Food and Drink

British Columbia’s Wine Country

Ben Westwood

13th June 2024

Okanagan Valley BC

The balmy Okanagan Valley is one of Canada’s alluring regions, renowned for its vineyards, farm-to-table cuisine and lakeside resorts.

This beautiful area is an ideal choice for a wine holiday in British Columbia. More than 9,000 acres of vineyards across 185 wineries make it Canada’s second biggest wine-producing region after the Niagara peninsula, and some of the best wines here include Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Merlot and Pinot Noir.

The Okanagan Valley is also one of the warmest regions in Canada. Although it lies at the same latitude as France’s Champagne Valley, the climate is drier and sunnier, with its chain of lakes keeping temperatures mild. The region receives little rainfall – around 10-16 inches per year – and is well-known for some of the longest, hottest summers in Canada, so kicking back and relaxing on the beaches is a must after a busy day exploring the food and drink.

Visit the beautiful Okanagan Valley to sample the wine, tuck into gourmet cuisine, hike in the hills, then relax on the lakeside beaches. Here’s a guide to where to go in the Okanagan Valley, and enjoy the best of Canadian wine.

Kelowna

Kelowna is the largest town in the region, perched on Lake Okanagan’s eastern shore surrounded by vineyards. This is one of the best places to embark on a wine-tasting tour. Other highlights include the hiking trails and views from Knox Mountain Park on the edge of town, as well as the Kettle Valley Steam Railway, boating and golf.

NARAMATA

Just north of Penticton on Lake Okanagan’s eastern shore, the sleepy resort of Naramata is famous for the Naramata Bench, which has the largest concentration of wineries in the region with gorgeous views and a string of top-class restaurants. There are also plenty of breweries, cideries and distilleries so there’s a tipple to suit all tastes here!

PENTICTON

Further south, Penticton is situated between the lakes of Okanagan and Skaha with renowned beaches on both lakes. The town is a good base to enjoy boating or kayaking and has some 80 wineries. The nearby Kettle Valley Rail Trail is popular for hiking and cycling.

OKANAGAN FALLS

South of Penticton on the southern shore of Skaha Lake, Okanagan Falls is a popular spot. Although the falls have reduced to gentle rapids nowadays, there’s great rock climbing on steep bluffs here. If you prefer something more relaxing, hit the beach at Christie Memorial Park.

OSOYOOS

The southernmost town in the Okanagan Valley is Osoyoos near the US border with Washington State. Lake Osoyoos, which means ‘narrowing of the waters’ in the local First Nations language, is the warmest lake in Canada and in summer its beaches are popular havens for sunbathing, swimming and boating. The town also has 40 fine wineries, and a highlight is District Wine Village, home to 12 wineries plus a brewery and distillery. A literal highlight of Osoyoos is the wonderfully-named Anarchist Lookout, nearly 1,500m above town, offering panoramic views. Osoyoos also has many excellent restaurants and golf courses.

Eager to visit the Okanagan Valley? Browse Journeyscape’s range of holidays in British Columbia.

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