‘Tis the season for cute dresses, road trips and drinking wine with your besties all day long. Calgary is blessed with countless breweries pumping out delicious after more delicious brews. However, sometimes us girls just want to drink wine and look cute. Take a weekend and drive into our beautiful neighbouring province, British Columbia, and sample one of the things they do best: wine.
Sure, Calgary to the Okanogan is a long drive, no arguments there. However, wouldn’t that drive be just a little bit better if you could stop and sip some world-class wines along the way? Take this virtual tour from Calgary through Sicamous, Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and finally ending in the quiet Naramata.
Just south of Sicamous, you’ll find the quaint Larch Hills establishment. In 1997, Larch Hills Winery was established as British Columbia’s most northern winery – a true cool climate vineyard. With award-winning wines and breathtaking views, let Larch Hills whet your appetite on your wine tasting adventure.
Continue south down the road and you’ll stumble upon Waterside – wine with a story. This land was passed down through various owners, taking care of the land and using it in different ways, until an Alberta couple took over in 2018. From their Sex in a Bottle to their Wild Rosé, Waterside will help step up your wine game this year.
When you reach Vernon, cleanse your palate and stop at this adorable cidery. Pressing apples into delicious ciders, this crew works hard day in and day to produce high-quality sparkling beverages. Sample their creations from 10-5 any day of the week.
Halfway between Vernon and Kelowna, you’re going to hit a multitude of wineries all clumped together. It’s easy to get lost here, because they all produce exquisite wines, but we recommend Gray Monk. You may be getting hungry by now – get ready for European-inspired seasonal farm-to-table creations by Executive Chef Maurice Desharnais.
Engaged or not, you’re going to want to get married here. Found on the west side of Kelowna, Quails’ Gate has been family farmed since 1956. Visited frequently by celebrities, like former Bachelorette Jillian Harris, this winery is a must on your winery adventures. Your Instagram feed will thank you.
The truck, the walls, the bottles – everything at this winery is covered with funky 3D art. Receive a pair of 3D glasses when you arrive and make your way around the room to look at colourful artwork, apparel, decals and wine bottles designed by the winemaker’s son. Don’t be fooled by this unique approach, their wine still has that full-bodied, delicious flavour you’re looking for.
Just outside of Penticton, Poplar Grove is one of the original five wineries on the Naramata Bench. With over 100 acres of vines to farm, this family works day in and day out to keep up with the demand. Sample their wines and sit outside on their grand patio to enjoy the view and try their various spreads.
Head up to Naramata and you’ll find of the most quaint tasting experience. Sit at one of their tables outside and be served by a waiter every ten minutes or so, sipping your wine and detecting notes of this and hints of that. Choose between a fruit flight or a drier flight – you won’t be disappointed with either choice.
Well, YYC, we’ve got quite a road trip planned for you. Who’s leaving tomorrow?!
Kelsey is the Editorial & Events Manager for Date Night. Monday-Friday she works as an independent Marketing & Communications Contractor, providing writing, editing and digital marketing services for small businesses here in YYC. When she’s not busy writing about our city, you can usually find her trying the newest fitness studio, exploring the Rockies or chasing the sun – whether here in AB or halfway across the world.