Self Guided BC Wine Tours
Our founder, Terry Farmer, and his lovely wife enjoy touring local wineries.
Read on for Terry's personal ideas that you can use to plan your own self-guided adventure.
We love taking winery tours in the Okanagan which includes enjoying the countryside, sipping at various neat wineries and seeking out fine restaurants. There are so many great wineries in that region, we are sharing our thoughts with others and include wineries from Kelowna to the Naramata Bench to Oliver and Osoyoos.
We usually make the Accent Inn Kelowna hotel our base even though we realize that entails some backtracking. We stay at the Kelowna hotel as we know we are going to have a great sleep on a Beauty Rest mattress with large comfy pillows, a spotlessly clean room and friendly staff. If you don't happen to be an "owner" like me I still think you'll find the value of the room compared to other hotels and it will allow you to splurge at some of the top restaurants. However I digress and on to the wineries and our wine tour.
There are numerous good wineries here and we often go to the Mission Hill Winery, Cedar Creek Winery, Quail’s Gate and occasionally the Summerhill Winery. There are even more wineries in the area that you can visit! Most of the settings are beautiful and the architecture can be outstanding.
You drive through Penticton and then drive North on the East side of the lake. There are many great wineries and wine tours for both reds and whites. The ones we have tried and bought wine are La Frenz, Red Rooster, Ruby Tuesday, Hillside, Township 7 and the Blasted Church Winery.
CONTINUING DOWN TO OLIVER AND OSOYOOS
There are multiple choices for wine tours also in this area. We have enjoyed See Ya Later ( there is an interesting story on the name), Wild Goose, Jackson-Triggs, Tinhorn Creek , Hester Creek, Nk’Mip ( First Nation owned with an interesting museum), Twisted Tree, Burrowing Owl and Young and Wyse Wineries.
Hot tip: Young and Wyse is a fairly new small winery and is excellent, however it is not yet in all the guidebooks. It is located below Osoyoos and on the left just before the US border.Young and Wyse are the young owner couple’s last names. We met Steve Wyse who was the winemaker at Burrowing Owl for 10 years and is also a son of the owner of the Burrowing Owl winery.
It is usually $ 2 to $ 5 per person and that is deducted from the price if you buy wine. Towards Oliver etc., tasting tends to be free. We usually share a tasting as one prefers white and the other red.( plus we want to be in good shape to proceed with our wine tour and enjoy a great dinner)
TIMING AND DISTANCE
We usually spend a full day or two in and around Kelowna. We also visit a number of the Galleries including Hambleton Gallery and we like to visit an interesting Ladies shop called Dlux ( to purchase birthday presents etc. for our daughter ) and an interesting jewelry store, Posh in the same area.We take another day to drive down to the Naramata Bench and back. This takes roughly 1 to 1.25 hours each way. The distances to each city are all listed in the guidebooks.We then take another day to drive to Oliver and Osoyoos and back. This can also be done on your way back to Vancouver or Alberta.
- Kelowna - The ABC restaurant located at the Accent Inn Kelowna has excellent breakfasts, lunches and dinners. For more "wine" related dining options you have a number to choose from and we usually go to Quail's Gate Winery, Summerhill Winery or the Wild apple Winery. Reservations are definitely recommended.
- Naramata - Hillside Winery has a lovely restaurant with an interesting menu for lunch and dinner. The Red Rooster Winery also has a light lunch on their patio, great for those sunny days.
- Oliver and Osoyoos - The Burrowing Owl Winery has an excellent dining room and the Tinhorn Creek Winery is about to open a new restaurant. Hester Creek Winery has great facilities and occasionally provides dinner for special events.
WHEN TO GO
I guess that there is no specific time you have to go. Anytime of the year can make for a special trip. We usually go the week before or after Labour day as not as many people are travelling ( Alberta schools are back and ours start the following week and parents tend to want to be home to organize for school). Some wineries are nearly out of special blends and others are just introducing them.
Ice wines are usually introduced later in the fall.
There are also many events and even dinners centered around wineries at various times of the year and so you are best to check their web. We like to stay at the Accent Inn Kelowna hotel when we attend the fantastic Wine Fest in October.
Now, what about those great wineries on Vancouver island.......