Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

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Doug Uno
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Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#1 Post by Doug Uno » July 31st, 2019, 2:45 pm

Thinking of spending a few days in Kelowna. Looking for recommendations of wineries, restaurants, places to stay, and things to do in the area. Thanks in advance.

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Mark Y
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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#2 Post by Mark Y » July 31st, 2019, 2:56 pm

wrote this on another post on a different forum.
more in the thread itself if u want to read: https://www.cellartracker.com/forum/tm.asp?m=466489


Okanagan is a bit like Bordeaux in that there are distinct districts.. so u want ot make sure if you make appointments to schedule districts by day. You don't want a kelowna winery in the morning, and a Oliver winery in the afternoon.. it can be quite the drive.
Unlike BDX it has no idea what grapes grows well there. ;) they literally grow everything - sangio, pinot noir, cab, malbec, riesling, you name it..

How many days do you have? I think 4 day is good to cover the area. Just some suggestions below.. grouped by 'area'..

Kelowna area:
-Mission Hill should be a must visit - it's kinda like Mondavi.. icon of the region.. it's not the best but it's the most famous. Do the reserve tasting and try the Occulus.
-Tantalus (for rieslings)
- Sumac Ridge
- Cedar Creek

Food: Terrace @ Mission Hill

Osoyoos area:
- Burrowing Owl
- La Stella - sister winery to Le Vieux Pin below. Stella is Bdx/italian varietals

Food: Sonora Room @ Burrowing Owl

3rd Day:
- Black Hills
- Blue Mountain (pinots)
- Liquidity Winery (also a great little restaurant here)
- Le Vieux Pin - Sister winery to La Stella above. LVP is more rhone varietal

Food: The restaurant at Liquidity, Miradoro @ Tin Horn

Fourth day: forget the name of the area
- Laughing Stock (try the Portfolio)
- Foxtrot (pinots)
- Polar Grove (also has a nice spot for lunch)

Food: Vanilla Pod @ Poplar Grove
Y.e.

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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#3 Post by Ron Slye » July 31st, 2019, 3:25 pm

My recommendations from a recent trip are at the CT link Mark provided above.

I did not do an extensive trip as I was with my Dad who was willing to go to wineries but not as into that as I am. I will say that I have been blown away by the Tantalus Old Vine Riesling. If you like rieslings, then I highly recommend it. Le Vieux Pin was also excellent. If you want to try chardonnays that are striving for world class status, then try Checkmate (you have to make reservation, but I did that online the same day). Dad was a bit tired by this point so we rushed it and I can't say I can give an accurate review of their wines. it is an expensive tasting fee, but you get to try a lot of their wines. The one meal I remember liking was the restaurant at Mission Hill. Mission Hill is a bit touristy, but they make some really good wines and it is a beautiful setting.

Let us know what you try! My big takeaway is that there are some great values there -- but I think there is also a lot of ok, but not great wine as well -- so you have to sift through to find the gems. But they are there, and quite affordable.

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GregT
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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#4 Post by GregT » July 31st, 2019, 3:59 pm

Well, well, well. No idea why but I just posted something about it today. We were there about three weeks ago. If you're interested:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=162530&p=2781456#p2781456

Note that it's a long valley so we didn't go to most of the wineries, staying only in the southern part. There are a few worth visiting up north, which ironically is why I made the trip in the first place, but I can't tell you anything about them since I didn't visit.

As noted above, many of the wineries aren't really all that great. I don't want to slam them on this board though, so I pretty much left off any negative commentary.
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[i]"the incorrect overuse of apostrophes is staggering these days. I wonder if half the adults these days have any idea what they are for." Chris Seiber, 5/14/19[/i]

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D@vid Bu3ker
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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#5 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » July 31st, 2019, 4:54 pm

Headed there in September. Visit already arranged at Quail’s Gate, and planning on Tantalus. The rest is TBD.
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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#6 Post by Brandon J. » July 31st, 2019, 6:39 pm

Doug,

What are you looking for? The wife and I spent a week there and tasting about 40 different wineries. There is a LOT of "big", high alcohol, extracted wines up there and a lot of resort-like wineries. If that's your cup of tea, you'll be all set!

