The Napa Valley of the North
There are over 180 wineries operating in the Okanagan Valley, producing more than 75 grape varietals and Penticton sits at the heart of it all, which is why it inherited the nickname “Napa Valley of the North.” Whether you’re a connoisseur, a wine lover or just looking to try something new Penticton is a great place to start.
Wine Touring Tips
With close to 90 wineries within a 20 minute drive of Penticton, how do you know which ones are right for you? Here are a few tips, which will help you make the most of your wine touring adventure.
Do your research. Do you like whites or reds? Sweet or dry? Are you interested in fruit wine or icewine?
Take time to become familiar with “wine-speak”, and improve your wine vocabulary.
Give yourself time to enjoy the tasting experience at each location by planning to visit no more than 3 to 5 wineries on any given day, allowing for travel time between locations.
Consider taking a wine tour with one of the many knowledgeable operators like Grape Escapes Wine Tours, Grape Friends Lounge & Tours, Unique Blend South Okanagan Tours, Sagebrush Tours, Vivid Tours, Wicked Tours, or Cheers Okanagan Tours. We also have the Okanagan’s only hop-on hop-off option with the Grape Savvy Wine Trolley, or you can combine wine touring with outdoor adventure and book a guided biking wine tour with South Okanagan E-Bike Safaris or Epic Cycling, or a kayak and wine tour with Hoodoo Adventures.
Wine Touring Regions
The Okanagan Valley has been ranked as one of the top wine destinations around the world. The South Okanagan in particular is home to over 200 wineries, and Penticton perfectly located in the heart of the South Okanagan wine region.
With abundant sunshine, cooling lake breezes and an optimal temperature range, the Naramata Bench is a premiere grape growing region in Canada. A winding 13 kilometre stretch of gorgeous lake views, vineyards, orchards and mountain views and is home to 45 wineries, 2 distilleries, 1 brewery and 3 cideries.
Summerland’s Bottleneck Drive
Get ready to explore the sweeping vineyards and lush orchards, it’s full of boutique wineries and craft beverage creators. A peaceful meander through the hills and valleys will lead you to Summerland where you will find 20 wineries, 2 breweries, 2 distilleries and 4 cideries.
Okanagan Falls/Skaha Lake
The Heart Of Wine Country™ wine touring in Okanagan Falls wraps around Skaha Lake from Penticton to Vaseux Lake, where you’ll find a string of small wineries with big heart crafting big wines. Amazing views can be found from both sides of the valley. The Okanagan Falls Skaha Lake wine region offers more than 20 wineries to explore.
Soak up the sunshine and dare to dream while meandering through the vineyards of the family-run boutique wineries. Sit back, relax and savour the hidden gem called the Similkameen, home to 15 wineries, 2 cideries and 1 distillery.
Colourful characters, award-winning wineries and stunning scenery all give Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country its unique glow. Bringing together more than 40 of the region’s wineries who have won more accolades than any other wine region in Canada.
When to go Wine Touring
Any time is wine time in Penticton and no matter the season, you’ll find authentic, intimate tasting experiences. Each season does have it’s own nuances though, which are worth knowing before planning your visit.
Winter is a quieter time affording you the opportunity to stay longer and enjoy a more laid-back tasting experience. During this time you’ll often you’ll find the proprietor or winemaker behind the tasting bar regaling guests with tales of the grapes’ journey to the glass and you may find special seasonal treats like mulled wine or chocolates on offer. Ice wine only a few places in the world where this is made.
Spring is a great time to visit your favourite wineries as they release their new vintages and the vineyards are busy preparing for the new growing season.
Summer and early fall are the busiest time for wine touring around Penticton, but are also the best time of year to enjoy the outdoor wine experience. Many wineries have culinary offerings to further tempt your taste buds, and encourage you to stay and soak up the views.
Fall is harvest time so you will often find some opportunities to get involved in the agricultural aspects of the wine industry, and you may be able to watch the workers picking grapes during harvest.