Looking for a fall getaway that doesn’t involved endless security checks, long lineups and getting sardine-canned into an airplane? No problem. Just saddle up and mosey on over to the Westside Wine Trail, where rural meets urban, mountain meets lake and visitors meet winemakers who are passionate about every aspect of their work. Hit the not-so-wild Westside Wine Trail and visit the large and luxurious Mission Hill Family Estate (Intervin International 2011 Winery of the Year), the intimate and rustic Rollingdale Winery (Organic Wine Review 2010 Organic Winery of the Year) or any of the seven other wineries that have helped put West Kelowna and Westbank on the map. Visitors who heed John Soule’s (not Horace Greeley’s) admonition to “Go west, young man” can drink in breath-taking views of the Okanagan Lake when they aren’t sampling at the venerable Quails’ Gate, sipping more organics at Kalala Organic Estate and Beaumont Family Estate, or savouring Canada’s only Auxerrois icewine at Little Straw Vineyards.

Take time to let your Mustang cool down while you take a hike on Mount Boucherie, which was a volcano long before humans arrived on the planet to start making and drinking wine. Afterward, refresh yourself in the tasting rooms of the aptly named Mt. Boucherie and Volcanic Hills estate wineries, each operated by families with a long history of growing premium grapes in the area. Have a bee in your bonnet for something just a little different? Head on over to Industrial Road, where Meadow Vista Honey Wines creates a variety of wines from nature’s golden gift. The Westwide Wine Trail traveller is sure to need some grub along the way and there is no need to leave the beaten path. Mouth-watering food selections await at Quails’ Gate, Little Straw and Mission Hill wineries, or drop down to The Cove and enjoy waterfront dining at its best at The Bonfire Grill.

The Westside Wine Trail isn’t only about wine—interests in arts and crafts, First Nations culture and retail therapy are all well served. Plan your spring visit to the Westside now. You won’t be disappointed.

~ Lorne Eckersley