Ultimate 3 Naramata Bench Wineries

Kevlynn LoubierNaramata / Penticton Wine Tour, Okanagan Wine

ultimate 3 Naramata Bench wineries

Ultimate 3 Naramata Bench Wineries

Welcome to the South Okanagan wine lovers! The city of Penticton serves as the backdrop to arguably the best wineries in the Okanagan Valley. Only a 10 minute drive from the city centre, the Naramata Bench is a dream come true for those seeking the highest quality wines in Canada.

Discover the perfect combination of stunning natural beauty and world-class wines at wineries along the Naramata Bench. This area of British Columbia is home to some of Canada’s best Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay and Syrah. With virtually endless sunshine, warm temperatures and productive soils, the rolling hills along the Naramata Bench create magical combination that routinely produces some of the best wines in Canada. Get to know the ultimate 3 Naramata Bench wineries in this guide, each offering their own unique experience and delicious wines.

Kelowna Wine & Craft Beer Tours 2

Why The Naramata Bench:

Situated in the Okanagan Valley, the Naramata Bench is one of Canada’s premier wine regions. Home to more than 40 wineries, the area boasts stunning views of Okanagan Lake and a mixed portfolio of white and red wines.

Variety is what the Naramata Bench is all about with both large, commercial wineries that are well known across the country, as well as small, local tasting rooms that offer intimate tastings of small batch wines. Each offers something a little bit different, but all are united in producing first-rate vintages.

Kelowna Wine & Craft Beer Tours 4

You could spend a week exploring the wine trails of this incredible wine country and will no doubt find satisfying tasting experiences, but of course, there are certain wineries that stand out above the rest. As wine tasting is subjective, we’ve made sure to not only focus on the wines themselves, but also the overall tasting experiences at each winery.

In creating our list of the ultimate 3 Naramata Bench wineries, we also took into consideration the tasting room, atmosphere, staff, how the tastings are presented and whether or not they include food pairings. In essence, it’s the overall wine tasting experience that matters!

Preparation Before Your Visit

The vineyards on our list of ultimate 3 Naramata Bench wineries are all by reservation only. It’s best practice to visit each wineries website before heading out to ensure they have space and to book in your preferred time. It may also be best secure a Naramata Bench wine tour operator for the day to ensure tasting experiences are reserved and spaced out accordingly. It’ll also alleviate any issues with consuming alcohol and then having to drive afterwards. Safety first!

Kelowna Wine & Craft Beer Tours 6

If you’re looking to take your tasting to the next level, be sure to enquire about food pairings or cheese / charcuterie offerings which will enhance the overall experience. These are typically ordered in advance so that everything is set for you upon arrival.

Clear Your Schedule – You’ll Want to Take Your Time

Producing fine wines takes time and patience…and so should your wine tasting! With so many wineries along the Naramata Bench and even more wine lovers vying for a tasting experience and access to them, the overall tasting experience model has changed. For the most part, gone are the days of spending an hour or two at a winery, learning about each vintage and chatting with the winemaker.

Nowadays, it’s more common to have a 20-30 minute tasting appointment with the focus shifting to volume and wine purchases. While this is inevitable given the popularity of the region’s wineries, there are still several gems out there that put quality tastings over quantity!

Kelowna Wine & Craft Beer Tours 8

For our list of the ultimate 3 Naramata Bench wineries, we focus on wineries that still offer that authentic, un-rushed tasting experience. We’re not looking for run of the mill stand up tastings, rather for seated experiences with conversations about wine. While it’s easy to find 5 or 6 wineries to visit during the day, this list focuses on the highest quality wine experiences the Naramata Bench offers. In doing so, plan your day around visiting only these 3 vineyards with a lunch stop midway through the day. You’ll be happy you did!

Ready to take a deep dive into some amazing Okanagan wineries? Here is our list of the ultimate 3 Naramata Bench wineries for you to visit on your next trip to the area!

Little Engine Wines

Little Engine Wines tops our list of the ultimate 3 Naramata Bench wineries, boasting a well-balanced diversity of varietals and styles, crafted in small batches and bottled in limited quantities. As every detail is taken into consideration with passion, the team at Little Engine Wines has been dedicated to creating wines that honor nature’s bounty and reflect the unique terroir of the Okanagan Valley.

Kelowna Wine & Craft Beer Tours 10

Every sip of their wines are faithful reflections of Naramata land, embodying the conscientiousness behind thoughtful winemaking in harmony with nature. Specializing in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, their winemaking team focuses on producing the highest quality wines on the bench.

An intimate, well appointed tasting room welcomes you with open arms, as does their well educated staff that are passionate about their craft and sharing the Little Engine story. As the name implies, it’s a play on the children’s story of hard work and determination that ultimately pays off in success!

