5 Wineries Along the Okanagan’s Black Sage Bench

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BC’s Thompson Okanagan region is known for its beautiful vineyards and wonderful wines. In fact, it’s BC’s oldest, largest and most popular wine-producing region. With over 120 wineries to explore, it can be tricky to decide on which area to visit. The Black Sage Bench is one for the list, with 21 fantastic wineries along Black Sage Road near Oliver in the south end of the Okanagan Valley. Here are five must-visit wineries to visit along the Black Sage Bench, courtesy of the staff at the British Columbia Visitor Centre @ Osoyoos.

1. Burrowing Owl Estate Winery

A close up view of three wine bottles with Burrowing Owl Estate Winery labels on them.

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery in Oliver. Photo: trec_lit via Flickr

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery is located in Oliver. Named after the endangered bird, Burrowing Owl Estates donates the fees from its tasting room, the Cellar Door, to a local conservation society going towards helping to protect threatened species in the area. With over 56 hectares (140 acres) of vineyards, Burrowing Owl offers a wide variety of quality wines. Their Guest House comes with gorgeous rooms and outstanding views. With an outdoor pool and year-round hot tub, it’s is a perfect place to spend a relaxing weekend while enjoying the sun, wine and natural beauty of the area. Burrowing Owl prides itself on environmental sustainability, with all on-site accommodations, restaurant, and pool powered by solar and geothermal energy.

2. Black Hills Estate Winery

Black Hills Estate Winery lit up at dusk, with a flat modern roof, chairs outside on a patio, the Okanagan hills in the background and a lush green lawn in the foreground.

Black Hills Estate Winery near Oliver. Photo: Black Hills Estate Winery

Black Hills Estate Winery is located just outside of Oliver, and began producing wines in 1999. The staff are passionate about wine, and this passion is clear in the exceptional quality of their products. You can learn all about the process of wine-making, or relax and enjoy a wine tasting led by the experienced and knowledgeable tasting room staff. The gorgeous estate offers outstanding views of the vineyards and surrounding hills, and new for July 2015, Black Hills will be opening up the Vineyard Kitchen, offering food to go along with their excellent selection of wines. They also hosts many great events throughout the summer, so check out their website before planning your visit.

3. Covert Farms Family Estate Winery

A bright red truck with a wooden box parked on a dirt path on the grounds of Covert Farms.

The distinct red vintage truck at Covert Farms Family Estate Winery in Oliver. Photo: Josie Heisig,

The Covert Farms Family Estate Winery was founded in 1959, and prides itself on protecting its land. The land is host to beautiful orchards that produce tasty fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as 9 hectares (22.5 acres) of wine grapes. Gene Covert is the third generation of Coverts to work on the organic farm, and in 2014, he turned his focus to the winemaking side of the business, leasing the organic food growing to Secrest Organics. Take the Signature Tour, as the passionate guides take you around the farmland, entertaining and teaching, before returning to the Watermark Wine Bar and Patio to enjoy some delicious wine pairings.  With outstanding organic wines and amazing fresh fruit, Covert Farms is a must-visit stop on your Black Sage Bench wine touring trip.

4. Desert Hills Estate Winery

Desert Hills Estate Winery started out growing grapes to sell to other wineries. In 2003, they opened their own winery, and began creating delicious craft wines. This family-owned winery and vineyard sits on 9.7 ha (24 ac) along Black Sage Road in Oliver. The Desert Hills Wine Club offers great discounts, access to members-only wines, and exclusive invitations to social events over the course of the year. If full-bodied reds are what you’re after, Desert Hills is the place to go. There’s no doubt as to the quality of their wines, having won the title of Canada’s Best Red, and twice received the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Winemaking.

5. Oliver Twist Estate Winery

Oliver Twist Estate Winery is a charming family-run vineyard and winery located south of Oliver. With a focus on growing the best quality grapes for their wines, they truly love what they do, and it shows in the friendly atmosphere and tasty wines. Oliver Twist offers fruity whites and rich reds that are as unique as they are flavourful, receiving many national and international awards. If you’re looking for a fun, high energy winery, Oliver Twist is the stop for you. They also offer Twist Club memberships, which get you discounts on wine, as well as other great perks.

Did we miss one of your favourite wineries along the Black Sage Bench? Let us know in the comments below!