Located at the basin of the Okanagan Lake, Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada showcases a beautiful landscape with rows of grapes lining hillsides and peach and apple orchards growing along roadsides.
But aside from its beauty, the valley boasts a vivacious wine scene.
About a five-hour road trip from Vancouver or 40-minute flight to Penticton, Naramata Bench wine country is waiting to be discovered by food and wine lovers.
Okanagan Valley’s geography, consisting of hillsides, valley floors and benchlands, makes winemaking unique to the Naramata Bench Wine Country and in a short period of time, it has become the second largest industry in the valley.
Winemaking is still relatively new to the area—starting about 20 years ago—yet continues to grow each year. And it is one of the only places known to grow more than 60 varieties of grapes so close in proximity. The Naramata Bench consists of 29 wineries that are situated on sandy cliffs created by and overlooking Okanagan Lake. The wineries along this winding country road produce anything from a bold French Pinot Noir to a German Reisling and is a wine experience sure to excite wine enthusiasts and please wine lovers.
Naramata Bench wineries
Here are a few wineries not to miss in Naramata Bench Wine Country:
La Frenz Winery
This vineyard uses meticulous practices and stewardship to produce their award-winning wines. It was awarded the “Best Small Winery of the Year in 2013.” The breathtaking view of Okanagan Lake from the wine shop and tasting room makes La Frenz a favorite when touring the area—the view was featured on the $100 Canadian banknote from 1954-1975. Don’t leave here without trying their Pinot Noir, which was voted the best in the 2013 Okanagan Spring Wine Festival.
The winery is located at 1525 Randolf Rd., Penticton BC).
Poplar Grove Winery
This winery uses family-owned estate grown fruit to produce world-class wines. The winery offers an extensive list of wines to try in their impressive tasting room. But besides wine tasting offered at the winery, there is a restaurant on-site, The Vanilla Pod, which overlooks the Okanagan Valley and serves up delicious locally grown and seasonal dishes.
Try The Legacy, their signature blend, when visiting Poplar Grove Winery, which is located at 425 Middle Bench Rd., Penticton BC.
Howling Bluff Estate Winery
This small, family-run winery is making some bold red wines along with a couple crisp whites. The tasting room is a laid back and comfortable atmosphere perched on benchlands over looking Okanagan Lake. The outside patio at Howling Bluff Estate Winery make it easy to enjoy a glass of wine along with the peaceful view. Their vintage wine is a favorite among the rest of the eight varieties crafted. This winery is located at 1086 Three Mile Rd., Penticton BC.
And for a change after all that wine tasting, visit Cannery Brewery for some microbrews. This brewery is located in an old cannery and is crafting ales, porters and fine lagers. All their beers are completely natural, not pasteurized and contain no pesticides, which give each of them a clean, crisp taste. They also produce seasonal brews. So during a tasting, be sure to try whatever is new during that season.
Cannery Brewery is located at 1475 Fairview Rd., Penticton, BC.
Other things to do in the Naramata Bench Wine Country
Aside from wine tasting, there are a plethora of other activities for adventure travelers, families and the independent-minded traveler.
Picking fresh fruit from local orchards, swimming in the beautiful lake or enjoying some homemade goodies from Penticton’s Farmers’ Market are just a few activities popular in and around Okanagan Valley. A scenic cruise on the Casabella Princess gives travelers a day on Okanagan Lake offering great views of Penticton. Or another option is to relax on the beach of Okanagan Lake in Penticton. Or travelers can head to the beach at the shores of Skaha Lake in Penticton where they can rent stand-up paddle boards, cabana rentals, kayaks and other such eco-friendly water activity rentals.
Whether you are looking for an adventurous destination or an award-winning wine country, Okanagan Valley and the Naramata Bench Wine Country will make your experience a memorable holiday.