The Okanagan Wine Tour

July 02, 2013 at 7:19 PM

After what has been a seemingly long, winter, the sun has returned to the Okanagan Valley with gusto and is drawing people to the Okanagan Wine Region in flocks. This past weekend marked the beginning of the busy season for wineries as tourists and seasonal residents have arrived. Following another successful Okanagan Spring Wine Festival, wineries in the area are eager to present their new vintages and award-winning bottles to their guests, while giving them a literal lay of the land via tour. 

Over the course of the last few years, the wine industry in the Okanagan has expanded exponentially and with it, the wine touring industry has followed. Less than a decade ago, the idea of taking a wine tour was still somewhat novel and new. Now, creating a wine tour agenda or utilizing a local touring company is commonplace and trending. 

image_29.jpegEven as a local, visiting multiple wineries over the course of a weekend or even simply an afternoon, is a great way to embrace the local wine culture that is evolving in the region. The list of Okanagan wineries continues to grow and with it the wines, making it somewhat overwhelming as a newcomer to the region and even as a local; however, there are a few simple approaches that will help you plan the perfect Okanagan Wine tour.

1) Determine the time you want to dedicate to the tour. Do you have a weekend, an afternoon, a few hours? Establishing your time frame will help you plot your course for your ideal wine tour-taking travel time into consideration.

2) Decide on the region you wish to cover. The Okanagan wine region is typically divided into benches: The Northern Bench (Winfield/Lake Country area), The Eastside Bench (Kelowna area), The Westside Bench (West Kelowna region), Naramata Bench (Naramata/Penticton area), Summerland Bench (Summerland area) and finally the Golden Mile or the South Okanagan encompassing Oliver/Osoyoos region. Within each region are pockets of wineries with most areas too condensed to be covered in a day or even a weekend. Once you decide on your preferred region, you can begin to narrow down your choices for your tour. 

3) Establish the style of tour you want to create. Do you want to leisurely visit only a few wineries? Do you want to cover as many as possible in the time you have allocated? Consider your style of excursion and even jot down a couple reasons for why you are going on the wine tour. 

tasting_wine.jpg4) Use the OKWineries site to create your custom wine tour. Click on the WINERIES menu, and filter according to Region, Address, Ratings, Tours Available or Has Restaurant. Select ADD TO MY WINE TOUR and then click on MY WINE TOUR at the top Right Hand corner. You will then be able to create a map for your tour with the Google Maps widget on the site. 

5) Designate a driver or contact a local tour company or hire a driver. Using the custom winery tour you created, it's important to determine how you will get around safely while still enjoying the delicious wines. The Okanagan Winery trail is full of winding roads at various elevations, so, traveling safely and responsibly is key. 

We hope you enjoy the wine tour season to the fullest! 

Glass half full, 

Lisa Gaytan-Berg

Tags: wine tour, Okanagan wine, Okanagan bench
Category: Generic

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