Okanagan Valley, British Columbia (Canada Wine Country)
This gem of a region in beautiful British Columbia could easily be misconstrued as Europe or California because of it’s long lake front (135km-long with its own fabled Loch Ness monster, named the Ogopogo), greenery, wineries, fruit orchards and farm-to-plate food scene (In fact, some of the wine coming out of this county is now among the best coming out of North America as a whole). The Okanagan is located a few hours inland from Vancouver – you can fly into Vancouver then drive or Kelowna directly – nestled in the hills, and is a much warmer and drier climate. There are many different towns along the giant lake, offering different flavors and ambience, from Kelowna to Penticton, Naramata, Oliver, Summerland, Peachland, Vernon, Osoyoos and more.
Wine is booming here. Twenty years ago, there were only 31 wineries in the region; now there are over 130 (check out the Okanagan Wine Festivals). Ambitious wineries such as the giant Mission Hill and Quails’ Gate have been fueled by a tech industry boom that has brought an increasing number of wealthy millennials to the region. The Okanagan, like parts of the neighboring US states of Oregon and Washington, was until recently an undeveloped rural area, dotted with ranches and fruit farms, and this tradition can be witnessed at first hand through farm-to-plate experiences on estates such as Covert Farms’ sprawling 650 organic acres. There is an individuality to the Okanagan that’s not really found in Napa, or even Sonoma.