In the Okanagan, we’re lucky enough to live close to over 180 wineries and more than 84% of the province’s vineyard acreage. While it’s a relatively young wine region, it has quickly established itself as a space for innovation, creation, and creativity.
The unique geological and climatic properties have attracted wine growers with distinctive visions. Four distinct sub-regions within the Valley open plenty of opportunities for experimentation and play. It’s a truly special place for connoisseurs of wine and casual wine drinkers alike.
This blog post will provide an overview of some of our fantastic region’s most prolific and creative wineries. Check them out (if you haven’t already) to find out exactly where our growing reputation for excellence stems from:
Wineries in the South Okanagan
Painted Rock Estate
Painted Rock Estate is a nationally and internationally acclaimed winery, having been named the Intervin International Winery of the Year for 2018/2019. The single-estate vineyard produces outstanding reds and a limited range of Chardonnay and Rosé. It harnesses the geographic potential of its west sloping bench and the surrounding amphitheatre of rock to cultivate berries with minimal environmental disturbance.
Intentional farming practices, coupled with the unique site influences and the layers of glacial silt, clay, sand and volcanic ash deposits, all combine to create the vineyard’s distinctive harvest. From the vines, the undamaged clusters are hand sorted and destemmed before being processed on-site using techniques that allow maximum expression.
Okanagan Crush Pad
Summerland’s Okanagan Crush Pad Winery is home to Free Form, Haywire, and Narrative wines. The winemakers have thrown everything conventional about winemaking out the window to pay homage to the unconventional terroir of the Okanagan.
Drawing inspiration from the beautiful nature surrounding the vineyard and the Okanagan more broadly, these wines are terroir-driven and made using organic grapes and native yeast fermentation using state-of-the-art custom crush facilities. Each of the wines tells a story about the unique characteristics of the land.
Divine reds, whites, rosés, and sparkling wines are made using both traditional and unconventional methods. The vineyard is guided by nature – allowing it, not human intervention, to shape the wines.
Poplar Grove is a dynamic 120–acre vineyard located in Penticton. It sits across several of the Okanagan’s sub-regions; an advantage recognized by the winemakers who have committed to crafting elegant wines in tandem with sustainable farming practices. Their mantra: beauty is created by laughing with nature instead of fighting against it.
Known for its benchmark Pinot Gris and Cabernet Franc, Poplar Grove also offers an outstanding flagship blend of red Bordeaux varieties. The Legacy, first produced in 2003, has earned a reputation for being good at any age. More recently, the winery has expanded into different climatic regions, sparking a move towards location-specific wines and exceptional blends.
Burrowing Owl Estate
The Burrowing Owl Estate Winery is located at one of the most highly rated grape-growing locations in Canada. The truly unique ecosystem in which the grapes are grown can be smelled and tasted in all wines produced by the estate.
The winery has established itself as a leader within BC in terms of its premium wines and its commitment to environmentally responsible practices. Alternative pest control systems are standard, while the vineyard practices ensure the terrain and wildlife can continue to thrive. These practices positively impact the wines produced, with energy-saving technologies (like the gravity flow system) promoting gentler handling of the juices and, ultimately, better preservation of the delicate flavours.
Visiting Mission Hill is an experience of itself, the cracking range of wines crafted by the winery really is just the cherry on top. The premises and facilities atop the hill are stunning. The grandiose feel of the imposing bell tower, coupled with the Terrace restaurant, is tempered by the spectacular beauty of the elevated views over Lake Okanagan. From hilltop to lakeshore, the winery is designed to bridge the gap between the European and North American wine scenes.
In addition to the impressive selection of terroir-driven wines, the winery boasts an art collection with works by internationally acclaimed artists and an on-site amphitheatre, where concerts and events are hosted during the long summer days.
It’s little wonder the winery is ranked amongst the top 50 in the world.
Quails’ Gate is an outstanding family-run winery. Three generations of the Stewart family are involved in the vineyard operations – and they’re proud of the fact that they’ve been shaping the Okanagan’s wine industry for more than six decades.
The winery pushes the limits of what’s possible – a trait which is showcased in their Exclusive Collection. Their vineyard is home to one of the northernmost growing sites for Syrah within British Columbia, for instance. The award-winning Boswell Syrah, grown at the base of their estate vineyard in West Kelowna, is only available for purchase at the Estate. Meanwhile, their single-vineyard Orchard Block Gewürztraminer is made in the traditional Alsace style. Processing in this manner results in an aromatic, full-bodied wine and was chosen as a tip of the hat to the block’s previous life as a peach and cherry orchard.
Famous for its spectacular pyramid cellar, Summerhill Estate will encourage you to take a break from technology in favour of a more organic experience. The founder has a unique relationship with sacred geometry and requires the elements of alignment and precision encapsulated by the Pyramid be echoed throughout the entire winemaking process.
Beyond the pyramid, the stunning Summerhill property offers sweeping views of vineyard and onto Okanagan Lake. Demeter Biodynamic Certification was achieved at this site in 2012, while the winery has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to organic principles across all vineyards. Celebrating flaws or differences in the harvest is all part of the process at Summerhill.
Views overlooking the Summerhill Vineyard
If this doesn’t entice you to purchase your next home (or vacation home) in the Okanagan we don’t know what will. We are excited to tour you throughout the Okanagan to share our beautiful cities and find your next home.
Contact us to set up a showing of any of our listings. We are looking forward to meeting you!