There are many ways and hundreds of places to enjoy wine on, around and beyond Route 97. This is a great circle wine tour that will take you from the Okanagan to the Thompson and back again. Take your time, this is not your ordinary wine tour. Our first stop is in Penticton, about an hour north of the USA/Canada border on Route 97.
Kayak and Wine
Imagine soaking up the beauty of Okanagan Lake while you learn about local wines from the comfort of your kayak with Hoodoo Adventures. You start in Penticton, kayak on the lake, stop for a delicious picnic of fruit and cheese and then take a leisurely chauffeured tour of some of the Naramata Bench Wineries.
Should you prefer your seat to be a bit higher up with two wheels beneath you, then the Velo Vino cycling wine tour is for you. You’ll be shuttled through wine country to the world-renowned Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail above Naramata and Okanagan Lake. This area is the jewel of the KVR and a great way to engage with nature. At the end of your ride, you are greeted with a seasonal picnic in a vineyard. When you’ve eaten your fill, it’s off on a chauffeured wine tour.
Weddings and Wine
The next day, take Hwy 97 N past Peachland to the 97C Connector and then Hwy 5N which will take you out of the Okanagan and into Kamloops in the Thompson Valley. Kamloops is one of BC’s newest wine regions and you’ll find some delicious wines at Privato Vineyard and Winery! Its name comes from the word private, which perfectly describes the setting here. If you like what you taste, you can join their wine club with shipping available across Canada.
Privato’s beautiful grounds are the perfect setting for weddings. Beautiful gardens in an idyllic setting are the perfect spot to say, “I do.” Stunning views of the vineyards and sweeping vistas of the mountains of the Thompson Valley provide a magical setting for your special day. You could even finish off the special day with an elegant wine reception. Whether it’s your first time, or you’re renewing your vows, an authentic vineyard wedding can be had right here.
Cowboys and Wine
Ten minutes east of Kamloops, just off Hwy 1 is Monte Creek Ranch Winery. And yes, this is a real working ranch complete with grass-fed cattle and horses, with an added sweet touch of honey and haskap berry jam. You’ll also find two estate vineyards on 75 acres of land.
While it’s tempting to stay outside and soak up the scenery, you’ll find the wine, inside. Step into their tasting room and discover the unique flavours created from their estate vineyards. Tempt your taste buds with Riesling, Cabernet Merlot, Frontenac Gris, Red and white blends, as well as fruit wines and table wines. Tastings are free when you purchase a bottle at the ranch.
What’s on Your Bucket List
From Monte Creek, take Hwy 97S down through Vernon and then to Kelowna. It’s time to check a few things off your bucket list with Okanagan Bucketlist. They offer several packages that include going to Big White Ski Resort, Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, Sparkling Hill Resort, The Eldorado, and Predator Ridge. Each offers an iconic experience. One of them includes a trip to a winery. Let Bucklist arrange a meal to remember. Mission Hill Family Estate Winery is touted as the centrepiece of the Canadian wine tourism industry. They also have one of the top five winery restaurants in the world! Yes, it’s that good. While you’re at it, consider their other packages. Chances are, since this is the Okanagan, there’s wine involved.
Wine Tours from Lake to Desert
We’re almost at the end of our circle wine tour. Sagebrush Tours can pick you up in Kelowna or in Penticton, depending on the tour you choose and take you on a wine adventure in style. They have half a dozen wine tours to choose from, including the Okanagan Tour with Spirit where you’ll visit four of the Okanagan’s more playful and notorious wineries. Wine tours run from Lake Country, north of Kelowna, all the way south on Route 97 to the Oliver/Osoyoos area.
In the Oliver area, you can take a tour of snakes, scorpions and thrashers as you learn about the unique, rare, and endangered places, plants, and animals of the Osoyoos area. Walk through Canada’s only desert and experience rare Sage and Antelope ecosystems. You can even search for the secretive Ground Mantis. Should you find it, reward yourself at the end of the day with a nice glass of Okanagan wine.