A visit to beautiful British Columbia wine country takes a little preparation. If the purpose of your trip is much needed leisure time, then taking part in a few winery tours is a vacation must-do! Of course, you can relax much easier if you map out a few details before you go. JustWine can help you plan the ultimate Okanagan Falls wine trip, including accommodations, winery tour companies, must see and pet friendly wineries along with local leisure activities. Whether it’s your first time visiting Okanagan Falls or you’re a seasoned tourist, everything you need to guide your trip is right here.
The locals refer to Okanagan Falls as, “OK Falls.”
It’s OKay for you to call it that, too!
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- Where is Okanagan Falls?
- What should you pack for your trip?
- Wine varietals of the OK Falls region
- List of wineries in OK Falls
- Top 3 “must-see wineries”
- Wineries grouped by area
- Okanagan Falls Wine Tour Companies
- Hotels & Accommodations
- Getting Married in the OK Falls Region
- About the Region (Terroir)
- More Fun Facts
Quick Facts About Okanagan Falls Every Wine Tourist Should Know
Where is Okanagan Falls?
The wine region of Okanagan Falls, stretches over approximately 24 km as the crow flies and lies between Penticton and Oliver. It starts at the north end of Skaha Lake, just southeast of the Penticton airport, goes through the Town of Okanagan Falls and ends southwest of the town at the south end of Green Lake.
Okanagan Falls Map
Come Prepared! What to Pack for Your Wine Tour Visit to Okanagan Falls
- Appropriate Shoes. You’ll need closed-toe, comfortable shoes if you tour through the vineyard or the production area of a winery.
- Dress in Layers. Pack clothes that you can layer because the days are warm to hot and the nights cool off – the grapes like it that way.
- Wine Storage. If you’re planning to purchase wine you need somewhere to put it. Driving? you’ll need a cooler and ice packs for storing wine. Wine left in a hot car will cook and spoil. Flying? Have the winery ship product directly to your home.
Wine Varietals You’ll Find in the Okanagan Falls Region
In the cooler areas of the Okanagan Falls wine region they grow Riesling, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer. The resulting wines are aromatic white wines with lots of flavour. Think: Alsace and Burgundy. Other cool climate grape varieties you’ll find are Pinot Noir and Gamay. These offer light to medium body red wines with red fruit flavours and mouthwatering acidity. Think: Burgundy.
The warmer areas of the Okanagan Falls are much more suited to Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Here you taste medium bodied red wines with ripe black and red fruit characteristics that have a distinct elegance. Think: Bordeaux.
A List of All the Wineries in the Okanagan Falls Wine Region
- BC Wine Studio
- Black Dog Cellars
- Blasted Church Vineyards
- Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
- Bonamici Cellars
- Kraze Legz
- Liquidity Wines
- Meyer Family Vineyards
- Nighthawk Vineyards
- Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery
- Painted Rock Estate Winery
- Pentâge Winery
- Play Estate Winery
- See Ya Later Ranch
- Stag’s Hollow Winery & Vineyard
- Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery
3 Must See Okanagan Falls Wineries
If you’re passing through and want to catch the best known wineries within the Okanagan Falls region, these three top our lists. We’ve chosen these must see wineries both for their popularity across Canada as well as that certain something to make your visit to each of these wineries an experience to remember.
There is something very special about a winery that cares for our canine companions the way See Ya Later Ranch does. With a history of dog lovers and a “Barking Lot” for your pooch to play in, this is the ultimate dog-friendly winery. Oh, and the wines are excellent, too! Don’t miss See Ya Later Ranch on your tour of Okanagan Falls.
The entire region of Okanagan Falls is beautiful, but you can’t beat the stunning view from the picnic area at Noble Ridge. Take one of the many delicious Noble Ridge wines out to the picnic area with some cheese and charcuterie and soak it all in. This is exactly what wine tourism is all about.
Painted Rock Estate winery prides itself on only using 100% estate grown fruit. Like its modern tasting room, the wines of Painted Rock are ultra-premium, but that doesn’t mean they’re not approachable. Friendly staff and delicious estate wines in a sleek setting make this a must-see winery in Okanagan Falls.
Tight on Time? OK Falls Wineries Grouped Together by Area
Okanagan Falls is spread out over about 30 km so if time is a factor, consider sticking with wineries in one area. By staying within a smaller area, you can tour more wineries in a shorter amount of time. We’ve grouped them together for you to help you save precious travel time.
