7 Great Wineries to visit in the Okanagan

Located in the interior of British Columbia, a 4.5 hour drive from Vancouver, British Columbia is the Napa Valley of the north.  The Okanagan Valley from Vernon to Penticton is home to some world renowned wineries.  There are also some small quaint family run wineries that create delicious wines that can only be bought direct from their own wine shops.  Located on the banks of Okanagan Lake, these wineries have fertile soil that when combined with the famous Okanagan sunshine is a perfect match for growing fantastic grapes to rival the Napa Valley. 

We headed out with our good friend Shayla for a day touring the wineries found in West Kelowna.  Many offer great tastings as well as panoramic views of Okanagan Lake and surrounding hills.

Mission Hill - view

We used the Westside Wine Trail as a guide and started at Rollingdale Winery.  Opened in 2004, Rollingdale Winery then transitioned for 3 years to an organic winery.  They are presently the only certified organic winery in British Columbia, Canada.  We were warmly greeted as we entered their wine cellar (don’t be discouraged by the outside as it looks like a giant farm shed, the inside is definitely interesting).  The tasting is done right in the cellar with their large casks serving as the backdrop.  They charge for the tasting but the fee is waived if you purchase a bottle of their wine.  If you like one, it is important to buy it as they only sell their wines out of their wine shop.

Rollingdale

Tracy with our good friend, Shayla at Rollingdale Winery.

A short drive up the road, we came to Beaumont Family Estate Winery.  We walked in and were immediately welcomed and offered samples of cheese and jellies.  It really felt like a family run business and we love that.  For a $3 tasting fee, we were able to sample 7 different wines, one of which was a delicious Late Harvest which we decided to purchase and the tasting fee was waived.  This is also a popular winery for stagette/bachelorette parties as the owners provide bins of costumes for the girls to dress up in during their wine tastings.

 Beaumont - cheese & jelliesBeaumont - wine bottles

 

 

 

 

 

We piled into the car again, thanks to Evan for being our designated driver, and headed a couple of minutes further down the road to Volcanic Hills Estate Winery.  A new winery to West Kelowna, they have a beautiful large wine shop filled with local goods as well as their wines for purchase.  The tasting fee was $2 for your pick of 4 wines from a large list of about 15 wines.  They had a large selection of both white and red wines and a separate tasting menu for their ice wines with a separate fee.  We loved the fact that we could pick the wines from such an extensive list as we were able to really determine our favourite types and flavours.

Volcanic Hills

Just around the corner was Mt. Boucherie Family Estate Winery.  Perched right at the top of a hill overlooking Okanagan Lake, the wine shop has stunning and sweeping views over the vineyards to the lake below.  A small, quaint and cozy wine shop with really personable servers, we really enjoyed the wine tasting experience here.  It could have been due to the three wineries we had already visited to do tastings, but they were also really friendly.

Mt. Boucherie Family Estate Winery

It was at this point that we thought we should have lunch and thanks to a recommendation from Rollingdale Winery, we headed to Little Straw Vineyards to eat at their restaurant the Barrel Top Grill.  This is a great relaxed, casual restaurant with a reasonably priced menu with a gorgeous deck that overlooks their vineyards and the lake.

Little Straw Vineyards

Chef Trevor specializes in smoked pork that was absolutely delicious.  We decided to try their Tapas Sampler for $12 which included a plate full of food.  Not only does Chef Trevor create incredible food, he also personally serves each table and took the time to explain all of the tapas that were included on our plate.  It is this kind of personal service that we love and really makes an impression.

Little Straw Vineyard - chef Trevor

Little Straw Vineyards - tapas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also highly recommend doing the wine tasting at your table while you eat.  It doesn’t get any better than good food and great wine enjoyed on a deck with a stunning view.  Little Straw Family Estate continues to be a family run winery and you can see the families’ houses right on the property.  In fact, only two workers are non-family and we really enjoyed our time here and bought some delicious wines.

Our next two wineries were the much larger and the more well-known wineries, Quails’ Gate Estate Winery and Mission Hill Family Estate.  Quails’ Gate Estate Winery is a large establishment made up of several buildings.  There is the wine shop, our destination, as well as the Old Vines restaurants with tranquil a patio and exceptional views.  For tasting, they offer 2 of their wines complimentary and then another 3 for $5, of which you can choose from a list.  If you purchase two bottles of wine, the tasting fee is waived.

Quail's Gate Winery

Our last stop on this epic trek through the West Kelowna wineries was Mission Hill Family Estate.  What an expansive and impressive estate!  The centre courtyard with views to Okanagan Lake below is framed by the Terrace Restaurant which offers a fine dining experience in the sunny Okanagan.  Take a few minutes to explore the grounds and make sure to bring your camera.

Mission Hill - courtyard

Be careful not to get lost in the wine shop, it is massive.  We headed straight to the tasting bar on the left when you enter the wine shop.  Here we sampled some of their more mainstream wines and we got to sample one of their two complimentary wines – you got to choose either the red or white selection.  Then, we did the actual tasting where for $5 we got to sample 3 different wines from a decent list of red and white wines. One thing that we didn’t realize until we were just leaving is that the two tasting bars actually offer different wines for tasting.  The tasting bar to the right of the entrance offers more of their select and premium wines that are harder to come by and the fee is 3 wines for $10.  Both of the tasting fees are applied to a purchase of 2 bottles of wine.

Mission Hill - wine shop

Last stop with our friend, Shayla, at Mission Hill Winery.

We had a great day, although near the end all of the wines we tasted were ALL delicious…I wonder why?  Although the order with which you visit these wineries can be done in reverse, we would recommend doing it in the above order.  This way, you begin with the smaller, quainter wineries and work up to the larger more commercialized wineries.  We hope you enjoy your own wine tour in the sunny Okanagan!

***A BIG thank you to our friend, Shayla Sawchenko, for providing the photos for this post.

Where are other great wine producing regions in the world we should visit?  What is your favourite winery?

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Some posts on our site, Travels4Couples, do allow us to make money. However, we do not sacrifice our integrity and only post those articles that match our brand and we feel would interest our readers.

8 Responses to 7 Great Wineries to visit in the Okanagan

  1. IT looks like you had a fantastic time! Which of the wineries was your favorite? And how did you choose exactly which ones you wanted to visit? There are so many fabulous wineries in the Okanagan. I often stay in Kelowna to visit friends and Gray Monk Estates is one of my favorite go-tos there…
    Marie recently posted..Another Kind of Attraction – Treasure Hunting in BCMy Profile

    Marie August 21, 2012 at 2:42 pm Reply
    • It is so hard to choose a favourite of the wineries we visited but perhaps for overall experience with an amazing lunch it would be Little Straw. We decided on visiting these wineries as we were staying on the Westside of Okanagan Lake and these ones were all in close proximity to each other and made for a great day trip. We also love Gray Monk Estates, our favourite wine there is Kerner – delicious! Hope you get to visit many of these wineries soon, Marie! 🙂

      evan&tracy August 30, 2012 at 8:18 pm Reply
  2. Nice information! There is amazing about “Great Wineries to visit in the Okanagan”. I am impressed by the excellence of information. There are a lot of good funds here. I am sure I will visit this position again soon. I know something about this same information, to know you can click here.

    Len Napolitano April 18, 2013 at 9:25 pm Reply
    • Thank you Len! We love a good winery!

      evan&tracy June 4, 2013 at 9:51 pm Reply
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