If you’ve been here for a while, then you know I love wine. And if you’re reading this now then you probably do too! In this post, we continue to explore the Okanagan, aka Napa North, and its amazing BC wine. So far, we have explored a few Oliver wineries as well as a few wineries in Kelowna and Lake Country.
Today we are going to check out four more wineries in Kelowna that you should visit. You may not have heard of some of these before as they are more off the grid than some of the more popular ones, but I can assure you that they are worth the trip.
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What are the best wineries to visit in Kelowna?
This is an impossible question to answer. There are so many and they are all great for their own reasons. The wineries you choose to visit will likely be determined by where you are staying and which wineries are located in close proximity. The last time I enjoyed touring wineries in Kelowna was during a bachelorette party.
As a large group of 20 women, we hired a private tour bus to take us to the wineries in Kelowna. This did limit the number of wineries that were able to accommodate us; however, the ones we did visit all did an amazing job and I would recommend each one. They are all mentioned in this article, aside from Indigenous which I already covered in my Napa North post.
How many wineries are there in Kelowna?
There are currently over 40 wineries located in Kelowna. There are 284 licensed grape wine wineries in British Columbia. The Okanagan Valley is BC’s premier grape-growing region, accounting for over 80% of BC’s wine production.
Four awesome wineries in Kelowna to visit
In a previous post, I mentioned Mission Hill and Indigenous Wines, both of which I would highly recommend as well. Mission Hill may be the most scenic winery in all of Kelowna. If you haven’t been there, I would definitely add it to your list. You can read about them here. Add those two to the list and your Kelowna wineries tour could include six wineries.
Off the Grid Organic Winery
Located in West Kelowna, Off the Grid Organic Winery makes small-batch, premium organic wines. They are a permaculture winery, which means they aim to be self-sufficient and sustainable. As you can see in the image above, solar panels power their tasting room.
They have a small tasting area inside and a larger one outside. As we were a big group, our tasting took place in their lovely outdoor space. The area is beautiful and has sweeping views of the lake below. Currently, they offer three different collections of wine: relaxed, select and collector.
Their regular tasting fee is $7 for 4 wines. You can opt for a seated premium wine tasting of 5 wines for $25. They do not waive tasting fees with purchase. A practice that I find is becoming more and more common in this region.
Not just a winery, Off the Grid also has a farm. Guests are welcome to take a self-guided tour of the farm and grounds. While exploring, we learned that their goats are named after the characters in the TV sitcom Friends. Pictured above is Rachel.
Yoga is offered every Sunday in their spacious yard. You could easily spend an afternoon at Off the Grid winery if you did yoga, followed by a wine tasting, and then a tour of their farm.
Kalala Organic Estate Winery
Kalala Organic Estate Winery is another organic winery that is located in West Kelowna. The owner Karnail Sidhu moved to Canada in 1993 to pursue a better life for his family. It certainly seems as though they’ve found it in The Okanagan Valley.
They produce award-winning BC VQA wines. Their whites are light-to-crisp, while their reds are bold and full-bodied. Kalala also boasts one of the largest portfolios of organic Icewines in all of British Columbia.
Kalala’a recent awards include the following: Gold at the 2014 Chardonnay Du Monde competition in France for their 2012 Chardonnay Icewine and a Double Gold at the All Canadian Wine Championship for their 2009 Dostana Merlot.
Our tasting experience included five different wines. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed their whites and purchased two bottles. They really are light and crisp. I found them extremely refreshing and can’t wait to pop one open on a hot summer day on my patio. It is rare that I find a white wine I like so when I do, I buy it. Or in this case, I buy them all, lol!
Walk-ins are accepted for tastings, but they do recommend making a reservation in advance.
Frind Estate Beach Winery
Frind is the first beachfront winery in North America and its location and views are stunning! You can walk right out onto the beach after your tasting. Their location alone is reason enough to visit. I love their outdoor patio and would definitely return for another tasting followed by lunch outside.
Frind is also one of the most technically-advanced wineries in the world. With a respect for nature, they have implemented holistic practises as well as permaculture features. Sustainability is of the utmost importance to them.
The tasting room is very spacious inside, they can accommodate a lot of visitors. With everything from dessert vines to an Orange Viognier, they have a wide range of wines. You are sure to find something you like. I fell in love with their Big Red and can’t wait to BBQ a juicy steak to enjoy with it.
Tastings cost $10 to sample 5 wines and they do waive the fee with a purchase.
Volcanic Hills Estate Winery
The final stop on our tour of wineries in Kelowna was Volcanic Hills. This was my favourite stop of the day for a few reasons. Namely though because I absolutely loved the red wines at this winery. I purchased two of them to enjoy at home. Their big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon will pair well with BBQ’d lamb burgers.
Volcanic Hills is one of a few wineries that offers something special for celebrations. They have a Sabering Bubbles ceremony. They don’t widely advertise this on their website, but we were able to enjoy one with our bride-to-be. Watching someone open a bottle of bubbles with a sword is quite a fun experience.
If you’re wondering about their name, Volcanic Hills comes from Mount Boucherie. Their home block vineyard is located on this 60 million-year-old dormant volcano. It is here that their grapes thrive in the sandy loam, clay and limestone soils that are rich with mineral deposits and volcanic rock.
Volcanic Hills also had the best gift shop anywhere we visited. Our tour guide had to drag us out of there to get us back home. I purchased a few gifts, as well as one for myself. While I don’t particularly like rosé wines, I couldn’t resist this fun sunhat that says ‘Rosé s’il vous plait’ which is French for rosé, please.
Volcanic Hills offers a wide variety of wine tastings and tours, starting at $10 to sample 5 wines. If you’re celebrating an occasion, I highly recommend their Sabering Bubbles Ceremony. It takes place in their picturesque vineyard. Once you’ve safely sabered open your bottle, you can enjoy it while taking in the view.
Are wine tours worth it?
There are several different companies that offer wine tours in The Okanagan. Unless you have a designated driver who is willing to take you around to several wineries, I think joining a tour is the smart choice. I have toured wineries myself when driving and I assure you that I would much rather have a tour operator do the driving.
I love the convenience of having a driver and not worrying about how much I’ve had to drink. As an added bonus, most of the drivers will also take pictures for you and your group so you can just relax and enjoy the day. Our tour guide even collected and organized our wine purchases for us. Talk about convenience!
Another reason that Okanagan wine tours are worth the money is that the price for the tour includes the tasting fees at the wineries. More and more wineries are not waiving tasting fees with purchase so these can add up quickly if you’re visiting several wineries in a day. Joining a tour means you don’t have to worry about these added fees because they are taken care of for you.
I thoroughly enjoyed my day visiting these wineries in Kelowna. As always, I brought home several bottles of wine from these vineyards. I not only love supporting local BC wine, but when I drink it at home I can reminisce about my travels and winery visits.
Since patio season is in full swing, and I have a few new wines to drink, I have been on the lookout for nice plastic wine glasses to use on our rooftop patio. It took some searching, but I finally found them.
These diamond-shaped stemless wine glasses are perfect for our next BBQ party. They are both stylish and patio-approved. As much as I prefer a wine glass with a stem, stemless glasses are better suited for patios where a gust of wind could easily knock over your glass and break it.