Food and wine and feeling fine! Welcome to our guide of the 5 best food and wine pairings in Kelowna. If you’ve studied wine at all, you are probably quite familiar with the extensive science and theories behind masterful food and wine pairings. Match wines and foods with similar intensities, consider pairings that either contrast or complement one another, pair highly acidic wines with fatty, creamy and rich foods, pair tannins with proteins, consider the origin (“if it grows together it goes together”), and on and on it goes.
Feeling lost yet? The sheer volume of theories, many seemingly contradictory, can make the world of food and wine pairing an overwhelming one. That’s why we’re happy to leave it to the pros. Lucky for us, Kelowna and the Okanagan wine scene is teeming with industry experts, or masters of food and wine, who work endlessly to create gastronomic wonders for us mere mortals to feast over! Featured here is our list of the 5 best food and wine pairings in Kelowna.
At Mission Hill Family Estate Winery in West Kelowna, guests have not one, but two incredible food and wine pairing experiences to choose from. With a storied history, incredible wine portfolio and world class culinary team, Mission Hill is deserving of top spot on our list of the 5 best food and wine pairings in Kelowna.
Running for approximately 30 minutes and coming in at $35 (for 2024) per guest is Mission Hill’s Tapestry Tasting. First, guests are ushered into the striking Chagall Room, a majestic space featuring a larger-than-life tapestry on its wall, and outfitted with a stunning grand piano.
The acoustics, although not the intended focus, are exceptional, and soft music drifts through the airy space all the way up to the ceiling’s archways. Seated at tables elegantly draped with fine white tablecloths, guests will enjoy a Wine Ambassador-led tasting which highlights the exclusive portfolio of Mission Hill wines alongside thoughtfully curated canapés.
Those looking for something even more in depth should opt for the Behind the Cellar Door experience, which lasts approximately an hour. Offered at a rate of $65 (2024) per guest, this experience affords guests the opportunity to enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of Mission Hill’s underground barrel cellar, a jaw-dropping space blasted out of volcanic rock.
Those fortunate enough to visit this cellar will learn that a single oculus provides the only natural light into the space. Once guests have had a chance to explore Mission Hill’s world-class underground lair, they are escorted to their seated wine tasting experience. Hosted by a Wine Ambassador, guests will be guided through the portfolio of Mission Hill wines. Expertly paired cuisine prepared by Chef Patrick Gayler is offered alongside the wines for an over-the-top experience that you won’t soon forget.
A celebrated staple of the Okanagan wine experience, Mission Hill lands the top spot on our list of the 5 best food and wine pairings in Kelowna.
A close runner up on our list of the 5 best food and wine pairings in Kelowna is Cedar Creek Estate Winery. An incredible wine and culinary experience awaits you at Cedar Creek Estate Winery’s Aspect House.
This brand new, state of the art building feels simultaneously sleek yet lived in, immaculate yet homey. Built as a space to host private wine tastings, to entertain, to conduct business or to holding meetings, the Aspect House was smartly designed to suit a wide variety of occasions. Split into multiple spaces, the Aspect House features a few common rooms that resemble beautifully outfitted, sophisticated living rooms.
Branching off from these main rooms are several smaller meeting spaces, all drenched in natural light and featuring floor to ceiling windows. A true oasis where you’ll want to spend the entire afternoon, the Aspect House offers a phenomenal seated tasting experience with food pairings. Incredibly, this experience is complimentary for Aspect Club Members and up to three guests, which alone makes the Aspect Club Membership a tempting proposition.
A wine ambassador guides guests through a thorough seated tasting of six specially curated wines, all of which are thoughtfully paired with three hand-crafted canapés. World class wines, award winning cuisine and outstanding views make the Aspect House at Cedar Creek an easy contender on our list of the 5 best food and wine pairings in Kelowna.
Next up, we’re off to Lake Country along the Scenic Sip Wine Trail. O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars boasts over 100 acres of vineyard and produces 100% estate grown wines. With a half-acre organic vegetable garden and two greenhouses supplying the very highest quality fruits and vegetables for the winery’s on site restaurant, the Garden Bistro, it comes as no surprise that Peak Cellars lands next on our list of the 5 best food and wine pairings in Kelowna.
Among their extensive portfolio of wines, Peak Cellars produces some top notch Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and the lesser seen Grüner Veltliner, plus a selection of Riesling wines ranging from bone dry to off dry. On the red side, Pinot Noir has always been the star of the show here.
