Heading south from West Kelowna stretches the Central Okanagan. This area consists of a few distinct areas such as Peachland and Summerland, and has some wineries and vineyards that are over 25 years old. The best wines in the area tend to be aromatic wines and sparkling wines, and the views over the lake are spectacular. There are also orchards and some delicious cider companies in the area that are well worth a visit. On a recent trip touring around the area, I was fortunate to visit these fine wineries:
Sage Hills Winery & Vineyards
The arid landscape and crisp, modern tasting room at Sage Hill set the tone for the range of pure varietal, organic wines offered here. They even have a unique ‘orange wine’ available and a surprisingly good Syrah rosé (for someone who typically doesn’t love rosé). The somewhat high $10 dollar tasting fee was well worth it for the quality wines, informative and entertainment tasting and gorgeous tasting room experience. Highly recommended.
Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
Sumac Ridge was B.C.’s first operating estate winery and is another popular stop during a Central Okanagan wine tour. They offer a great selection of VQA wines to taste, but the really unique experience is underneath the winery. The ‘sparkling cave’ is a beautiful room located just below the main tasting room that provides event space and maturation of the Champagne style wine they create there. Every day at 4pm they offer tastings in the cave, and you can learn about ‘riddling’ their naturally carbonated selection of sparkling wines.
Okanagan Crush Pad
The Okanagan Crush Pad is a unique co-operative winery, creating interesting organic wines made in concrete casks, which give a nicely oxidized wine without the character of wood. A different take on the classic varietals but felt a little flat compared to some of the oaked wineries in the area. Their Narrative 12 Botanical Gin on the other hand, is one of the most amazing craft gin’s I’ve tasted. Everything the product offers, down to the modern label and dripped wax glass topper was beautifully crafted to suit the delicious gin. Highly recommended.
Dominion Cider is a Cidery with a few twists to differentiate themselves from the others in the area. They offer five different craft ciders, all worth a try if you like a very dry cider. They have apple, perry (pear), ginger, hopped and rhubarb ciders which all had their own merits and target audience. I quite liked the hopped cider for something a little different for summertime sipping.