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The Spring Okanagan Wine Festival Round Up

Hello Kelowna Staff | February 28, 2018
The Spring Okanagan Wine Festival Round Up
Barrel tastings, winemaker's dinners, parties, learning opportunities and more at the Spring Okanagan WIne Festival.
Barrel tastings, winemaker's dinners, parties, learning opportunities and more at the Spring Okanagan WIne Festival.

It's that time of year again. The wineries may be working hard all year round, but for us wine and wine-country lovers, the season for tasting, grazing, and exploring is just about to start! And the Okanagan's good at that: they've got one of the hottest Spring Wine Festivals in the entire wine world.

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If you've never been to the spring festival before, the events run the gamut from cellar tours, food pairings both extravagant to the casual, viticulture and sustainability sessions, blending your own wine, and even star-gazing and cheese-making!

This year, the festival events run from May 3rd to the 13th. We have broken the event listings down into two sections:

Even us winefest regulars will be psyched to check out a few new shiny things: the Time Winery's new urban winery in the old Penmar movie theatre opens its doors for the public to tour; and we've yet to see new winery, The Chase that opened last fall in Lake Country.

The new $5.2 million Play Estate on-site winery and vineyard overlooking the shores of Skaha Lake.

We're also keen to check out how newer wineries are settling in and establishing their products and interesting ways to enjoy them. I'm looking at you Fitzpatrick Traditional Method sesh; and Play Winery – your hillside patio's unique Skaha vista is a new wine-pairing I've yet to try.

As the Okanagan solidifies its place in the serious wine scene, we are developing some great traditions: winemaker's dinners, well-known locavore chef appearances, barrel tastings and more. If it was a hit in the past festivals, no doubt it's back again (just book early). Road 13, Mission Hill, Quails' Gate, Tinhorn Creek, Black Hills, Poplar Grove are among the OGs to hit up for these classic wine country events, with the other wineries offering up some fun and creative wine hangouts.

A seated portfolio tasting takes place at Black Hills Winery throughout the festival.

Or if you're like us, you can head to your fave sub-region and just tool around. Below is a quick and super-superficial handy guide to the wine, and winery styles.

By Wine style (check each winery for tasting room hours)

Off dry and fruity whites: Lake Country, Naramata, Kelowna
Drier, more minerally whites: Golden Mile Bench, Naramata
Burgundian style whites (Chardonnay): OK Falls
Big Reds: Oliver (Black Sage Bench) and Osoyoos Syrah, Merlot and blends
Spicy Reds: Naramata, Oliver Malbecs
Pinot Noir: Naramata, OK Falls, Golden Mile
Bubbles – Pét Nat or Traditional Method: Fitzpatrick, Blue Mountain, Stellar's Jay, OK Crush Pad, Liquidity, Bella, Summerhill, Evolve (see our BC Bubbly 101 article)

By Winery style (this is very general)

Fun and Funky: Naramata, Lake Country, East Kelowna, West Kelowna (the Hatch, Little Straw, Volcanic Hills)

Seriously Fine Wines: Golden Mile, Oliver, OK Falls, West Kelowna (Quails' Gate, Mission Hill), Naramata (La Frenz, Poplar Grove, Terra Vista... and more)

The view from Blue Mountain Vineyard in OK Falls.


OK Falls – ramblin' country vibes with some of the most iconic Okanagan views, especially McIntyre Bluff.

Lake Country – gorgeous views of Okanagan Lake with a mix of ultra mod wineries and rural suburban development.

West Kelowna – even more gorgeous views of Okanagan Lake with a mix of hilltop and lakeside traditional wineries and suburban development.

Lakeshore (Kelowna) – bucolic waterfront route with a wonderful country lakeside feel.

Penticton/Naramata – charming rolling hills atop the lakeside bench dotted with tons of small-to-medium sized wineries.

Oliver/Osoyoos - unique semi-arid valley with big country Ansel-Adamsy vibes. Lots of wild sage everywhere to put one in a garrigue-y Provencal state of mind.

See our two festival sections for full details on all of the events:


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