I would strongly suggest NOT staying in Kelowna as it's not very centrally located and the town is not exciting at all. We stayed in a lovely little town south of there called Peachland. We thoroughly enjoyed the town.

Depending on how you travel and where you're from, you might really struggle for food. There isn't good food up there IMO. It's almost all exclusively very traditionally plated entree dishes. You'll have your salmon dish, pork dish, pasta dish and steak dish at each place.

HANDS DOWN the best food we ate was at Front Street Brasserie in Penticton. We of course found this gem on the second to last night and were frustrated because we would have eaten here 4 times had we known how good it was.
John sen

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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#7 Post by David Cooper » July 31st, 2019, 9:20 pm

The best place to stay by far is the West Wing in the Lakeside Resort in Penticton. It is the middle of the valley and there are decent restaurants nearby. Also the best farm market in BC is right across the street every Saturday. The rooms are new, modern and luxurious.

Best wineries for me are Le Vieux Pin, La Stella, Nichol, Poplar Grove, and Tantalus. The length of the valley is only an hour and a half drive so it isn't that spread out. There are great drives everywhere if that is your thing.

The worst part of the valley is Kelowna. Stay South of hwy 97.
Last edited by David Cooper on August 1st, 2019, 9:17 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#8 Post by Doug Uno » July 31st, 2019, 11:30 pm

Thank you everyone for your insights and recommendations. Keep them coming!

Brandon, besides wineries, we would like to kayak, bicycle, go to interesting places, museums, and historical sites. As always, we’re looking for good restaurants. They don’t necessarily have to be high end.🙂 Where did you stay in Peachland?

Also if I purchase wine, what is the tariff crossing the border?
Last edited by Doug Uno on August 1st, 2019, 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#9 Post by Ron Slye » August 1st, 2019, 8:03 am

Two quick observations. Depending on how you define the valley I think it might take longer than 90 minutes to drive it. The main north south road is usually pretty crowded during the day as it is one of the main commercial strips in each town you go through. So I would plan visits so as not to be driving success long distances on the road. Agree that Kelowna seems to be one of the less charming towns.

We brought 13 bottles over the border and did not have to pay anything. My limited experience is if you are honest and friendly you can get by with not paying. But of course it depends on the personality of the person at the border.

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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#10 Post by David Cooper » August 1st, 2019, 9:16 am

This area is best when the kids go back to school. It is very busy in June, July and August. The best time is after labour day until our Thanksgiving.

Miradoro, the Kitchen at da Silva, Vanilla Pod and Bad Tatoo Brewing are my favorite places to eat.

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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#11 Post by jchayka » August 1st, 2019, 9:29 am

Doug,

As a local living in Kelowna, I believe the best wines (apart from Tantalus) are in the Naramata and Oliver/Osooyoos area. The other area which is in my opinion putting out decent wines is the area around Karameos. A valley over from the Okanagan valley but within an hour drive of Penticton.

I think as far as food goes, there are better options in the valley than the wineries themselves. Although some are quite good.

John

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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#12 Post by Mark Y » August 1st, 2019, 9:58 am

Ron Slye wrote:
August 1st, 2019, 8:03 am
Two quick observations. Depending on how you define the valley I think it might take longer than 90 minutes to drive it. The main north south road is usually pretty crowded during the day as it is one of the main commercial strips in each town you go through. So I would plan visits so as not to be driving success long distances on the road. Agree that Kelowna seems to be one of the less charming towns.

We brought 13 bottles over the border and did not have to pay anything. My limited experience is if you are honest and friendly you can get by with not paying. But of course it depends on the personality of the person at the border.
The duty is something like under 50 cents per bottle.. so unless you brought over palettes worth of wine, it's not worth their time to stop you..
I think for 2 cases (24 bottles) duty is like $5 or something :D
Y.e.

