You simply cannot visit the Okanagan without at least visiting a few wineries & vineyards, you just can’t! Instead of driving around ourselves and going to the same five wineries, we decided to go with a Wine Tour company, and why not go with the original - Okanagan Wine Country Tours! The Okanagan Wine Country Tours were the very first tour company established in the Okanagan Valley and really started the ball rolling in wine tours in the region. Whether it is a half / full day tour with a big group of friends or with an intimate group, they are able to accommodate you.
Because we decided to look for a tour last minute, tours with OK Wine Country Tours have all booked up. Luckily the GM of OK Wine Country Tours, Marsha, was able to accommodate us with a private tour. We were so excited.
Upon meeting Marsha, we instantly knew we were going to have a great day ahead of us! She is very knowledgeable and very kind and friendly. She surprised us with a few of her favourite wineries in the area, starting with Sandhill Wines - located in the heart of Downtown Kelowna. We learned so much from our private tasting at Sandhill. Something I didn’t realize, was the fact that they source grapes from different vineyards, including Sandhill Estate, King Family, Phantom Creek, Osprey Ridge, and Hidden Terrace. We even got to sneak in a taste of the Wayne Gretzky Estates No. 99 The Icon 2015 - YUM.
SECOND STOP - Arrowleaf Cellars - I swear I squealed a little when Marsha told us this was our second stop. Arrowleaf has always been one of my favourites - with its incredible views and delicious wines. Their beautiful winery is family owned and operated in Lake Country, overlooking Okanagan Lake. The cellar officially opened in 2003, and has since expanded and complete with a tasting room, cafe, and picnic area. I, of course, took home a box of their award-winning Bacchus & Pinot Gris.
THIRD STOP (also a lunch stop) - 50th Parallel Estate Winery - This is a winery I haven’t heard too much about, and definitely haven’t been to, but so so happy we came! We started off with a delicious tasting and I learned their 50th Parallel Estate Blanc de Noir 2017 is quite special, as it only produces 1 strand of bubbles in the glass (which is quite different than most bubbles). Jason of 50th Parallel then came over to welcome us to a table for lunch, BUT WAIT! He had a surprise for us (me). I had my first… FIRST EVER sabering experience. Oh my goodness, I was so nervous but so excited at the same time. I’ve always only seen others do it, and secretly hoping I’d be able to one day saber a bottle myself. Of course, as a first timer, I didn’t get it the first go, BUT I did manage to get it done the second time around. This is definitely not an experience I will soon forget. We also had some great recommendations for food as well, and went with what Jason had suggested - Beef Tartare, Truffle Fries, and the highly recommended Mac & Cheese - we made very good choices. Thank you Jason!
LAST STOP - O'Rourke's Peak Cellars - another winery I haven’t heard too much about, but learned a lot (once again) here. We got a full tour of the vineyards, including a walk around their farm. They grow anywhere from snap peas, to tomatoes, to basil. It’s a true farm to table experience at their restaurant. Did you know that the cluster of grapes in my hands (pictured below) is equal to one glass of wine? Neat, eh? We ended our tour with having a glass of wine in the middle of the vineyard - another experience I have never had before.
We ended our day with Marsha generously dropping us off at our next destination. And on top of that, she offered to drop off our boxes of wines we acquired throughout the day in our rooms back at Hotel Eldorado. She went above and beyond what I could’ve ever expected! Thank you Marsha for an incredible day in the vineyards - setting everything up for us so last minute, and taking us on a private tour with you! You have given us a very memorable and unforgettable experience. We hope to see you again very soon!