Have you ever been to Kelowna? It’s magical! There are endless lakes surrounded by hills and mountains, and there are wineries at every turn! I’ve spent a bit of time there because my family has a chalet in Big White, but as my mother-in-law hadn’t seen it yet, we decided to make Kelowna the first stop on our British Columbia road trip.
Big White is a really fun and family friendly ski resort in the winter with plenty of ski runs for every skill level, skating, tubing, sleigh rides and more, but I wasn’t so sure what kind of activities were available in the summer. Turns out, they created hiking trails up the mountain and open a ski lift in the summer to bring people to the top of the mountain! We decided to check it out, and the view from the top was totally worth it.
The moon was hanging out and peaked out over the crest of the mountain. As Nathan stopped to take this picture, a bunch of people turned around to see what he was looking at, and started snapping pictures as well. Tourist see, tourist do!
After making our way back down to the chalet, we decided to head into Kelowna and explore some wineries! Wine is pretty much my favourite, so I couldn’t wait to take part in a few tastings and a tour. We hadn’t really done any research into which Kelowna wineries to visit, so we trusted road signs and Google Maps to show us the way. We ended up stumbling upon the Lakeshore Wine Route, which includes St. Hubertus Estate Winery, CedarCreek Estate Winery, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, and Tantalus Vineyards. We ended up missing out on Tantalus Vineyards as we ran out of time, but the first three wineries on our tour were beautiful and the wine was delicious!
ST. HUBERTUS ESTATE WINERY
The vineyards of St. Hubertus are some of the oldest in the Okanagan. They planted their grapes in 1928, and produce around 14,000 cases of wine annually! We did a wine tasting and ended up picking up two bottles of wine. The first was the Chasselas, a light-bodied and refreshing white wine with grassy floral notes on the nose and the freshness of lemon zest on the palate. The second was the west coast inspired Pino Blanc, with delicate ripe apple, pear and peach aromas. The white wines definitely won us over!
CEDARCREEK ESTATE WINERY
Photo Credit: CedarCreek Estate Winery, cedarcreek.bc.ca
Twice recognized as Canada’s Winery of the Year, CedarCreek Estate Winery was impressive and stately. The tasting room was full of people! We took this as a good sign and waited patiently to try a handful of their wines. The Pinot Gris was delicious, with an aroma of toasted almond and a flavour of delicate floral fruit, like cantaloupe! If we had more time, I would have loved to do the tour. There was a wedding going on while we were there, and I can only imagine how stunning of a backdrop this winery would be!
SUMMERHILL PYRAMID WINERY
Our last visit was to Summerhill Pyramid Winery, which instantly became my favourite and definitely deserved a tour. They produce 100% organic wine, and are Kelowna’s only winery with Demeter Biodynamic certification, which relates directly to their holistic farming practices.
All of their wines age for 30 days in their pyramid underneath a large hanging crystal, which was built to mirror the Great Pyramid of Egypt in terms of alignment and precision. Ageing their wine in the pyramid infuses it with positive energy, and intensifies the flavour. They have a 20 year track record of international gold medals. This winery is the REAL DEAL.
During the tour we got to go inside the pyramid, where we sat in silence for a minute and a half with our hands in a prayer pose, an inch of space between the surface of our palms. The energy in the pyramid was definitely noticeable, and I’m so thankful we got to experience it! We ended up purchasing a bottle of the Cipes Brut sparkling wine (because this girl’s gotta have her bubbly), with aromas of apple, lime, pear, almonds and grapefruit, and a palate of crisp acidity. My mother-in-law also picked up a bottle of Baco Noir, a smooth and hearty red wine with notes of chocolate, tobacco, blackberry, black currant, and integrated oak gained from aging in French barrels for twenty-two months. Absolutely delicious.
I am by no means a wine connoisseur. I enjoy a $6 bottle of wine just as much as a $30 bottle. With that being said, I really loved going for tastings and a tour, and it was an absolute blast tasting a bunch of different wines and trying to distinguish their unique qualities. I have to admit, as the afternoon went on it got a lot harder to tell each wine apart, and a lot easier just to sip it all down and have a lot of fun, if you know what I mean. If you’ve never been on a wine tour, get to it! If you’ve been to Kelowna, what were some of your favourite wineries? I’m making a list for my next visit!