A rapidly up-and-coming wine producer, the Canadian province of British Columbia boasts some of the North American West Coast’s most unique wineries. With over 170 wineries throughout British Columbia, there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to drop by and taste some of the country’s best vintages.
Around 4.5 hours’ drive from Vancouver, the Thompson Okanagan region is BC’s ‘wine central’, home to some of the province’s most distinctive spots to swirl and sip:
Painted Rock Winery is a winery steeped in family values with firm standing in the Aboriginal and Commonwealth history of British Columbia. Built on the site of what was once the largest apricot orchard in the British Commonwealth and home to 500 year old native pictographs, this sleek, modern winery is famed for its exquisite reds.
The Okanagan Crush Pad is known for its crafting of organic wine in state-of-the-art concrete tanks and its innovative creation of wine-based spirits, introduced in 2014 to showcase the diversity of the Okanagan region. The Crush Pad produces a range of bouquets and is well known for producing the Bub, a traditional sparkling wine, and a line of natural, free form reds and whites and wild-ferment wines. The tasting bar offers visitors an insight into the science and art of winemaking through the merging of traditional techniques and innovative, modern craft.
The Orofino Winery is cited as the country’s first strawbale winery; a 200 year old energy-efficient, eco-friendly design which provides consistent insulation to the barrel-room, protecting its wine from the extremes of the desert heat.
Summerhill Pyramid Winery is a property which oozes with creative innovation. Wines are aged in a geometrically precise pyramid, believed by the proprietors to produce an invisible energy central to the aging process. Located in Kelowna’s semi-desert, Summerhill Pyramid produces organic and bio-dynamically sourced grapes.
Tantalus Vineyards is British Columbia’s first Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) certified winery. Alongside its selection of quality vintages, Tantalus Vineyards produces its own honey and places high value on the biodiversity of the vineyard and wider estate.
Liquidity Winery could be mistaken for a modern art museum, with its installations of rotating artwork, paintings, sculptures and whimsical displays curated by the owner himself.
Covert Farms Family Estate is a first-generation certified-organic vineyard producing both crisp whites and smooth reds grown with minimal intervention. Covert Farms has over 30 acres of grapes organically fertilised by salmon bones from the Okanagan River in addition to 60+ ‘u-pick crops’ visitors can harvest and one- hour estate tours in a vintage 1952 Mercury truck.
Nk’Mip Cellars is North America’s first Aboriginal-owned winery. Sample not only fantastic wines but an Aboriginal-inspired menu at the seasonal Patio restaurant - open May to October. Nk’Mip Cellars produces a premium collection of wines - Qwam Qwmt, which translates to ‘achieving excellence’ in the Okanagan language spoken by the Osoyoos Indian Band. Proceeds from wine tastings go to the Nk’Mip Desert Culture Centre in efforts to preserve the Okanagan language. Guests will notice Aboriginal design throughout the winery, from the Archer statue at the entranceway to the traditional pit house and sweat lodge located on the estate.
Mission Hill Winery’s organic vineyard, owned by the von Mandl family, boasts unique architecture by Tom Kundig which combines the contemporary and the classical. Visitors are welcomed to its grounds through a set of curved arches held together by a single keystone. For the von Mandl family, the keystone represents the coming together of tradition, quality, heritage and innovation. Mission Hill Winery was notably visited by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their Royal tour of the province in 2016.
Indigenous World Winery merges the modern with indigenous history of the Syilx peoples of the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys. Dine at the Red Fox Club, an Aboriginal inspired restaurant using local produce, pairing a fine selection of wines with an Aboriginal-influenced menu including Bison chilli, salmon fritters and an indigenous salad made from locally foraged leaves.
Want to venture further afield? Then head up to Prince George in Northern BC, a short 80-minute flight from Vancouver. Northern Lights Estate Winery opened in 2015 and is famed for being the Province’s most northern winery. Winemakers use locally grown fruits to produce fruit wine which can be savoured with a picturesque view of the Nechako River.
Plan your visit to British Columbia’s wine regions: www.winebc.com
For more information on British Columbia’s Unique Wineries visit: http://blog.hellobc.com
For more information on Destination British Columbia visit: www.hellobc.com