Kelowna Wine & Craft Beer Tours 12

With a distinctive portfolio of retail and club only wine offerings, we highly recommend their silver and gold lineup of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. These are not your “run of the mill” bottles, but rather wines that have been cared for all throughout the winemaking process. For wine lovers looking to step up to the next level, their Platinum line (members only), showcases what’s possible when trying to create the best wines in Canada. Our personal favourite is the 2020 Platinum Merlot!

From your first contact, throughout the entire tasting experience, Little Engine Wines provides the highest level of customer service, knowledge and wines to solidify them on our list of the ultimate 3 Naramata Bench wineries.

Kelowna Wine & Craft Beer Tours 14

Laughing Stock Vineyards

Founded in 2003, Laughing Stock Vineyards was the 9th winery to open on the Naramata Bench and notches the second spot on our list of the ultimate 3 Naramata Bench wineries. Producing grapes exclusively from their local vineyard as well as their Perfect Hedge Vineyard in Osoyoos, British Columbia, Laughing Stock Vineyards focuses on producing exceptional wines in the “Bordeaux style”. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot dominate their grape production, while Syrah and Viognier round out their portfolio.

Kelowna Wine & Craft Beer Tours 16

Access to this Naramata Bench icon is through a gated entrance as you climb up a sun soaked slope, with their impressive and private tasting room welcoming wine lovers with open arms.

If you’re after big bold, British Columbia red wines, Laughing Stock will serve you well. From their flagship Bordeaux blend “Portfolio” to their subtle Pinot Noir, the focus at Laughing Stock is all about quality! These wines routinely win medals worldwide, solidifying this vineyard on our list of the ultimate 3 Naramata Bench wineries.

Not only are the wines incredible, but as with Little Engine, the tasting experience compliments their portfolio well. Exclusive, private and intimate, budget at least 1 hour (or longer) to fully explore this Naramata Bench gem. Tastings are led by Sebastien Lafortune, an Okanagan wine veteran with over 25 years experience as a Sommelier.

Kelowna Wine & Craft Beer Tours 18

Tastings at Laughing Stock Vineyards are by appointment only, ensuring the focus is on your experience while you visit. Typically this winery sees only a handful of groups daily, with the focus on educating their guests on every aspect of their winery. From vineyard to production, your experiential wine tasting experience should impress even the most seasoned wine lover.

Based on the exclusivity, quality of wines and the overall tasting experience, Laughing Stock Vineyards has cemented itself on our list of the ultimate 3 Naramata Bench wineries.

Nicol Vineyard & Estate Winery

A traditional Naramata Bench winery, Nicol Vineyard was one of the first 3 wineries to settle in the region and rounds off our list of the ultimate 3 Naramata Bench wineries. First planted in 1989, this incredible winery focuses on small batch production of the highest quality wines. Farmed primarily by hand, the team at Nicol Vineyard have a unique relationship with their land and offer a very different approach to most commercial wineries.

With a winemaking focus on limited influence in the cellar, Nicol allows their grapes to be the show stopper! The star of the show is their Syrah, located on a west and south facing slop and sitting at 1500 feet of elevation. This Syrah vineyard was one of the first planted in Canada and for those looking for the highest quality Syrah’s available, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything better.

Kelowna Wine & Craft Beer Tours 20

Of course, to make our list of the ultimate 3 Naramata Bench wineries, the focus needs to be on the tasting experience as well. Nicol Vineyard rocks this! From the welcome bubbles offered when you first arrive, to the seated, intimate tasting, you’ll find a welcoming and authentic Naramata Bench tasting experience.

Fire away with questions as you indulge in their mouth watering portfolio of wines and take in their incredible mountain views. Specializing in Pinot Gris, Blanc de Noir Brut, Syrah and Cabernet Franc, this powerhouse winery makes up in quality what it lacks in variety.

Of the 3 vineyards on our list of ultimate 3 Naramata Bench wineries, Nicol Vineyard feels the most intimate and welcoming. Truly it feels as though you’re among family while experiencing their high quality wines creating an atmosphere that’s increasingly rare these days.

Kelowna Wine & Craft Beer Tours 22

All of the wineries listed above should prove to offer exceptional and “best in class” wine experiences for your next tasting adventure. With over 40 wineries along the Naramata Bench, it’s not always easy to distinguish the best of the best. Those mentioned here have proven to offer consistent, authentic and high value offerings complete with incredible atmosphere and tasting associated.

To make our list of the ultimate 3 Naramata Bench wineries, each property has to offer special wines and a spectacular tasting. We feel you’ll be well served with the wineries on this list!

If you’re looking for more information on wineries in the area, check out all of our Naramata Bench wine tours. Enjoy the experience!