Some of BC's best wine is from OK Falls – now they want you to know it
Those of us who have traveled during the warm summer months of the Okanagan, there are days when you get out of the car in OK Falls and think you're experiencing a bit of Arizona. The heat can be intense, which is why a big ice cream stand in the town is an attractive stop along Highway 97. Okanagan Falls (OK Falls to most) has a concentration of some of the very best (mostly independent) wineries in BC, but you can drive right past them if you're not careful. See Ya Later Ranch, for example, is a five kilometre detour up a winding road at the edge of town. A clustre of wineries are west of the highway, including one two of BC's oldest and most celebrated labels, Wild Goose Winery and Blue Mountain Winery.
If you're looking for an scenic drive to or from Penticton to OK Falls, then take the East Lake Drive beside Skaha Lake. It will take you past a few wineries, including Painted Rock Winery and Blasted Church. One of the newer arrivals is Meyer Family Vineyard, started in 2009 by Jak Meyer and his wife Janice Stevens. Jak spoke with BC Wine Lover when we contacted him about the newly established Okanagan Falls Winery Association (OFWA). Meyer explains it all started as a conversation between a few of the wineries back in the summer of 2009. Now they've got 12 wineries on board, and a gorgeous looking website to promote the group. Here's how they describe themselves:
We bring together the valley’s premiere wineries to offer you an exceptional tour and tasting of award winning wines. From the shores of Skaha Lake to the tip of Vaseux Lake, you’ll find a string of small wineries with big heart crafting big wines. Getting twelve very diverse and busy wineries together to form an association is a challenge in itself and it was years in the making to pull together the association and define the area it covers.
The Heart Of Wine Country wraps around Okanagan Falls and covers wineries from Penticton to Vaseux Lake. Sandwiched between the northern wine regions of Naramata, Summerland and Kelowna and the southern regions of Oliver and Osoyoos, the Okanagan Falls area is famed for some of Canada’s top wine production with the highest quality wines in the valley. What has largely been a well kept secret, only sought out by those wine lovers in the know, these hidden gems of small wineries offer a taste of some of the finest wines, wonderful people and the heart of the Okanagan wine experience.
Blasted Church, Kraze Legz, Meyer Family Vineyards, Noble Ridge Vineyards & Winery, Painted Rock Estate Winery, See Ya Later Ranch, Stag’s Hollow Winery & Vineyard, Synchromesh Wines, Wild Goose Vineyards, Blue Mountain Vineyards, Liquidity Wines and Topshelf Winery. See BC Wine Lover's winery links page for more information on them.
The OFWA are hosting two summer celebrations to attract wine travelers to OK Falls. The first – called Kick Off the Summer – is coming up on Saturday, June 16, 2012 11:00am-3:00pm.
The Okanagan’s premier wineries invite you to KICK OFF THE SUMMER in style. Join us for complementary wine and appetizers and a sneak peak at what is happening in the tasting rooms of the wineries of the Okanagan Falls Winery Association this summer.
BC Wine Lover are huge fans of many of these wineries, and still have to explore some of the newer ones this summer. Wild Goose Wines are perhaps the most consistently excellent wines year over year that we've experienced. Stag's Hollow Winery is truly rising in our books, with their fantastic range of red and white vintages. Blue Mountain Winery is far more accessible now with drop-in tasting room hours, and See Ya Later Ranch is well worth the drive just to experience the breathtaking view of Skaha Lake.
We strongly recommend checking out OK Falls wineries. Start by browsing their website, and plan your visits.
- post by Mike