Discover the Okanagan

Breathtaking views, delicious food and delectable wines. The Okanagan is the top wine destination in the world, according to Huffington Post and I had to go find out how true it is. Day one incorporated incredible views, delicious food and possibly too much wine in Naramata Bench, so the following day, we (Ryan and I) decided to visit another area of the Okanagan valley.

Day 2—Summerland

It was a cool overcast day, which was a welcome sight after the heat wave in the Yukon. We decided to explore Summerland wineries and started our morning off at the 8th Generation Winery. If you’ve ever driven this way, the building is rather eye-catching and I’m always intrigued to explore family wineries. The outside gardens and inside tasting rooms were exquisitely thought out with their vintage and modern designs. The wines were also a light and refreshing morning starter.

Our next step, we drove up into the hills of Summerland and stopped at Thornhaven Winery. The views were incredible. It was hard to imagine that anything could beat the Naramata Bench views, but the European-style chateaus overlooking the vineyards with the rolling hills and Okanagan Lake were definitely my favourite. Thornhaven was nicely situated and the staff were great to chat with while tasting the wine. We were able to try it with some local salsa and crackers. They offered that we could buy a bottle and sit on their beautiful deck, but it was still morning, so we bought a bottle to add to the box instead.

We then went to a rather intriguing-sounding winery called Dirty Laundry Vineyard. We arrived and there was an electronic purchase ticket for wine-tasting. Immediately we thought, “Wow, is this like the wineries of Disneyland?” However, we were pleasantly surprised. It had a very Gertie’s and Dawson City feel to the decor. There were naughty slogans plastered everywhere, with many many risque outfits available for purchase. Our server was pretty great. Each bottle design and bottle came with a very naughty story based on local legends. The scandalous stories and storytelling, paired with tasty wine and great bottle design made it a really fun tasting. We actually signed up for their wine club, it was that good.

By the time we tasted wine, bought wine and signed up for future wine, it was lunch time. Dirty Laundry has a great deck overlooking the vineyards, with vines creating a canopy to protect from the Okanagan sun. It was packed with people and the pizzas looked good. In addition to wines they also carry local craft brews, so we had a flight of beer for lunch with wood-fired pizza. It was utterly delicious and a great way to spend a lunch break.

Then it was time to move on. We went down to pick up some fresh fruit from a local stand. My goal was to have a picture of me eating a peach in Peachland. So we bought a peach in Summerland and, en route to the photo opportunity, stopped at Back Door Winery. Another risque winery with scandalous clothes and naughty stories behind their bottles, it was another fun winery to visit. Their cherry wine was delicious and a rather unique flavour, so we purchased a bottle. 

We continued out of Summerland to go visit the more famous and popular winery, Sumac Ridge. The vineyard was certainly in a prime location. I took copious amounts of photos of the view and vineyards. We went inside and it was very modern and commercial, though the wine-tasting rather lacked much flavour or personality. 

We entered Peachland after a stop at the sign to eat my Summerland peach. It was possibly the worst peach I’ve ever had. It certainly wasn’t peach season, but the raspberries were delightful. Maybe the peach should have been bought in Peachland. Somehow, drinking wine takes a lot of time out of the day and it was dinner time again. I felt like seafood and missed platters of the seafood that you can get back home in Australia. I wondered if Kelowna would have such a thing. 

Presto! We ended up at the West Coast Grill & Oyster Bar in Downtown Kelowna. We ordered the full seafood platter, which included crab legs, oysters and numerous delicious crustaceans. It arrived with my wine and it was so delicious. I warned my Aussie waitress that I would require copious amounts of napkins while I consumed and my boyfriend noted the rather mesmerising way food gets all over my face.

It was the perfect meal to end the day. I thought I may need new pants as my belly had certainly expanded on this trip.

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