Wineries Along Skaha Lake
West Side of Skaha Lake (South of Penticton)
PLAY Estate Winery | Kraze Legz
East Side of Skaha Lake, AKA Corkscrew Drive (North to South)
Pentâge Winery | Painted Rock Estate Winery | Black Dog Cellars | Blasted Church Vineyards
Wineries in Okanagan Falls
Wineries South East of the Okanagan Falls Town
Liquidity Wines | Wild Goose Vineyards | Stag’s Hollow
Noble Ridge Vineyard | BC Wine Studio | Bonamici | Blue Mountain Cellars
Wineries South West of the Town of Okanagan Falls
Map of Wineries Around Ok Falls
Should You Hire a Tour Bus? The Advantage of Winery Tour Companies
While you may not see the value in hiring a tour company, consider the cost of drinking and driving. If you don’t have a designated driver willing to watch the rest of your group have a great time trying dozens of wine samples, a driving or wine touring company is a great option. By hiring a tour company, no one is left out of the festivities and no one risks driving impaired. Besides, there’s nothing more relaxing than letting someone else worry about how you’re getting to where you’re going. Here are a couple of wine tour companies in the area:
Top 3 Places to Stay in the Okanagan Falls Wine Region
There are plenty of options available for every kind of traveller in the Okanagan Falls wine region, from camping under the stars to to luxury suites. Whether you’re visiting solo, on a romantic getaway or a family vacation, OK Falls has what you need for accommodations. Here are three of our favourites.
A nostalgic, family-friendly motel in the heart of Okanagan Falls, conveniently located across the road from Skaha Lake beaches. Recently under new management, the Holiday Beach Resort Motel has suites with kitchens, an outdoor heated pool and a good Trip Advisor rating.
The ultimate outdoor getaway can be found at Bighorn Ridge, with breathtaking views of vineyards and Vaseux Lake. Located on the southeast side of Okanagan Falls, near Blue Mountain and Noble Ridge wineries, the accommodations are adult only, pet friendly and offer 2 private suites with a common kitchen. Reservations can be made through their website or via Expedia.
This stunning Mediterranean style villa gives you the beauty and relaxation you need. It has 4 styles of rooms available, including the unique roofless room. The villa can accommodate up to 30 people which is the perfect place to stay for a yoga retreat, wedding celebration or whatever event you can dream up. God’s Mountain Estate comes complete with available alfresco dining, a saltwater pool and endless inspiration.
Getting Married? Consider Hosting Your Wedding in Okanagan Falls
Weddings in the heart of wine country may seem like a dream, but it’s easier than you think. The community of Okanagan Falls can make that nuptial dream a reality.
People who can help you plan and execute your dream wedding:
- South Okanagan event planner, Dream Big Event Management, can assist you throughout the planning process for the perfect wedding. Steph and her crew offer smoothly executed details so you can relax and enjoy your big day.
- The natural beauty of Linden Gardens is the perfect backdrop for your dream wedding in Okanagan Falls. With four stunning ceremony and reception sites available, the highly organized team at Linden Gardens offers wedding packages to suit your needs and all the extras you can think of for your special day.
Wineries that will host your wedding:
Here are a few Okanagan Falls wineries that offer on-site venues for your big day or any special event:
What Makes Okanagan Falls a Great Wine Region? Let’s Get Wine Nerdy!
Every wine region claims to have unique terroir and maybe they do. The Okanagan Falls really is an anomaly. In fact, it’s the only temperate (cold) desert in Canada! A temperate desert means 2 main things for grapes:
- Very little precipitation. This means the vines struggle to find water and, believing they may die, put all of their focus on the fruit so they can re-populate. When the energy and nutrients go into the fruit, rather than just to the foliage, you get more intense flavours which makes for very tasty wine.
- Amazing soils. The soil type in cold deserts are generally rocky and silty with alluvial fans. What does that mean? Simply put, the soils are porous and drain well. To a grapevine, good drainage is perfect because they don’t like wet feet. The gravel or rocky tops also means that the heat is retained in the soil on colder days or nights. Like sitting outside with a blanket when the temperature drops a little.
The best thing about the Okanagan Falls wine region?
