Kelowna is home to a number of top-quality wines that regularly win national and international awards. The biggest obstacle that you may encounter while visiting Kelowna is choosing from over 40 wineries that are located within a 20 minute drive from the city center. Most of the vinyards are grouped into 5 wine trails around the city, and I would highly recommend checking out the map below to help plan your route! While you can’t go wrong touring on your own, there a few stops along each trail that I believe kick it up a notch by pairing quality wines with stunning scenery, unique stories, and tasty food! I’ve also included some tips for tasting (hint: drink water!). Here are the Top 10 Wineries in Kelowna – written by a local!
Quails Gate Winery
Quails Gate is a local favorite, and one of the oldest family owned wineries in Kelowna. After a tasting, you can wander through the vineyard and admire a stunning lake view – you may even catch a proposal! I would also recommend making a reservation at Old Vines Restaurant; the food and scenery are incredible, and they were recently named in the Top 100 Best Outdoor Dining Restaurants.
Suggestions: Chasselas-Pinot Blanc-Pinot Gris 2018, Old Vines Foch 2012
Related Post: The Best Things to do in Kelowna This Summer
The Hatch is a newer winery and a hipster favorite! It’s just down the road from Quails Gate, making it easy to add to your tour! The wines all have unique names and labels, created by Paul Morstad. Make sure to try the orange wine!
Suggestions: Screaming Frenzy 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Crown & Thieves 2014 Broken Barrel Syrah
Frequency Wine & Sound
This little winery infuses their wines with harmonic sound frequencies recorded by artists right in their tasting room! Be sure to ask how they discovered the benefits of using sound waves in wine making – I love the combination of wine and science!
Suggestions: 99 Bands in a Can (yes – this is wine in a can!), Infused Pinot Noir
The Vibrant Vine Winery
The Vibrant Vine Winery just recently finished a groovy renovation, and there is really no other winery like it! Upon arrival to the tasting room, you are given 3D glasses to check out all the psychedelic wine labels and canvasses (the tasting room doubles as an art gallery!). Not only do they have a great story (ask to hear about Whoops!), they also have live music in the summer so bring a picnic!
Suggestions: Whoops 2018, Gamay 2018
Cedar Creek Estate Winery
Cedar Creek has done some major renovations, and has a gorgeous new tasting room and stunning restaurant (just nominated for en Route Canada’s Best New Restaurant 2019!). In the tasting room, you can choose between the estate wines or the platinum wines (slightly more expensive, but worth the splurge).
Suggestions: Riesling 2018, Meritage 2016
Nagging Doubt is a smaller winery, located off the beaten path in Kelowna’s upper mission. Because they are small, their tasting hours are seasonal so make sure you check their website before you go! They are a true artisanal estate winery, where the team makes their wines by hand using a combination of modern and traditional wine making techniques. It’s a lovely counter to the larger wineries nearby, and the wines are top-quality.
Suggestions: Siegerrebe 2018, The Pull 2015
Gray Monk Estate Winery
Gray Monk is home of Pinot Gris – they were the first to plant and produce in the Okanagan. They have European-inspired cool climate wine; Gewürztraminer, Ehrenfelser, and Siegerrege to name a few (reminder: there’s no shame in asking how to pronounce some of these German varietals!).
Suggestions: Pinot Gris 2017, Odyssey Meritage 2016
Take a break from touring to enjoy the stunning lake view from a cozy outdoor patio! Arrowleaf recently released new wine labels, featuring adorable local florals. They have yummy wine, friendly staff, and if you need another reason to stop by…they also have freshly baked cream puffs!
Suggestions: Pinot Gris 2018, Archive Pinot Noir 2016
Blind Tiger Vineyard
Blind Tiger is a unique Certified Organic winery located in Lake Country (ask about the story behind their name!). In the summer the serve delicious authentic wood-fire pizzas and have live music on Sundays (with a cover charge). This is a small family-run winery, so make sure to check tasting room hours before you go!
Suggestions: Giggle Water Sparkling Blush, Speakeasy Red 2014
Sandhill Estate Vineyard
Sandhill is another local favorite, located just off downtown at the base of Knox Mountain. This little industrial section of Kelowna is booming with wineries, breweries, and distilleries! I would highly recommend spending an afternoon hoping from tasting to tasting, food truck to food truck! Sandhill also boasts a great happy hour, with local musicians and glasses of wine on special.
Suggestions: Sandhill Rose 2018 , One 2016
- Tasting room hours vary depending on the season, so be sure and check before you go to avoid disappointment! That being said – while more wineries are open in the summer months, I would highly encourage an off season trip. Not only do you get a break from the crowds, but tasting fees are often waved and you get more time with the tasting room staff to learn about their wine
- Tasting fees usually range from free (yay!) up to $10 – most are waved when you purchase a bottle!
- In BC, you need TWO pieces of ID (one of which needs to be picture ID) to be served alcohol (19+)
- There are many excellent tour guides in Kelowna, ranging from private ($$$) to a hop on/off bus ($). Click HERE to check out some local companies
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a box for your wine – it makes it easier to transport and trust me…it fills up quick!
- Water, water, water – hydrating is important to ward off a hangover
- Think about lunch: Many of the wineries above have fantastic restaurants, so plan ahead and make a reservation. For a budget option, pick up some tasty charcuterie and have a picnic (many wineries have seating for exactly this!)
- There’s no such thing as a stupid question, so don’t be afraid to ask! What’s a brambleberry? What’s the difference in flavor between American and French oak? Don’t worry about impressing anyone, because for the most part the people standing next you have no idea either.
- While Kelowna offers fantastic wineries (see above), if you have time I would HIGHLY recommend visiting the Naramata Bench. This little piece of paradise is located on the other side of Okanagan Lake, past Penticton and about 1.5 hours away from Kelowna. There are over 30 wineries located within walking/biking distance of each other and once you step foot on this lakeside ‘bench’, you would think you have been transported to the Italian countryside!