Over the decades the Okanagan Valley has grown by leaps and bounds and is renowned all over the world for its vineyards and award-winning wines.
The South Okanagan, especially, has carved a place for itself in the world of wine thanks to the beauty of the area as well as the quality of the vintages produced.
The Naramata, a quaint hamlet surrounded by stunning visions of vineyards and architecturally impressive wineries dotting the landscape, is a mainstay when it comes to wine.
The Naramata Bench, home to old and new wineries, is a must-see just outside Penticton.
The newly created Similkameen Wineries Association sees eight wineries banding together in an attempt to encourage visitors to rediscover the area, which is often overlooked.
Until recently, many of the grapes grown in the Similkameen have been sold to wineries in the Okanagan contributing to their awards lists. Now the Similkameen region has 11 wineries, is a bona-fide wine country itself and is starting to show the quality of wine the terroir can produce.
“What we want to do is promote visitors to travel to the area. The big challenge is that people seem to think the Similkameen is a long way away, but it is really only 30 minutes away from Penticton. You can be a Similkameen winery in the same amount of time or less from Osoyoos,” said Rhys Pender, coordinator Similkameen Wineries Association. “We want to get people use to making day trips out here. We have great food that is also produced in the Similkameen and by driving visitors here it not only helps wineries but promotes agri-tourism as well.”
Don’t forget Oliver, considered the nation’s wine capital, which boasts many fruitful wineries as well as the neighbouring community of Osoyoos. Also are Okanagan Falls and Summerland which have some wine gems nestled in their brilliant communities.
There are four opportunities to taste the best of the Okanagan. Thanks to the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, spring, summer, fall and Icewine festivals keep consumers up-to-date and trying new things thanks to the hundreds of unique events held locally.
To have all your wine questions answered visit the Penticton and Wine Country Visitors Centre where not only are there informed and friendly employees available, but also wines and all the accessories you could think of.
If you’re partial to ales and lagers, the city is home to several micro breweries and brew pubs.
Cannery Brewing Company, 112, 1475 Fairview Rd. Established in 2000, the Cannery Brewing Company makes its home in the Cannery Trade Centre on Fairview Road. One unique feature of this craft brewery is the availability of “party pigs” — which are 10-litre plastic containers fitted with a tap.
Tin Whistle Brewing Company, 954 Eckhardt Ave. Established in 1995, the Tin Whistle produces English-style ales with such names as Coyote Pale Ale, Black Widow Dark Ale, Rattlesnake E.S.B. Ale and Killer Bee Dark Honey Ale.
Barley Mill Brew Pub, 2460 Skaha Lake Rd. One of Penticton’s most popular gathering places for years, the Barley Mill started an in-house brewery in 1997. The brewery, which is situated right in the middle of the busy establishment, features several popular beers as well as an ever-changing seasonal offering.