The days are warm and the nights are cool.
Warm days and cool nights are great for tourists like you – and the grapes love it, too! Like you, grapes can get in all their daytime activities while it’s warm (like growing and ripening, for instance). Then when the temperature cools down at night, everyone, including grapes, can get a good night’s sleep. What this means is the wine you drink from the OK Falls has flavours of delicious ripe fruit without tasting too jammy or stewed. The drop in nighttime temperature means the grapes maintain their fresh acidity providing balance in the wines.
The Significance of Okanagan Falls Wine Region within the Okanagan Valley
Not only will your trip through the OK Falls be a memorable experience, but there is geographical significance to the region. In the wine world, there are five Geographical Indications (legally defined wine regions) in British Columbia:
- Vancouver Island
- Gulf Islands
- Fraser Valley
- Similkameen Valley
- Okanagan Valley
Within the Okanagan Valley there are two legally defined sub-regions: The Golden Mile Bench and Okanagan Falls.
Having recently been named the second official sub-region, the Okanagan Falls is now recognized for its significance in the Okanagan Valley, unique terroir and appeal within the Canadian tourism industry.
More Fun Facts About Okanagan Falls
Myth Buster: The Legend of Skaha Lake
The town of Okanagan Falls which lies at the south end of freshwater Skaha Lake which used to be called Lac du Chien (Dog Lake). Subsequently, the town used to be called Dogtown. It’s a common myth that skaha in nsyilxcən, the Okanagan Nations language, means dog, but that isn’t true! Skaha (sqéxe) is dog in Secwepemctsin, the Shuswap language. The Okanagan phrase for my dog is inkəkʷap, which Okanagan Falls is definitely not named after.
Can I Go See the Falls of Okanagan Falls?
Well… no. The Falls are now really more of a trickle than actual waterfalls. A dam was built in the late 1940s to control flooding. It turned the falls into very gentle rapids. Nonetheless, there are some amazing sites to see that don’t involve chasing waterfalls.
What’s the Hype with that Blasted Church?
The Okanagan Falls United Church is a 120-year-old church that stands in the town of Okanagan Falls, which incidentally is not its original home. The church was built in the community of Fairview around 1897 then later dismantled using 4 sticks of dynamite to loosen the nails. Shortly after it was moved to Okanagan Falls where this “blasted church” has been part of the Okanagan Falls community since 1929. Paying respect to that church with their name, Blasted Church Vineyards celebrates “the ingenuity of this initiative, and honour these pioneers for their vision, steadfastness and craftsmanship.” For a heavenly wine experience, make sure you visit the Blasted Church Vineyards tasting room and pick up a bottle of OMFG Sparkling Wine.
What Else is There To See and Do in OK Falls?
- Golf. There are 2 golf courses in the area. Skaha Meadows Golf Course is at the top of Skaha Lake and St. Andrews By The Lake is west of the town of Okanagan Falls. Start your day by hitting a few balls then take in a wine tasting nearby.
- Eat. Wine and food go hand in hand so make sure you check out the culinary scene in Okanagan Falls. Whether you’re in the mood for take out pizza, a winery picnic, a casual family-friendly meal or fine dining, Okananagan Falls has it. Our recommendation? Try the bistro at Liquidity Wines, featuring hyper-local ingredients, seasonal items and artful food. Reservations recommended and can be made online.
- Beach. Nothing says leisure like hanging out at the beach. Check out dog-friendly, Christie Memorial Park on the south shore of Skaha Lake.
Tickleberry’s Okanagan Falls Ice Cream Shop
Okanagan Falls is synonymous with Tickleberry’s Ice Cream Shop. Locals and tourists alike will line up for a taste of the finest ice cream in the Okanagan Valley. As if 72 flavours of ice cream isn’t enough, they also have chocolate. Whether it’s date night or a family outing, Tickleberry’s is the hot spot in town.
The most popular wine region in British Columbia is the Okanagan Valley and at the heart of wine country in the Valley lies Okanagan Falls. With its unique terroir, world class wineries, stunning scenery and something to do or see for everyone, the OK Falls is exactly where you want to be. By choosing to visit the Okanagan Falls wine region on your next trip, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.
Now that you know all about the Okanagan Falls wine region, it’s time to Look for more great Canadian wine tourism information. Check out these articles on the wine industry in Canada: