7 Delicious Ways to Fall For the Okanagan in Harvest Season

6 Delicious Ways to Fall For the Okanagan in Harvest Season

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Covert Farms in Oliver | Gabriel Cabrera

Note: This story was originally published in 2021.

Any time of year is a good time to explore British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. But none is better than fall. Summer’s searing heat has cooled, leaving just a breath of lingering warmth captured by the stony bluffs that line the valley’s lakes. The crowds, too, have gone, leaving roads less travelled and wide open for exploration. And as harvest approaches, fall’s vibrant brush paints the valley’s vineyards and orchards in vivid scarlets and ochres. Here are some of the best things to do in wine country’s most delicious season.

Quails' Gate Winery | @vancouverfoodie
Quails' Gate Winery | @vancouverfoodie

Sip big reds

Behind the scenes, winemakers are frantically getting the new vintage into tanks and barrels. But in the tasting rooms, the crowds have thinned out after a busy summer. That makes fall the perfect time to sample the Okanagan’s just-released red wines. Expect to taste some powerhouse vintages from the last few sun-drenched seasons. One great way to tour the wineries is on two wheels, and Vivid Tours in Kelowna even lets you add power to your pedaling with sanitized electric bike rentals. They also offer a variety of guided tours around the Okanagan Valley.

Dine at a winery

The only thing better than tasting wine at a winery is dining there, too. The Okanagan Valley’s winery chefs are developing a uniquely local wine country cuisine based on exceptional ingredients from fields, streams, forests and even the backcountry wilderness, where foragers pluck wild asparagus in spring and porcini mushrooms in fall. Two winery restaurants to try: Old Vines Restaurant at Quails’ Gate in West Kelowna and Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards in Oliver.

Dream in technicolour

Bringing colourful fun to downtown Kelowna is the Hotel Zed, in a primo location across the street from the lakefront and steps from the coolest eateries in town. Expect free bikes, a ping-pong lounge, retro shuttle van and private mini-disco. Who needs sleep anyway?

Penticton Lakeside Resort | @vancouverfoodie

Be sweet

Busy bees have been buzzing away throughout the Okanagan, pollinating all those plants and making sweet, sweet honey. Sample their wares at Arlo’s Honey Farm in Kelowna, as well as Penticton Lakeside Resort and the Kelowna Delta Grand’s Oak + Cru restaurant, which are all abuzz over their own hives.

Covert Farms Oliver | Gabriel Cabrera
Covert Farms | Gabriel Cabrera

Raise a glass

With some 170 licensed wineries, the Okanagan Valley has no shortage of wine. But the valley has something for thirsty visitors of all tastes: sip creative craft brews at Kelowna’s BNA Brewing Co.; try locally produced cider, including Broken Ladder made with apples from BC Tree Fruits growers; or sample absinthe from BC’s first craft distillery, Okanagan Spirits.

Have fun on the farm

Connect with the place your food comes from with a visit to Covert Farms Family Estate near Oliver. Hop aboard a vintage 1952 Mercury truck for a tour through fields, orchards and vineyards, then wrap things up with a wine tasting and a few tasty purchases from the farm shop. Prefer to pick your own produce? Covert Farms offers that, too. Alternatively, head over to Davison Orchards in Vernon, which offers a u-pick apples and pumpkins in fall, as well as family-fun train rides and irresistible pies.

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