Wine Touring In The South Okanagan, Day 1 Kelowna To Penticton

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My love affair with BC wines started many years ago, but my love affair with the actual wineries and people behind the wines started when I came to the Okanagan for the Spring Wine Festival. Almost three years to the day I am back for the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival, and I couldn’t be happier. It is going to be an intense three days. We are starting in Kelowna and working our way South to Osoyoos visiting over twelve wineries along the way. We will be wine touring South Okanagan like no one’s business and best of all we have a guide and a designated driver. Let the wine adventures begin.

A glass of Evolve Cellars Pinot Gris to go with the view of Okanagan Lake

There are dozens of events happening over the course of the Spring Wine Festival, in fact, the guidebook is 48 pages long. Filled with everything you need to know. What I am about to share with you is a curated list of wineries and meals put together by the festival team to showcase the diversity and depth of experiences offered in the area. This is  a small fraction of what you can do when you visit the Okanagan, shall we begin?

Flying into Kelowna our wine tour begins in at Sandhill Wines. Technically Kelowna is in the Central Okanagan, not the South, but it is a great place to start your wine tour especially if you visit Sandhill Wines.

A beautiful urban winery located in the heart of Kelowna at 1125 Richter Street, Sandhill Wines tasting room is a gem. A big beautiful building perfect for special events of all kinds and 3 to 5 pm Happy Hour every day of the week.

Sandhill Winery in Kelowna

Wine tasting bar at Sandhill Winery

Of course, we have come here to taste some of their small lot single vineyard wines. My personal favourite was the Howard Soon label 2014 Chardonnay and the 2013 Red. Named after the winemaker these wines represent some the best of what Sandhill Wines stands for. A perfect treat to put in your cellar for a special occasion.

Wine tasting at Sandhill Winery

Tasting the Howard Soon 2014 Chardonnay at Sandhill Winery

Sandhill 2014 Sauvignon Blanc vintage

Our next stop is at a winery that isn’t even open to the public yet, Indigenous World Winery. The first winery to be 100% owned by First Nations people it is going to be a stunner when the doors open.

Indigenous World Winery

Indigenous Wrold Winery in Westbank Kelowna

Located at 2218 Horizon Drive on Kelowna’s Westbank, it will be the first winery of many you should visit along the Westside Wine Trail. These include Mission Hill, Quails Gate, and Mount Boucherie just to name a few.

The tasting room hasn’t been finished yet, it’s a bit of a construction zone, but that doesn’t stop us from tasting some of the wines their winemaker Jason Parkes, has been working so diligently on. My personal favourite is the Simo 2012 Small Lot Red Blend at $34.69 a bottle. A close second was the Hee-Hee-Tel-Kin 2013 Red Blend at $18.17. There is something here for every taste and budget.

Wine tasting at Indigenous World Winery

Projections are they will be open to the public by the May long weekend. Stay tuned for this one, gorgeous views to boot!

It is time to say goodbye to Kelowna and head South to Summerland. We are off to visit Evolve Cellars. I have been here before, so I am excited to go back for lunch, enjoy their wines and take in one of the best views any winery has to offer.

A glass of Evolve Cellars Pinot Gris to go with the view of Okanagan Lake

Lunch is served paired with wines from Evolve Cellars. The stand out for me is the Pinot Blanc, which just so happened to win BC Best of Varietal at the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival awards. It paired perfectly with Seared Scallops prepared by Evolve’s chef.

Seared Scallops paired with Evolve Cellars Pinot Gris

Everything made at Evolve Cellars is delicious. From Pinot Gris, Rose and the Cabernet Merlot. Best of all the wines are all listed between $14.99 and $22.99. Although rumour has it, you can get some on special pricing if you shop online now.

Wine tasting at Evolve Cellars

The next stop is another winery I’ve written about, Okanagan Crush Pad. Home to Haywire Wines and Narrative Wines. Located at 16576 Fosbery Road in Summerland it is part of the Bottleneck Drive Wine Trail.

Wine tasting of Narrative & Haywire Wines at Okanagan Crush Pad

No matter how many times I visit Okanagan Crush Pad, there is always something new to see. On this visit, it is the addition of a new tasting room and kitchen above the tank room. Amazing views into the heart of the winery, A great place to sip and enjoy some wine.

View of the wine tasting bar at Okanagan Crush Pad

View into the winery at Okanagan Crush Pad

They also have added spirits to their list of available products. Ask for a sample of the Narrative Spirit Of The Vineyard and Narrative Gin 12 Botanicals. Both are distilled from wine made at Okanagan Crush Pad. A treat for Celiacs that can’t have grain-based spirits.

Julian Scholfield pours some wine for my fellow tasters

After checking into our hotel in Summerland for a quick change, it is off to dinner at Bad Tattoo Brewing. I checked them out after they first opened just eight months ago and they have only gotten busier.

Bad Tattoo Brewing tasting flight in Penticton

You may come for the beer at Bad Tatto Brewing, but you will stay for the Pizzas, trust me. All made to order in front of you eyes and cooked in the Pizza Oven behind the bar. You may have to wait 45 minutes on busy nights, but it is worth it.

Bad Tattoo Brewing pizzas FTW

For a special treat check out their special barrel aged beers. I sampled the Dia de Los Muertos straight from the Jack Daniels Barrel seven months ago, today it is in the bottle and tasting fantastic!

Tastting a special brew of Dia de Los Muertos


I think it is time to pour myself into bed. Day 1 of my wine touring South Okanagan was fantastic, but I know there are two more days ahead of me. I think I’ll get some sleep now.

Happy wine tasters at Row 38

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Disclosure: General

This trip was hosted by the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival Society. I was not compensated on this trip and my views/opinions are 100% my own.


About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

2 Comments

  1. Leeann Froese on

    Love it!!!! Good tip on wait times at Bad Tattoo as I have never had to wait very long, but then again I have only been in for lunch.

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