Wining & Dining in the Okanagan

You know it has to be good when they have an official handbook including a directory and regional maps.  Add to this rolling hills of green, sparkling lakes and some of the best wines in all of Canada, and you’ve got the southern area of British Columbia known as the Okanagan.

 With lakes and streams perfect for fishing, swimming and seemingly endless watersports, the Okanagan is a popular summertime destination for many British Columbians.  They come to enjoy just picked cherries, juicy peaches, luscious raspberries and of course, a variety of wines harvested from those famous Okanagan grapes accompanied by world-class five star restaurant experiences.

 Running from Osoyoos (just minutes from the Canada U.S. border) in the south to 150 miles north at Salmon Arm, the Okanagan Wine Route provides some of the province’s most diverse landscape with opportunities for wildlife viewing along the way.  Showcasing more than 200 wineries ranging from small mom & pop operations offering treats like blueberry and blackberry wines up to full-scale facilities producing world class Malbec, the Okanagan Wine Route is truly the perfect destination for any wine connoisseur.

 Also known as Okanagan Wine Country, the area produces principal varieties including Reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Whites: Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.  Ice Wine is another favorite of Canadians; picked during freezing temperatures in the middle of the night, these grapes produce an intense sweet delicacy with limited production varying from year to year.

 Plan your Okanagan visit around one of their three annual celebrations – the Spring Okanagan Wine Festival in May, Summer Okanagan Wine Festival in July, or the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival held every September/October.  These five to ten day events encompass outdoor barbecues, concerts and parties while showcasing the area’s best wine and delicious regional cuisines. 

 Don’t forget to pamper yourself with a few bottles to take home – it’s totally affordable as the average price for a 750 ML bottle of award-winning British Columbia wine is about CAD $18.  If you’re thinking of renting a car and meandering along the Okanagan Wine Route tasting as you go, it’s important to note that British Columbia enforces strict drinking & driving laws so be sure to follow proper wine etiquette – spit, don’t swallow.  Better yet, sign up for a wine tour and leave the driving to someone else.

Our Guest Blogger, Connie Motz, is the author of Travel Writer travel blog. She’s been published in U.S. periodicals, Canadian newspapers, as well as online.

Note about the image in this article

Canola blooms on ranchland in the Richter Pass in the south Okanagan. Chopaka Mountain in Washington State rises in the background. British Columbia, Canada.
 
Image is copyright. Please do not copy

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