Summerland Wine Tour Bottleneck Drive
Welcome to the Summerland Wine Tour Bottleneck Drive! When you think of the Okanagan Valley, three things often come to mind: hot weather, lake living, and wine….lots of wine! What most people don’t know is just how widespread wineries and vineyards are in this region. From wineries that have been operating for over 40 years, to new ones popping up every season, it’s no wonder it’s called the “Napa of the North.” From North Okanagan to South Okanagan, you’ll find multiple regions that are known for different varietals. Traveling along Okanagan Lake between Kelowna, B.C., and Penticton, B.C., sits the Summerland Wine Tour Bottleneck Drive. Sure, with the world famous Naramata Bench and Osoyoos wine regions to the south getting a lot of press, the Summerland Wine Tour Bottleneck Drive may get overlooked, but don’t be fooled, this is one amazing wine region and a “must see” when visiting the Okanagan.
Kicking off the Summerland Wine Tour Bottleneck Drive we visit Fitzpatrick Vineyards, between Peachland, B.C. and Summerland, B.C. and located on the historic Greata Ranch. Sitting on a bench above Okanagan Lake, the views are unforgettable. Over the years (decades), the property has changed owners a few times, with the most recent owner, Ross Fitzpatrick, purchasing it in 1994. The Fitzpatrick family is no stranger to wine as they began their wine journey as Cedar Creek Estate Winery owners, located along the East Kelowna wine trail. With several wines to choose from, they are becoming notable for their sparkling wine using the traditional sparkling wine method.
Next up, Sage Hills Vineyard, a family-owned and operated winery perched above Okanagan Lake. Proud to be certified organic, Sage Hills takes every step possible to have a positive environmental impact beyond the winery. The owners, who are on-site daily, work diligently with “Salmon-Safe” to practice ecologically sustainable agriculture that protects water quality and BC’s native salmon. The team at Sage Hills believes, “Just like our plants, we are growing to improve ourselves.”
Continuing further south in the valley, the Summerland Wine Tour Bottleneck Drive takes us to Dirty Laundry Vineyard, one of the most unique wineries, if not for the wine, definitely for the atmosphere! In the late 1800s, the Canadian Pacific Railway was constructed through B.C., and thousands of men worked on it, including up to 15,000 Chinese men who were brought over for the build. One man, Sam Suey, escaped the labour-intensive work and opened up a Chinese Laundry. Quickly gaining popularity as a place for men to get their closed laundered, Sam created a space above where men could wait for their clothes to be cleaned. In this space, they could enjoy a drink, a game of cards, or the company of a woman, hence the name Dirty Laundry. “Dirty” above and “Laundry” below, with the lingerie around the property paying homage to the days gone by.
Dirty Laundry is more than just a great story; it’s also a fantastic place to grab a bite to eat. The expansive patio overlooks the original railway, still in operation today. Sit and enjoy some incredible food and wine and feel like you’ve slipped back to the 1800s. There is also ‘The Bottoms Up Saloon,’ which serves up a nice cold glass of craft beer if you’re not in the mood for wine.
With over 230 years of winemaking history, it’s no wonder 8th Generation Vineyard is a must in this region. The winery is proud to be part of an industry that works to preserve the unique agriculture in the Okanagan Valley while creating quality wine without any compromises. The Schales family believes they have the perfect growing conditions to create wines that express the grape’s authentic characteristics. When visiting 8th Generation Vineyard, it’s worth noting that all of their wines are vegan friendly.
Along the interior of the Summerland Wine Tour Bottleneck Drive, among the Apple orchards and rolling hills lay Thornhaven Estates Winery and Heaven’s Gate Estate Winery. Both of these family owned wineries offer the quintessential Okanagan winery experience with epic mountain views, intimate tasting rooms, friendly staff and of course, amazing wines. We highly recommend the 2019 Heaven’s Gate Viognier and the 2018 Thornhaven Estates Syrah!
There is no doubt, the Summerland Wine Tour Bottleneck Drive has a variety of wineries to choose from – only noting 6 above. Don’t forget to stop in for a visit and tasting at Sumac Ridge Estate Winery, Okanagan Crush Pad, Summergate Winery, Silkscarf Winery, and many more.
If you feel like changing it up from wines, stop in at one of the cideries, Millionaires’ Row Cider Co., Dominion Coder, Nomad, Cider, or Summerland Heritage Cider. Additionally, don’t miss out on Alchemist Distiller.
Does this sound like the perfect place to tour wineries? If you’re looking for a less busy, more intimate wine trail still within close proximity to the Kelowna area, the Summerland Wine Tour Bottleneck Drive is hard to beat!