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 winery complete with tasting bars, lounge and a virtual vineyard experience. This isn’t some new trend. Sandhill Winery has roots in this city that trace back to 1932 when it was known as Calona Winery. The old tasting bar can still be found at the back of the new tasting room, restored and renovated to house Wayne Gretzky Estate wines, a premium line that helps support youth hockey across Canada.
While this little corner of the winery now has a more updated look, it has maintained its cavernous, stone-walled cellar atmosphere. Any tasting here is bound to be a favoured memory for anyone, local or guest. To truly appreciate the history of this unique winery and the history of Okanagan Wine in general, be sure to do a tasting of the Conviction Series that chronicles the history of Calona Winery. Then, pop into the winery’s museum in the room adjacent.
Sandhill Happy Hour
For locals (and those still soaking up what remains of the Okanagan summer sun), the real fun begins on September 14, when the popular Sandhill Happy Hour returns. Why spend your Friday nights in a crowded bar when you and your friends could just relax in the winery’s open-spaced lounge with live music? Happy Hour entails catered, three-course meals featuring a rotating schedule of local Okanagan chefs and glasses of Sandhill’s award-winning wines that range from $8 to $11. Happy Hour at Sandhill is every Friday from 5 to 7 pm. Because the featured artists and chefs are always changing, you can count on no two nights providing the same experience.
Join the Club
For those of you reaching the end of your vacation and unwilling to leave behind this uniquely Okanagan lifestyle, the Sandhill Wine Club can help you host your own happy hour at home. Members receive (in addition to early access to new releases and in-store discounts) two bottles of wine every month and free shipping, for only $56/month. Not everyone is lucky enough to call Kelowna home, but thankfully, it’s always possible to take a bit of Kelowna home with you.