Familiarize yourself with the region’s history of wine production before you start drinking at the BC Wine Museum, where exhibits and artifacts chart the industry’s small beginnings in the thirties to its current large-scale operations, which began in earnest in the seventies. Be sure to stop in at the well-stocked shop on the way out where many varietals are available for purchase.
Hit the road to explore some of the valley’s 130-plus vineyards. You can chart your own route or seek help from a concierge, but the self-guided Lake Country Scenic Sip Trail offers a particularly lovely three-mile drive through hilly farmland and ranches. Stop first at Ancient Hill Estate, with its Old World charm, to sample award-winning Pinot Noir. Move on to picnic-perfect Arrowleaf Cellars for a sip of clean, crisp Bacchus Riesling before heading to Ex Nihilo Vineyards, best known for its icewine. Finish your tour at Gray Monk Estate, one of the oldest Okanagan Valley wineries (it was founded in 1972), to sample their Chardonnay Unwooded, which is fermented entirely in stainless steel, instead of the usual oak, barrels.
Tap into the artistic inspiration the land inspires with the roving A Crush of Colour painting classes. Artist and instructor Jennifer Pickering sets up shop at different picturesque wineries in the region and leads three-hour workshops for painters of all levels to create landscapes in the style of the masters. The September series, the last of this season, will be held at Arrowleaf Cellars.