6 Must-Visit Okanagan Wineries
The best wine vacation destinations in the Valley.
There’s always lots to do—and plenty of wine to drink—in the Okanagan Valley Wine Region. The wineries and the winery association featured here rise above the crop with the quality of the wines they produce, their winemaking practices, and the events they host.
1. Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
A trailblazer in environmentally sustainable winemaking practice, Tinhorn Creek has built its reputation on its fine selection of estate-grown wines. The winery is also home to Miradoro Restaurant, which serves award-winning cuisine in a dining room with panoramic South Okanagan views. The vineyard is currently rebranding its Oldfield Series as Oldfield Reserve, a nod to the brand’s growth and to the sophistication of its top-tier wines.
Over the summer, Tinhorn’s event schedule kicks into high gear. May through September, the vineyard hosts its Canadian Concert Series, showcasing some of the best new Canadian talent under the stars at its hillside amphitheatre. July 27th, the Starlit Supper returns, featuring a multi-course menu by Miradoro, complete with wine pairing and telescopes to view the stars.
August 18th, visitors can stroll through the vineyard with viticulturist Andrew Moon during the Golden Mile Bench Vineyard Tour and Tasting. Event-goers will sample Tinhorn Creek wines as they learn about vineyard practices, sustainability, and the new Golden Mile Bench sub appellation. This experience is capped with an outdoor reception, with canapés accompanied by Tinhorn Creek wine.
This premiere Okanagan wine destination also offers various tours and tastings in its tasting bar and private tasting room and, regardless of the event, Tinhorn Creek promises its visitors an experience to remember.
For more information visit www.tinhorn.com
2. Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
Visit Okanagan Crush Pad and discover the reason the winery team is so passionate about organic farming. The team is committed to offering simply made, pure wines that uniquely express the Okanagan Valley terroir. Stroll through the vineyard alongside the chickens and ducks and you will see a testament to the natural farming philosophy that helps define the winery.
The maker of Haywire and Narrative wines, Okanagan Crush Pad, known to locals as OCP, farms their land the old fashion way—using nature as its guide. The vineyard relies entirely on healthy, balanced, ripe fruit as the base of production for its wines. Technological interference is kept to a minimum, allowing each bottle to tell the story of the vineyard. OCP wines mature naturally in large concrete tanks, which allow healthy, natural and living organisms to be preserved and native fermentation to take place.
Open daily during the touring season, the Tasting Lounge is built into the heart of the winemaking facility, giving visitors a unique, first-hand glimpse into the making of premium, organic wine. OCP’s Tasting Lounge offers cheese and charcuterie platters, which can be enjoyed on the patio or paired with a VIP tasting, upon request. During Thursdays in July and August, visitors can also take in the Live @ Crush Pad Music Series while soaking up views of sunsets over Switchback Organic Vineyard and Lake Okanagan. Co-owners Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie, and winemaker Matt Dumayne, along with the rest of the knowledgeable team at OCP, are always happy to answer any questions that visitors have about their winemaking process.
For more information visit www.okanagancrushpad.com
3. Poplar Grove Winery
Poplar Grove is passionate about nurturing its estate vineyards to produce award-winning, premium wines. The winery’s stunning lakeside location on the Naramata Bench makes it a popular choice for private functions, including weddings and corporate parties.
The tasting room at Poplar Grove has high ceilings, as well as expansive windows that let in the view. Tastings are held at tasting pods, whose horseshoe-shaped design encourages interaction among guests as a Poplar Grove host guides them through the wines. Post-tasting, visitors are encouraged to meander and explore the grounds, where they will find a grassy area perfect for a picnic.
The Vanilla Pod, the onsite restaurant, is open 11 months a year and serves Mediterranean and international-style tapas dishes prepared with the freshest Okanagan ingredients. In celebration of Canada’s 150th on July 1st, Executive Chef Bruno Terroso is preparing a signature menu, comprised of traditional dishes from every province.
Subscribers to Poplar Grove’s Wine Club enjoy a host of member-only privileges, including three six-bottle shipments a year. Members are also invited to Poplar Grove’s annual barbecue, an evening of fine wine, excellent food, and dancing. Of special note to both Wine Club members and visitors is the winery’s recent release of the Blanc de Noirs, its rosé, the perfect accompaniment to any summer day.
For more information visit www.poplargrove.ca
4. Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
Whether at the tasting room or The Sonora Room—accompanied by cuisine especially designed to showcase the character of Burrowing Owl’s wine offerings—a visit to this winery is a rare opportunity to taste a selection of premium library wines and experience the finest in Okanagan hospitality.
A pioneer in conservation and green energy, Burrowing Owl is keenly focused on renewable energy and has been consistently adding to its stock of solar panels since 2006.
It’s expected that funds generated by the winery’s $3 tastings for the Burrowing Owl Foundation will reach $1 million in July, and a celebration is planned to commemorate the occasion.
For more information visit www.burrowingowlwine.ca
5. Culmina Family Estate Winery
Each of Culmina Family Estate Winery’s wines is a testament the Triggs family’s philosophy that great wines are made when art and science unite. Culmina hosts a selection of seated tasting experiences, where visitors can discover the care and attention to detail with which the Triggs operate their winery.
Upon arrival for Culmina’s introductory Reserve Tasting experience, guests are greeted at the door and invited to the patio to enjoy a splash of wine. They are then seated around the Triggs’ Doukhobor table and led through a selection of four wines including the winery’s flagship, Hypothesis, in the relaxed Tasting Room setting.
Culmina’s Portfolio Tasting involves a flight of six wines, during which visitors discover Culmina’s process of crafting quality wines from its Golden Mile Bench estate. Only available with advance notice and at certain times of the year, Culmina’s Portfolio Tasting allows guest a broader look at Culmina’s portfolio, including “winery-only’ offerings like its Cabernet Franc.
Culmina’s Vineyard and Winery Tour offers a more comprehensive look at the Triggs’ estate. It begins with a description of the winery’s viticultural philosophy in a Cabernet Franc block. Guests then stroll through the winery and complete their tour with a seated tasting in Culmina’s VIP room overlooking the Fermentation Hall.
Since each of Culmina’s tasting experiences is limited to six to 10 people—more with advance notice—visitors gain a uniquely intimate opportunity of learning about the winery, the Triggs family, and each other, while it is ensured that each of their small groups remains undisturbed.
For more information visit www.culmina.ca
6. Naramata Bench Wineries Association
Among Canada’s premiere—and most picturesque—wine regions, The Naramata Bench is a top destination for wine enthusiasts. The Naramata Bench Wineries Association is a group of 28 wineries working together to present the Bench’s renowned wines and culture.
Subscribers to NBWA’s Best of the Bench Wine Club receive two mixed cases a year of Naramata Bench wines at winery pricing. Visitors can pick up the NBWA’s Passport Wine Touring Treasure Map at any member winery, and once they’ve collected six passport stamps, they can win tickets to the NBWA’s 2018 events.
This year’s always-popular Tailgate Party will be held at D’Angelo Estate Winery on September 9th, with a “Back to Our Roots” theme in honour of Canada’s 150th. This annual harvest event features live music, dancing, and the chance to sample wine from each of the NBWA’s wineries. For information on this event and those held throughout the season at individual wineries, visit naramatabench.com.