naramata bench

BC Wine Country Weekend

[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...

Lock & Worth Winery , Naramata Bench  Wine pick: Merlot  This young, no-fuss winery is also home to Poplar Grove cheese, so your wine tasting comes paired with food. And really, what's better than wine & cheese? {Hint: Nothing}

Lock & Worth Winery, Naramata Bench
Wine pick: Merlot
This young, no-fuss winery is also home to Poplar Grove cheese, so your wine tasting comes paired with food. And really, what's better than wine & cheese? {Hint: Nothing}

Painted Rock Estate Winery , Penticton  Wine pick: Syrah  This stunning, modern tasting room provides a beautiful setting for beautiful wine. Trust me — you'll want to spend an afternoon on the patio with a bottle of wine making all your friends jealous via Instagram.

Painted Rock Estate Winery, Penticton
Wine pick: Syrah
This stunning, modern tasting room provides a beautiful setting for beautiful wine. Trust meyou'll want to spend an afternoon on the patio with a bottle of wine making all your friends jealous via Instagram.

Poplar Grove Winery , Naramata Bench  Wine pick: Viognier  More than just a gorgeous wine label and tasting room, this winery is home to a lovely restaurant and excellent wines, including my picks, Viognier and Merlot.

Poplar Grove Winery, Naramata Bench
Wine pick: Viognier
More than just a gorgeous wine label and tasting room, this winery is home to a lovely restaurant and excellent wines, including my picks, Viognier and Merlot.

50th Parallel Estate Winery , Lake Country  Wine pick: Chardonnay  This is also a relatively new winery with an impressive industrial tasting room-meets-production-facility tucked away in Lake Country. Don't leave without a bottle of Chardonnay, Riesling and Rosé!

50th Parallel Estate Winery, Lake Country
Wine pick: Chardonnay
This is also a relatively new winery with an impressive industrial tasting room-meets-production-facility tucked away in Lake Country. Don't leave without a bottle of Chardonnay, Riesling and Rosé!

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

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[images by @heatherlovesit & wineries mentioned, top image by trudelphoto.com]

OK Wine Tasting

wine tasting in the naramata bench

[trip style = wine tasting]

This past weekend, en route to Kelowna, my husband I got to do something we've wanted to do for a long time: taste wine in the Okanagan---the OK for short. Wine touring in Canada's second largest wine producing region wasn't just ok, it was fantastic, relaxing and picturesque. 

After downloading 3 BC-related wine tasting apps, we hit the road at 8.15am with Tim Horton's coffee and carbs in-hand, and my sister's mix-CD blaring in the background. Five hours later we were lunching al fresco before sipping the region's best varietals.

We didn't have much time, so we selected 4 wineries in the Naramata Bench: Hillside Estate (where we lunched at their bistro and sipped in their tasting room),  Therapy (my fave winery), Laughing Stock or LFNG (good wines, cool vibe) and Mission Hill (check out the Reserve Concert Series). All the wines we tasted were great, which made me wonder if my palate was failing me, yet when visiting one of the region's bigger wineries at the end of the weekend, none of the wines appealed to me. Problem solved. The Naramata wineries were that good.

hillside estate winery

Pictures {Hillside Estate Winery}

hillside estate's eating area

{Area just beside Hillside's outdoor bistro}

guesthouse at therapy vinyards

{Guesthouse entrance at Therapy Vineyards}

therapy vinyards

{Inside the tasting room at Therapy}

Mission Hill

{Mission Hill's outdoor dining terrace}

mission hill reserve tasting room

{The reserve tasting salon at Mission Hill}

Trip Styler Tip: skip the vast and busy tasting bars and opt for a vertical of the reserve wines in the salon

mission hill grounds

{Stunning grounds at Mission Hill}

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