Not to toot our own horn, but we inspired ourselves when we suggested visiting BC’s wine country over the long weekend. Of course, we realized that this is a pretty daunting task for the uninitiated, considering there’s so many of them in the region.
So we thought, heck, why not just write some guides for you? And that’s exactly what we did, starting with the area known as the Naramata Bench. Y’all ready to learn about some wine stuff?
This area overlooking Lake Okanagan is regarded as one of the best places to produce wine in Canada. You’ve got abundant sunshine, optimal summer temperatures, and diverse terrain conditions. The resulting microclimates allow for a wide variety of grapes to be grown successfully.
Ok, now that that is out of the way, let’s get down to drinking.
You’ve got to start somewhere, and this spot is as good as any. One of the first three wineries in the region and the second most northerly one. They were also the first winery in Canada to start producing Syrah, so make sure that you give that one a taste.
Originally purchased as a retirement property, this winery is practically on the lake. Apparently, the grandmother (an architect) had a vision for its future, while the grandfather saw it as a potential ‘white elephant’, that is, an impractical purchase. The resulting area was lovingly referred to as ‘Elephant EYE-land’, and the name stuck.
A family run winery that is literally down the street from Elephant Island. They’re producing a variety of wines, but the standouts are the Syrah and Malbec. Feel like you need a go-to wine for your next steak or pork chop? Deep Roots might have your answer.
Established in 1996, using vines planted in 1985, Lake Breeze remained quite small until being purchased by the MacIntyre family in 2001. We’re really big fans of one of their original varietals, the Pinot Blanc, which is still in production today. Also, this should be your lunch stop, since it’s arguably the prettiest patio in the region.
As you continue south, you’ll come across another absolutely gorgeous winery. Bench 1775 has been winning numerous awards for a wide variety of wines, so maybe a flight is your best bet here as you explore the lineup. You could also do lunch here, it’s a toss-up.
Bet you didn’t think we would throw a curveball like this, did you? Well, don’t be too alarmed. We’re only recommending Poplar Grove because they function as the tasting room for Lock & Worth next door. We have two favourites from these guys- the Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc blend and the Merlot. Trust us- it’s worth locking down.
These guys were named the Best Performing Small Winery of the Year 2017 at the National Wine Awards of Canada (fun fact- Lake Breeze won that in 2016). That’s a mouthful of a sentence, but it’s as good of a mark of distinction as anything else. The focus here is on Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
The final stop on the wine tour, and the most southern winery we’re going to recommend. This family affair only began in 2003, with the winery coming a couple of years after the vineyards. Now, the vineyards stretch over 150 acres throughout the region, and the wine has entered into the upper echelons of Canada. It’s a fun switch up, too- Tempranillo and Chardonnay are their best.
And there you have it! Seven of our favourite wineries in the Naramata Bench. Now that you know where to go, the real challenge is finding someone who doesn’t want to join in on the drinking. We say good luck to that- we’re just going to uber everywhere.