Peak Cellar’s Garden Bistro rests right on the edge of the vineyard, with sweeping views of the surrounding orchards and mountains. With their own gardens and greenhouses only a stone’s throw away, it doesn’t get anymore farm to table than this! Their menu is naturally built to complement their wines, and guests can choose from two different tasting experiences to enjoy with dedicated food pairings. Both are fabulous and highly recommended, cementing O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars on our list of the 5 best food and wine pairings in Kelowna.
The first and more casual option is their Cheeky Peak Pairing, which comprises a quick introduction to three stellar wines paired with fun bites. Each wine is meticulously paired with a canapé to ensure a harmonious marriage of flavours that highlight the wines exceptionally well. A knowledgeable tasting associate guides guests through the recommended order of tastings, sharing a brief background on the theory behind each individual pairing. Priced at $30 per person, this is a great way to sample the best that Peak Cellars has to offer.
The more elevated option is the Peak Pairing Experience, priced at $40 per person and encompassing a tasting of four wines. The Peak Pairing Experience showcases four of Peak Cellars’ finest wines alongside cheese and charcuterie. A tasting associate is nearby to guide guests through optimal cheese, charcuterie, and wine pairings every step of the way.
With solid pairings and experiences, O’Rourke Peak Cellars is a “must visit” and lands solidly on our list of the 5 best food and wine pairings in Kelowna.
Staying in Lake Country, the decadent and boujee Ex Nihilo Vineyards makes our list of the 5 best food and wine pairings in Kelowna!
The Memor Vivo tasting experience at Ex Nihilo Vineyards offers an exceptional sit down experience and features a tasting of six of Ex Nihilo’s top-tiered wines in dedicated, varietal-specific glassware. Wines from their current portfolio as well as their reserve series are poured in this elevated experience.
Some of the delicious wines you may expect to sample are their Pinot Gris, Rosé, Gewürztraminer, and Riesling on the white side, and their Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, and Malbec on the red side. An absolute standout, however, is the Midnight, a Bordeaux blend comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. With notes of cassis, black cherries, and cocoa accompanied by black raspberry and bitter chocolate, the Midnight is easily one of the biggest, boldest, and most elegant reds in the Lake Country region.
Ex Nihilo’s Memoir Vivo tasting experience is best enjoyed alongside their Antipasti Platter. This beautiful and bountiful board of gourmet goods was specially created by Chaos Bistro’s Head Chef Danny Tipper, and intended to complement Ex Nihilo wines. Thoughtfully assembled to pair harmoniously with each and every wine, the Antipasti Platter includes a curated selection of local artisan meats, cheese, and preserves that sends the Memoir Vivo tasting experience over the top.
Last on our list of the 5 best food and wine pairings in Kelowna, one of the Okanagan’s most iconic wineries, Quail’s Gate Estate Winery. With a rich history dating back to 1908, when Irish horticulturist Richard Stewart first settled in the area.
Located in West Kelowna, the first vines were planted in 1961, giving birth to some of the valley’s most successful vineyards. Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer round out the portfolio of white wines at Quail’s Gate, while Pinot Noir, Merlot Marechal Foch can be found among their notable red wines. A real standout, the Queue, is a beautiful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah and delivers a nose rich in blueberry, cocoa and violet, while black pepper and supple tannins round out the finish.
A decadent way to sample a few of Quail’s Gate’s classic wines is through their Wine and Cheese Paired Tasting. As the name suggests, three classic Quail’s Gate Wines are expertly paired with a variety of local, artisan, high quality cheeses. Only those who have experienced a perfect wine and cheese pairing before know just how dynamic and life altering this combination can be! Guests should allocate approximately 45 minutes for this elegant seated tasting experience, which costs $50 per person (2024).
For the ultimate food and wine experience, however, consider opting for the Quail’s Gate Yacht and Cruise Epicurean Adventure, an outdoor afternoon experience of food, wine and cruising the waters of Okanagan Lake.
This afternoon cruise with Kelowna Luxury Marine all takes place upon a majestic 49 foot yacht, where guests of this highly exclusive experience will enjoy award-winning Quail’s Gate wines paired with finely curated canapés from Quail’s Gates’ Old Vines Restaurant. Okanagan living at its finest, this experience accommodates up to 10 guests and includes 5 wines, charcuterie by the award-winning culinary team at Old Vines Restaurant, and the adventure of a lifetime. It is truly one of those ultra rare packages that showcase why Quails Gate makes our list of the 5 best food and wine pairings in Kelowna.
With no shortage of exceptional food and wine pairing experiences right at our fingertips, your next life-changing gastronomic encounter is just around the corner. We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the 5 best food and wine pairings in Kelowna and hope you can enjoy a pairing of your own in the future!
For more information on our Okanagan wine focused experiences, please check out our Kelowna Wine Tours.