While wine touring is a recognized summer pastime in the South Okanagan, Penticton is a perfect year-round destination for wine lovers.
Many wineries in the area stay open during late fall and throughout the winter.
Visiting vineyards when a carpet of fresh snow sparkles on the ground is a peaceful experience. Few people are present and a quiet settles in as the vines slumber. If that sounds tempting, here are nine wineries in the Penticton area, including those along the scenic Naramata Bench, to warm your visit during the chillier months.
Three Sisters is known for its friendly service, beautiful art, and breathtaking views. The winery’s tasting bar in Penticton is open in the fall, with limited hours in the winter. This year, Three Sisters has produced two firsts for the winery: a White Zinfandel Bench Rosé and a reduced-alcohol Chardonnay Luminé.
Ruby Blues Winery, a funky small boutique winery in Naramata, is open year-round—but it does offer limited hours at its tasting room when visitors are infrequent. They have a hippy vibe, complete with a throwback VW van outside. Tasting fees are waived with any wine or merchandise purchase.
Red Rooster is perched high in the hills above Okanagan Lake on the Naramata Bench. It’s open year-round to visitors looking to try their award-winning wines while enjoying spectacular views of the lake and rolling hills.
TIME Family of Wines is behind the labels Chronos, the McWatters Collection, and Evolve Cellars. Open year-round, the urban winery, Chronos Tasting Room, and OROLO Restaurant + Cocktail Bar are located in a historic movie theatre in downtown Penticton. All their wines are made using Okanagan grapes.
Township 7 Vineyards is located at the start of the Naramata Bench. They produce premium red, white, and sparkling wines with grapes grown at carefully selected sites. Reservations are strongly recommended and the winery does close for a couple of weeks in January.
Upper Bench is known for its minimalist winemaking techniques. Located on a 9.5-acre estate on the Naramata Bench, the winery is known for big, bold reds and crisp, dry whites. Visit their wine shop off-season. They also produce hand-crafted artisanal cheeses.
Great Food Too!
If you don’t mind travelling a short distance to find more wineries to see in the fall and winter, there are options in both directions on Highway 97.
Dirty Laundry Vineyard in Summerland has a big personality. Its name throws back to the 1800s, referring to a historic area establishment that offered laundry services downstairs, and alcohol (as well as other entertainment) upstairs. The winery has a fun and unique atmosphere, as well as award-winning vintages.
Burrowing Owl is an Earth-friendly winery located in the fragile desert ecosystem in Oliver. Their oath is “to do no harm” and they work with nature in their practices. The balance they’ve achieved shows in the wines they produce. Their wine shop will be open until mid-December.
District Wine Village is perfect for those who want to try several different wines without driving from place to place. Located in Oliver, the wine village brings together 13 wineries, a brewery, an eatery, and a distillery in a single destination. They’re open all winter with an ice rink to enjoy starting Nov. 1.
While all of these wineries will be open to varying degrees year-round, it’s a good idea to call before you visit to ensure you’re not disappointed. It’s also worth booking tastings in the off-season to make sure there’s space. Keep in mind that patios, restaurants, and tasting bars may be closed in the off-season.
Those visiting the South Okanagan in the deep winter may even catch a glimpse of the Icewine harvest, when wineries pick frozen marble-like grapes as temperatures dip to -8 C and below, then crush them right away to extract their sweet juices.
Start your Penticton vacation and wine adventure at the Penticton Visitor Information Centre (888 Westminster Ave. W) to get wine tour maps, dining recommendations, and a selection of Penticton souvenirs. Before you get here, be sure to check out visitpenticton.com to plan your trip.