Okanagan Valley Travel Tips

IMG_4809Before making your next travel plans, you might want to consider a trip to British Columbia, Canada, especially if you are interested in wine tasting, touring and exploring. The Okanagan Valley runs for 125 miles and is home to more than 100 wineries. British Columbia is about a four hour-drive from Vancouver and has five main wine producing regions: Okanagan Valley, Vancouver Island, Fraser Valley, Similkameen Valley and the Gulf Islands. Some of the top grapes planted in these wine regions are Riesling, Merlot, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and a little unknown grapes that you may not know about (I had never heard of it or tasted it before visiting B.C.) Ehrenfelser!

IMG_4789Last month, I got the chance to visit the Okanagan Valley for the first time and am excited to share my experiences with you as you watch the wine video. The first winery opened in the Okanagan Valley in 1931 and while the wines of the Okanagan are widely known around the world, you might not know much about them here in the United States. Canadian wines are not sold in the U.S. so if you want to taste them, you will have to visit the Canadian wine region. In this wine and travel video, you will meet some of the men and women who make the wines of British Columbia so special and see why this growing wine region that is hailed for its icewine is hotter than ever.

If you need help planning your visit, contact Tourism Kelowna they planned and hosted our 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference Pre-Conference Excursion and everything went off without a hitch!

If you would like to learn more about the wines of British Columbia and Canada check out my radio interview with James the Wine Guy: LISTEN HERE

Wine Bloggers Conference 2013

IMG_4810WBC is a niche conference where people who blog about wine come together to learn, network and tour and explore a selected wine region. WBC13 was held in Penticton, British Columbia. Last year it was held in Portland, OR and next year Santa Barbara, CA will host the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference. This was my first time attending the Wine Bloggers Conference, so I really didn’t know what to expect. To be honest, I never really considered myself a wine blogger until I won the 2012 Wine Blog Award for Best Original Video. I figure if they think I’m a blogger then hey I must be a blogger! While I was sad to miss last year, I was really excited to attend this year and was humbled and honored when the talented and amazing Alan Kropf congratulated me at this year’s awards session. I will put this in writing he is hands down the funniest emcee I have ever seen at an event. If someone has a YouTube video of it, I will be sure to share it with you so you can see for yourself.

IMG_4816I was invited to teach the session on Videography. As you can see in the picture captured by the fabulous George Rose, I really got animated! I was a little nervous to teach to a group of my peers, so I was thrilled to see Videography, Photography, and Podcasting was the top rated session at WBC13 and it didn’t even involve drinking wine!

Top-rated events and sessions at the 2013 conference

  • Kelowna pre-conference excursion
  • “Vineyards and Geology” and “Paddleboarding and Wine” wine country visits
  • Thursday reception at See Ya Later Ranch
  • Saturday breakfast in the park courtesy of the Downtown Penticton Association
  • Saturday block session on Videography, Photography, and Podcasting

Wineries We Visited

IMG_4766Summerhill Pyramid Winery: Summerhill has won numerous awards for its sparkling wine and icewine, most recently Best International Sparkling Wine at the London International Wine & Spirits Competition (2010). All Summerhill’s wines are 100% certified organic (biodynamic, actually), and are aged in a 4-storey tall pyramid, built according to the ratios of Sacred Geometry and the pyramid is a 1:8 ratio of the dimensions of the Great Pyramid of Egypt.

CedarCreek Estate Winery: For 25 years now, CedarCreek Estate Winery has pursued perfection and produced some of Canada’s best wines resulting in being recognized twice as ‘Canada’s Winery of the Year’. Owned by retired Senator Ross Fitzpatrick and under the leadership of son Gordon, the family’s knowledge of the local terroir and their dedication to the art of winemaking shows in their philosophy of ‘respect the land, honor tradition, pursue perfection’.

IMG_4787Tantalus Vineyards: Tantalus is dedicated to growing and vinifying limited quantities of exceptional Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Tantalus’ winemaking philosophy is centered around the concept of terroir. All wines are made from fruit sustainably grown at their vineyard. A non-interventionist approach to the winemaking process allows each wine to convey the fine quality and unique character of this historic vineyard. Tantalus has the first LEED certified winery building in BC and an extensive environmental program.

Arlo’s Honey Farm: Nestled in the beautiful hills of South East Kelowna, Arlo’s Honey Farm is where the dance of the honey bees orchestrates the pollination of flowers, fruits, berries and vegetables while creating award winning honey. Beekeeper Helen Kennedy sells her bees’ yummy honey and she and husband Rick Appell run a 14-acre farm.

Where We Stayed

Hotel Eldorado: 500 Cook Road Kelowna, BC V1W 3G9 www.eldoradokelowna.com

Penticton Lakeside Resort: 21 Lakeshore Dr W  Penticton, BC V2A 7M5, Canada www.pentictonlakesideresort.com

***We visited British Columbia with a group of 200 wine bloggers for the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference so our rates were subsidized. Please contact the wineries and hotels directly for pricing.***

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