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Hiya,

On my last Kelowna trip, I didn’t have time to do winery tour. Five years ago, me, my family from Indonesia, and my-now-husband were in Kelowna visiting some of the well known wineries. So, I decided to make a post about my Kelowna winery tour experience to you all ūüôā I know that some of the pictures maybe out dated. Nevertheless, the number of wineries in Okanagan Valley keeps growing every year. As I’m working in wine industry,¬†I have a chance to have basic knowledge about wine and have an opportunity to¬†taste a lot of different varieties. I must say that BC wine has become more popular than its competitor from California and other countries.

There are over 200 wineries scattered around Okanagan Valley (ref). If you are overwhelmed with the number, don’t fret! Here are some useful websites that you can use to plan your visits:

  • Tourism Kewlona has an¬†online guide to help you¬†plan¬†your¬†route
  • Okanagan Wines provides easy to browse list for all the wineries¬†around Okanagan Valley area.
  • WineBC provides greater list of the wineries available in British Columbia.

Or if you don’t want the hassle arranging your own tour, you can join one of these Wine Tours that will guide you through certain wineries while enjoying some glasses of good BC wine.

If you have the freedom to explore the winery by yourself, there are 5 areas around Kelowna itself according to Kelowna Wine Trails guide. They are known as¬†Westside Wine Trail, Lakeshore Wine Route (South of Kelowna), Downtown Kelowna, Kelowna Fab Five (East of Kelowna), and Lake Country (North of Kelowna). You can also explore more wineries in Summerland, Naramata,¬†and Penticton¬†(south of Kelowna) and even¬†more¬†wineries in Oliver and Osoyoos that is near Canada-USA border. For this entry, I will focus on the winery around Kelowna that we visited. It takes about 4 hours drive from Vancouver to Kelowna. The drive wasn’t too bad since halfway to Kelowna, you’ll see beautiful Rocky mountain surrounding the area as well as some gorgeous lakes. If you prefer to¬†get here fast for a weekend gateway, you can fly¬†to Kelowna International¬†airport (YLW) that is not too far from Downtown Kelowna (20 minutes drive).

1 On the way to Kelowna

1. Mission Hill Winery (Westside Wine Trail)

The Mission Hill Family Estate Winery is so far the most scenic winery I’ve ever visited. Established in 1996, Mission Hill wines have gained popularity in Canada and worldwide. There are two in-house winery tours available: Heritage Tour ($12) and Discovery Tour ($22). Both tours are 60 minutes each and will have a wine tasting & food pairing at the end (ref). In addition, there are three longer¬†sommelier guided tours: Legacy Tasting Experience (90 mins for $55), A Vineyard Lunch & Tour (2 hours for $95), and The Connoisseur (75 minutes for $50). All charges¬†are based on adult price. It is recommended to book the tour online beforehand as limited time and space are available – click here for the website. If you just simply want a wine tasting, go to the wine¬†boutique. For $8, you will be able to taste some of their delicious wines.

On the west side of the winery ground, there is the Terrace Restaurant with beautiful background of Okanagan Lake. Again, reservation is recommended as the space filled up pretty fast during lunch and dinner (website). Aside from their great wine, I absolutely love the architecture around the ground. Tom Kundig, the architect,¬†did a great job on creating a detailed yet beautiful design (ref). From¬†the entry gate, the keystone, the courtyard, the terrace, the bell tower, the loggia, and the amphitheatre¬†(ref), I felt like I’m walking into¬†an European village.

2 Mission Hill Entrance

TOP: Entry gate, the keystone, Mission Hill barrel
MIDDLE: the vineyard, the amphitheatre
BOTTOM: The Terrace, the Loggia and Bell Tower at the back

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DAY¬†4 –¬†Banff Downtown¬†and¬†Revelstoke

 

This was the much less hectic day for us as we woke up a bit later and spent a day exploring other side of Banff. After we checked out from the hotel, we went to Banff Centre. My husband recommended it since he went there years ago. When we arrived there, it looked like a ghost town. It reminded me¬†of a university campus with lots of big arts building. We decided to leave after only spending 10 minutes there hahaha… Maybe if there was an event, we would love to stay longer and explore more.

On the way back, we decided to stop at a viewing area. It overlooked The Fairmont Banff Spring hotel. It really looked like a castle in the middle of an enchanted forest! So pretty! We decided to went to Fairmont Banff to check out the hotel like we did in Lake Louise hehehe… Fairmont Banff Spring Hotel has a castle themed inside and outside. The exterior of the hotel is made of big brick like European castle. The lobby is decorated with shield and beautiful chandeliers! There is a display of knight armor as well as gothic wooden chair. I really love the atmosphere there!

22 Fairmont Banff

The Fairmont Banff Spring Hotel

Our next destination was Banff Indian Trading Post (it was recommended by¬†the hotel clerk). I thought this is an Indian museum but it is actually a shop where you can buy crafts made by Indian people, such as moccasins, leather bags, hats from real fox and rabbit fur, etc. They have a display of a mermaid skeleton¬†believed to live in Lake Minnewanka. I curiously asked the lady on the cashier if the mermaid is real and she said that nobody knows but she believed so. I guess it’s part of the mystery of Lake Minnewanka. There is also a display of fake trout fish that was claimed to be the biggest trout (38 lbs!) to be caught in Lake Minnewanka. After browsing for a while, my husband picked up a dream-catcher and I bought a real rabbit fur that reminded me of my last rabbit, Honey.

23 Indian trading post

Banff Indian Trading Post

Next to Banff Indian Trading Post, there is the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum. We took a peak of the exhibit from the shop and it contains a lot of artifacts from¬†First Nations People of the Northern Plains and Canadian Rockies, such as their traditional costume, hunting equipment, arts & crafts, etc. We didn’t go into the museum and browsed the shop a little bit. The most interesting part about this museum was the animal head hung on the wall around the museum shop. There are buffalo, bison, deer, and moose – all in various sizes.

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