X
3-1304-Naramata-Vineyards
Vineyards along Okanagan Lake
(Don Weixl photo)

Naramata

Geography

Naramata is located on the east shore of Okanagan Lake, some 16km/10mi from its southern tip.

The community occupies a narrow strip of flat land, the delta of Naramata Creek (originally known as Nine Mile Creek), washed from clay banks that rise steeply to terraces of rolling benchlands where well-spaced residential development mingles with orchards and vineyards.

Topography & Terrain

The topography is dramatic with rock outcrops and walls of clay, pockmarked with bird roosts and eroded into fanciful hoodoos (rock spires). Ponderosa pine stand tall on the sage- and grass-covered mountainsides that rise to the forested Okanagan Highland.

Here the rolling terrain is punctuated by small fishing lakes and the occasional taller peak with the Monashee Mountains forming a rampart to the east.

Giant's Head

Giant's Head Mountain stands as the focal point for Naramata's western view, its distinctive profile dominating the opposite shore of Okanagan Lake. Further west, the Cascades and Coast Mountains cause the rain shadow effect that produces the area's semi-arid climate.

Fragile Ecosystem

While the southern Okanagan Valley is one of the most ecologically diverse regions in Canada, it is also one of the most endangered. Over 250 of its indigenous species are considered to be at risk.

Okanagan Lake

Naramata's climate is moderated by Okanagan Lake, which stretches 111km/69 mi from the city of Vernon in the north to Penticton in the south. The lake helps to counteract warm air flowing up from the Great Basin in summer and cold air flowing down from the Arctic in winter.

Climate

While Naramata does experience four distinct seasons, summers are long and hot with average daily highs in July of 28°C/82°F and many days well into the 30°C/90°F. Humidity is very low. Winters are short and mild with average January highs of -1°C/34°F and little snow. Spring comes early with a show of colourful wildflowers.

Apricots are the first orchard trees to blossom and the flower show continues through May with cherries, peaches, pears, plums and apples in succession. Precipitation averages just 305mm/12in annually.

Practical Points

  • Variations in altitude make the seasons elastic. Dress in layers when visiting the high country in summer. Temperatures and weather conditions can vary quite significantly.
  • Winter tires are strongly recommended when heading to the backcountry from early autumn through late spring. Road conditions at higher elevations can be treacherous even when excellent in the valley. Four-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicles are best suited for rugged backcountry travel.