Posts Written ByBlake Allen

As one might expect from the Wine Capital of Canada, Oliver can be a bit overwhelming at times. Between the constant rush and roar of the highway and the labyrinth of backroads, it’s easy to forget you’re supposed to be on vacation! But just a quick turn onto Pinehill Road and the sounds of the highway quickly fade as the weary traveller finds herself overlooking the valley below — the serene, garden-clad sanctuary that is Hidden Chapel Winery. A Hidden Gem This award-winning winery is one of those hidden gems that locals like to keep to themselves. Guests are greeted…

You can’t truthfully say you’ve tasted the best of Okanagan wine until you’ve tasted a truly Okanagan take on the king of wine: the Red Bordeaux. No wine tasting is complete without good friends at a garden table in the sun, within earshot of a babbling river, surrounded by lush vineyards and a couple of lazy winery dogs. You haven’t discovered the Wine Capital of Canada until you’ve discovered Oliver’s hidden gem: River Stone Winery. River Stone is the kind of place one can very easily (even inadvertently) spend an entire day soaking up the last rays of sun. But…

The violent, volcanic birth of our valley eons ago left in its wake an environment internationally renowned for wine. In the shadow of the valley’s most monolithic, and thankfully now dormant volcanoes, this history lingers in the soil, providing a terroir unique from the rest of the Okanagan. The grapes grown here exhibit this volcanic legacy in a way that is distinct from the rest of the valley, producing celebrated wines that stand apart. This is the time of year when we squeeze the most out of what remains of our summer sun by escaping the crowds, sneaking in those…

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…

Let’s face it: the Kelowna life is the good life! Kelowna has a near-endless selection of world-class restaurants, lakeside beaches with sun-warmed sands and a diverse array of independent boutique shops dotted along tree-lined streets. It’s no wonder so many people make the trip to Kelowna every summer for a taste of this city. After all, how many cities can claim to have a winery right in the heart of their downtown core? BC’s First Urban Winery Tucked away just off Richter Street in the Kelowna Packing District is Sandhill Winery, British Columbia’s first urban winery. It’s a spacious, modern…

Envision beautiful gardens guarded by forested hills. The din of Oliver’s Highway 97 replaced by the medley of songbirds. The gentle buzz of hummingbirds. From the wineshop, look down on the Okanagan, the hustle and bustle of the valley below. All the stress that comes with travelling the valley quickly disappears here at this hidden gem in the north of Oliver. You can relax in the shadows of a tiny chapel tucked beneath the trees after tasting some award-winning wines. This is Hidden Chapel Winery, nestled in the hills, one quick turn off the highway as you enter Oliver from…

You could say that Oliver is big on wine, but it’s the smaller wineries here that have most shaped this small town’s distinctive character and culture, and truly earned it the moniker of Canada’s Wine Capital. In the north of Oliver, right off the highway as one drives south from Penticton, sits the perfect stepping stone for any wine venture into this internationally celebrated region. River Stone Winery is perched atop a small hill and watched over by what might very well be some of the friendliest winery dogs in the whole of the Okanagan. The winery is lined by…

While tame and docile today, the rolling hills of West Kelowna hide a more explosive past. The volcanic legacy of this region is still found today in the region’s mineral rich soil, which leaves a uniquely identifiable mark on the grapes that grow in the shadow of Mount Boucherie, the now extinct volcano. One of the younger, but already well-established wineries here, Volcanic Hills Estate Winery, has tapped into this distinct terroir and built a prominent name for itself through award-winning wines that reflect this rich volcanic soil. Recently, there also seems to be a lot of gold that is…

Vacations are rarely as relaxing as they’re meant to be. All the stress of rushing up and down the valley, down dead-end roads and along busy highways looking for the winery that your friends told you about. What was its name? Why not just escape all that hustle and bustle and enjoy the summer visiting an authentic slice of Italy right here in the Okanagan. High along the West Kelowna Farm Loop, nestled at the end of a scenic country road, sits Ciao Bella Winery — and it is truly a little piece of Napoli. The winery is the long-held…

There is no better place to idle away these hot and sunny summer days than in downtown Kelowna. This pocket-sized city with a laid-back attitude is emblematic of the Okanagan Valley itself. People flock to this diamond by the lake to unwind on its warm, sandy beaches, shop its unique artisanal shops and discover its internationally renowned wines. But for those who spend a little too much time at the beach and simply don’t have the time to get lost looking for wineries outside of the city limits, fear not! Because Sandhill Winery, one of Canada’s most celebrated wineries, is…