 10 Best Okanagan Wineries You Should Visit if You Can’t Hit Them All:
1. Tantalus Vineyards, Kelowna
2. Summerhill Pyramid Winery
3. The Hatch Winery, West Kelowna
4. Off the Grid Winery, West Kelowna
5. Hillside Winery, Naramata
6. Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery, Okanagan Falls
7. Covert Farms Family Estate, Oliver
8. Burrowing Owl Estate, Oliver
9. Rust Wine, Oliver
10. Moon Curser Vineyards, Osoyoos
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