Okanagan Valley, Canada
British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley offers superb value all around. Producers turn out world-class red and white wines you can taste in both relaxed and sophisticated spaces. Add in awe inspiring nature, and you’ll leave with renewed optimism toward the world. Plan to bring wine home, as these bottles can be hard to find in the U.S.
Wineries to Visit
Most wineries offer similar price points for bottles (mid-$20s and up) and tasting fees around five Canadian dollars, often waived with purchase. In southeast Kelowna, Tantalus Vineyards makes taut Riesling in a sleek, modern facility. Mission Hill Family Estate, evocative of a modern Tuscan farmhouse, functions like an adult Disney Land. Among other activities, you can have lunch, walk the grounds, take in a concert or try a culinary workshop. The Hatch bests competitors by a buck, as it offers tastes of five wines for four Canadian dollars. Bottle labels adorned with playful art make for great souvenirs. Drive south to festive Okanagan Crush Pad for three different lines of wine and seasonal live music. In the hotter, drier south around Oliver/Osoyoos, Moon Curser Vineyards nails Portuguese grape Touriga Nacional. And don’t pass up a pizza lunch with Tinhorn Creek wines at on-site Miradoro Restaurant.
Where to Stay
Base yourself in the heart of the action in Kelowna. Hotel Zed Kelowna brings zany colors and graphics to rooms downtown. You’ll also have access to complimentary bikes or roller skates and a downloaded map to help you explore on the cheap. The Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort features a stunning locale on Okanagan Lake that’s near to downtown. Burrowing Owl Estate Winery is the rare venue with upscale guest rooms. While rooms here can be pricey in summer, rates plunge come November. The best value option close to vineyards is camping or booking a yurt at Nk’Mip RV Park & Campground. On the shore of Osoyoos lake, the site features a private beach, seasonal pool and proximity to Nk’Mip Cellars.
Where to Drink
In Kelowna, check out Vice & Virtue Brewing Co. The good food, craft beers and wine list are all priced right. Waterfront Wines Restaurant looks impressive and potentially pricey, but the bistro food and artisan cheeses actually offer terrific value. Many wineries also run excellent restaurants, you just have to know where to look. Penticton finally got the bar it needed in Mile Zero Wine Bar, replete with tap lines of local wines, ping pong and DJ nights. Newcomer Time Winery, an urban winery, offers flights of five wines for five Canadian dollars. Nearby, Brodo Kitchen limits its menu to keep prices low. Try a playful dish to pair with an affordable glass pour.
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