Members of the Naramata Bench Winery Association are inviting guests to get up close and personal when they visit the Bench this summer. A host of winery events are scheduled to expand the visiting experience beyond the usual tours and tastings. Live music and theatre, western barbecues, winery garden tours, fashion trunk shows, wine blending opportunities and even a spider hunt are among the many surprises designed by owners, winemakers and staff to spend more time with their guests.

With several new wineries opening this year, the Naramata Bench is becoming an expanding garden of earthly delights. Upper Bench Estate Winery is making their own cheese so visitors will be able to purchase wine, cheese, fruit and bread on site. Poplar Grove Winery has become home to the popular Vanilla Pod Restaurant, a long-time favourite in Summerland, and Misconduct Wine Co. is also opening a European style deli/bistro and lounge with Chef Abul Adame, the founding chef from Penticton’s Amante Bistro.  

Many Naramata wineries have picnic facilities that encourage wine tourists to sit back and relax. You can bring your own picnic, or a number of wineries offer a selection of picnic delights.  The new Monster Vineyards has a large patio, Black Widow Winery has cheese platters to enjoy on their deck, and Elephant Island Orchard Wines has a quaint, family friendly courtyard and goodies to pair with its wines.

And the venerable Lake Breeze Vineyard is undergoing a beautiful facelift that—if this is actually possible—will afford visitors even better views from its spectacular location, as well as an enhanced tasting room and restaurant patio experience.

And the big event of the season is back by popular demand, the Tailgate Party is happening on September 8th.  Don’t miss it!  Check the calendar at to plan your wine holidays this summer.

~ Lorne Eckersley