[trip style = food & wine + weekend getaway]
Editor's Note: For more Okanagan wine country inspiration—or should I say inSIPration?—check out the Expedia Viewfinder Travel Blog for my article, A stylish guide to western Canada wine country.
Reader advisory: The winery photos below contain graphic images of yours truly frolicking through vineyards and modern tasting rooms that may cause you to book a last-minute getaway to British Columbia's premier wine region.
Home to over 100 wineries, BC's Okanagan Valley is a popular destination for western Canadians. Similar to Swiss wine, BC wine is still a relatively well-kept secret by a province that drinks nearly everything it produces. Why? You could blame our old-fashioned liquor laws, but I'd like to think that we drink it all because it's just that good.
Recently, the region has attracted more international attention from wine lovers and investors who heard it through the gravevine. Painted Rock's Red Icon blend sells for $55 at the winery, but in Shanghai goes for up to $500 in wine shops and $950 in restaurants. On a recent visit, I may have considered buying a few bottles, booking a trip to China and selling them to pay for my travels to the world's leading market for red wine.
The business of wine aside, BC's Okanagan is worth the trip to sip your way from Oliver to Lake Country on Pinot Gris, Merlot, Chardonnay, Cab Sauv, or one of the other 80+ grape varietals produced in the region. Because many wineries close up for the winter, early fall is a great time to visit. Not only will you sample some delicious wine without the crowds, you'll be right in the action during harvest season.
Trip Styler Tip: Wine tasting is haaaaard work, so don't forget to eat! Stop by Therapy Vineyards for a bite of wood-fired pizza from Howard at Lil's Kitchen, visit Poplar Grove's popular Vanilla Pod Restaurant, or grab some gorgeous cheese at Lock & Worth and hang out on a picnic bench overlooking Okanagan Lake.
A few of my favorite wineries and wine picks...