The secret’s getting out. The Okanagan, renowned for its wine scene and natural beauty, made international headlines this past weekend.
In a feature article from The Times of London, headlined British Columbia has what it takes to rival Napa Valley, the valley is praised extensively for its natural beauty and wine.
The article, written by Times staff writer Fiona Sima, dubs the Okanagan “Canada’s up‑and‑coming wine region where vineyards are part of the scenery.”
Sims visited the valley pre-pandemic and had nothing but praise to give.
“You might not have heard of or tasted wine from the Okanagan Valley. Canadians, wisely, drink pretty much all of it themselves, exporting only 5 per cent, but it deserves to be more widely enjoyed,” she wrote.
Sims started her Journey in Vancouver before driving along the Coquihalla. After leaving the Lower Mainland, Sims describes the journey as “a blissful meander on empty roads through fertile valleys before we reached the pretty little town of Hope.”
After a stop in Merritt for cinnamon buns at Brambles Bakery and descending the Coquihalla into Kelowna, Sims got her first glimpse of the valley which she described as “a glittering string of lakes, which ripple southwards for 84 miles.”
Having visited 20 years prior, Sims noted how much the valley has changed.
“Back then it was a sedate kind of place. These days it’s populated by hipsters. Add a number of artisanal coffee shops, a serious chocolatier (Karat), a gin distillery (Okanagan Spirits) and more than seven craft breweries, and you get the picture,” she wrote.
Sims praised Kelowna’s Waterfront Wines, and also made sure to mention some classics like Quails’ Gate, Summerhill, 50th Parallel and Mission Hill.
After sampling the best the Kelowna wine scene had to offer, Sims headed south for Summerland.
“The next day we drove 28 miles south to the town of Summerland, weaving our way along the lake’s western shore, through country lanes, and past orchards of soft fruit trees and grapes ripening in the sun (Okanagan is the fruit bowl of Canada),” she wrote.
In Summerland, the author visited Okanagan Crush Pad before heading south to get lunch at Time Winery in Penticton. “Its buzzy on-site restaurant is the perfect spot for burgers slathered in bacon jam, with a slick of Cabernet/Merlot ketchup and a glass of Syrah,” she said of Time Winery.
Finally, Sims headed south to check out Oliver and eventually Osoyoos.
“Southern Okanagan is Canada’s answer to Mexico, with proper sagebrush and cacti-filled desert, and plenty of partying during normal summers in its many lakeside resorts and campsites,” she detailed.
Sims headed back to Vancouver vie the Hope-Princeton highway to take in the Similkameen Valley.
“This pocket of small-town charm follows a namesake river and is the country’s organic farming capital. I look forward to seeing — and tasting — how it develops over the next 20 years, but if the Okanagan Valley is anything to go by, I’m sure it will age well,” she concluded.
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