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GregT
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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#13 Post by GregT » August 1st, 2019, 10:20 am

so unless you brought over palettes worth of wine
Would you be painting with them?

The duty is not on wine. The duty is on alcohol. You can bring back a liter of alcohol. The wine will be 13.5% in bottles that are .75 liters each. So you can do the math. The state may have its own rules. And I've returned to the US with cases of wine and had no problems and paid no duties.
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[i]"the incorrect overuse of apostrophes is staggering these days. I wonder if half the adults these days have any idea what they are for." Chris Seiber, 5/14/19[/i]

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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#14 Post by Siun o'Connell » August 1st, 2019, 10:30 am

I've considered going just to taste at Tantalus and bring a bunch home since I no longer travel to BC frequently for business and so get to carry back a supply every few months.

Jealous of you all!

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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#15 Post by Mike Grammer » August 1st, 2019, 11:09 am

Greg hit many of my faves in his thread. This is a bit older, from 2016, but hopefully additional help

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=128520

Bliss bakery in Peachland, just south of Kelowna, is an absolute *must* stop. I still drool when I think of it. I haven't eaten at Miradoro but have heard only good things. My best friend and I ended up at Theo's in Penticton for Greek--it was very, very good and the service was excellent.

Also, listen to John C. He knows whereof he speaks!
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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#16 Post by Ron Slye » August 1st, 2019, 3:36 pm

I posted this on the other thread, but realize it makes more sense here:

Checkmate, by the way, is owned by the same owner of Mission Hill. They have a third winery which is very hard to get into (according to one of the servers at Checkmate who told me about it). I can't remember the name. I will try to dig it up unless someone here chimes in with it.

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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#17 Post by Ron Slye » August 1st, 2019, 4:19 pm

The other winery is Martin's Lane. According to one of the pourers at Checkmate it is hard to get into -- though she thought if we contacted them we might be able to get in. We did not try. She spoke quite highly of the wines.

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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#18 Post by Brandon J. » August 1st, 2019, 5:25 pm

Doug Uno wrote:
July 31st, 2019, 11:30 pm
Thank you everyone for your insights and recommendations. Keep them coming!

Brandon, besides wineries, we would like to kayak, bicycle, go to interesting places, museums, and historical sites. As always, we’re looking for good restaurants. They don’t necessarily have to be high end.🙂 Where did you stay in Peachland?

Also if I purchase wine, what is the tariff crossing the border?
Hey Doug,

We stayed at a lovely AirBnb and were thrilled. As others have stated, I would NOT stay in Kelowna :) Penticton, Peachland etc are nice smaller towns where you can AirBnb and walk to places.

We launched Paddleboards, and kayaks right from Peachland. Our airbnb had all the gear too, it was perfect.

I swore I did a write-up on my trip but I can't find it unfortunately.

What type of wine do you like?? Here's part of my list:

The Hatch
TH Wines
Haywire (Located at Crushpad Winery)
Lock and Worth
Blue Mountain Vineyard/Cellars
Painted Rock
Blasted Church
Little Farm Winery
Church and State (5 minutes to Bartier Bros.)
Bartier Brothers
Nk'Mip
Le Vieux Pin
John sen

Doug Uno
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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#19 Post by Doug Uno » August 1st, 2019, 6:12 pm

Brandon,

Thanks for all your insights. My wife and I are looking forward to our trip!

I drink mostly red wines: cab, Syrah, BXD blends, & Rhône blends.

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Re: Okanagan Valley, BC Recommendations?

#20 Post by GregT » August 1st, 2019, 6:21 pm

The Bear, The Fish, The Root & The Berry is the restaurant run by the Nk'Mip at Spirit Ridge. It's worth a visit. I had the rabbit pasta with the chestnut noodles.
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[i]"the incorrect overuse of apostrophes is staggering these days. I wonder if half the adults these days have any idea what they are for." Chris Seiber, 5/14/19[/i]

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