The best gems are always hidden just a little off the beaten path. Perched above West Kelowna, along the charmingly rural West Kelowna farm loop, rests a serene and authentic slice of Italy at Ciao Bella Winery.

Where Famiglia is Always Welcome

This working-farm vineyard spans oceans and continents. Owners Roberto and Sharon Fiume maintain an authentic Italian working farm in the heart of the Okanagan. This time of year, guests can unwind in the peaceful garden lounge and listen in on the vineyard workers calling out to each other in Italian. Guests are always greeted at the door with a warm benvenuto, and a freshly prepared plate of spuntini (charcuterie, the Italian way) is always available, along with cappuccinos for designated drivers. You become part of the famiglia here before you’ve even sampled the first wine.

The family roots run deep here, as do the stubby and stout old-growth vines that line the garden lounge. At more than 60 years old, they are the oldest in West Kelowna. Among these vines are the most famous and internationally acclaimed of Okanagan grapes, the Pinot Noir (known here by their proper Italian title, Pinot Nero). Hand-picked and crafted in small batches in a classic Italian style reminiscent of the Fiume’s homeland, prior vintages of the Pinot Nero have been recognized as the Best in BC, and this year’s 2016 has been awarded a Gold at both the Wine Align and All Canadian National Wine Awards.

Before the summer sun fades from the Okanagan, swing on by this authentic slice of Napoli to sample both the traditional Italian lifestyle and one of the best Pinot Noirs in Canada.

Must-Try Wines

2017 Pinot Grigio: This classic off-dry white is defined by strong notes of green apples and apricots, complemented by a calming citric nose.

2016 Rosé: This pink wine is ideal for picnics at the beach. Few wines so elegantly summarize life in the Okanagan as this rosé. A fruitful nose, fresh out of the garden, with prominent notes of strawberries, rhubarb, and an ever-so-subtle hint of watermelon linger on the back of the palate.

2016 Pinot Nero: Only recently awoken from its 13-month oaked slumber, this light-bodied red, made in the traditional Italian-style, was awarded two Gold Medals this year at both of Canada’s premier National Wine Awards. A rich aroma of Okanagan dark cherries follows from the nose onto the palate, where it’s paired with smooth notes of dark chocolate. This is not the first time Ciao Bella has been recognized as the home of BC’s best Pinot Noir, and this vintage is a fine illustration of why.