Posted on Jul 19, 2012 | Comments 0
The Okanagan Valley region in the western Canadian province of British Columbia is regarded as one of the most beautiful in the nation. It’s well known for its natural beauty as well as the superb wines that have been produced here since 1930s. However, the beautiful orchards were used for their luscious grapes long before that.
As well as fine wine, the region is also producing a variety of other delicacies with the grapes and other fruits, such as jellies, jams, fruit spirits and liqueurs, and flavored vinegars. When you mix in the cuisine with the stunning mixture of bright sunshine, desert land, mountains, lakes, green fields and ski resorts, you can see why the Okanagan Valley is so popular with local residents as well as visitors.
The valley sits in the south-central area of British Columbia and is about 120 miles long and 12 miles wide. The northern tip of the valley reaches above the city of Vernon and it stretches all the way down to the community of Osoyoos, which sits close to the state of Washington and the American border. In between you’ll come across the popular city of Kelowna, British Columbia.
In fact, if you’re planning a trip to the valley, Kelowna may be a good place to start since there’s an airport there and it’s about a 360-mile drive from Calgary, Alberta and 240 miles from Vancouver, British Columbia. If you fly into Kelowna or any of the other cities it’s a good idea to rent a car once you get there. If you stay in Kelowna, there’s a good day trip down to Penticton, which is only about 50 miles away. The community of Summerland is also worth driving to as well.
The Okanagan Valley has quite a warm, dry, and sunny climate. It sees about 2,000 hours of sunshine a year and 9.5 to 15.5 inches of precipitation. If you like wine, you’ll have a ball visiting the valley since there are about 150 wineries located throughout it. Some of them are small and simple operations and others are quite large with many of them being run by families. Some of them, such as Mission Hill winery, are quite well known internationally while others are just starting out.
All of the wineries offer samples and many of them provide visitors with tours. You’ll also find that some of them feature things such as gift shops, restaurants and even musical concerts and other entertainment events. The summer is the busiest time with more activities going on at the wineries while the harvest time falls from September to October. The trees start to bloom in May and ripen anywhere from June to early September.
If you’d like more information on the history of the region’s wineries you should head over to the BC Wine Museum in Kelowna. There’s also a VQA Wine Shop there and an information center situated in Penticton. However, there’s a lot more to the Okanagan Valley than just fantastic wine, wineries, and orchards.
There are also over 50 golf courses in the region with most of them being located in Kelowna and the immediate surrounding area. The prime time to golf is from March to November. There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy as well, such as camping and hiking. There are several provincial parks in the area with campgrounds. One of the most popular hikes is the Kettle Valley Railway Trail, which is located close to Summerland.
The Okanagan Valley is a delightful region to tour for both wine lovers and nature enthusiasts.
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