With more than 40 wineries, a dozen craft beer, cider and spirit makers and produce options that include 30 cherry varieties alone, Kelowna is at its best during harvest season.
By Charlene Rooke
At the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival, go to a grape-stomping party, sample mead at Meadow Vista Honey Winery or dine with winemakers al fresco in local vineyards. On September 21, Appleooza offers live music and food trucks along with local-cider tastings in the orchard setting of Scenic Road Cider.
FARM TO GLASS
Some of the newest spots include Upside Cider (on an organic farm, with a year-round market selling local provisions), Wiseacre Farm Distillery and the tasting-room patio at Forbidden Spirits in southeast Kelowna (distilling top-shelf vodka from local apples). You can even stay the night at Soma Cider, a working alpaca farm and Farm Inn with nine contemporary, boutique-style rooms (book through AirBnb).
At the Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm, sample tea and scones, shop for candles and soaps, do a family-friendly Busy Bees tour of the farm or sign up for workshops that walk you through the garden to create treats for the home, body and pantry. Arlo’s Honey Farm in the hills of southeast Kelowna has a sweet tasting bar and gift shop (but no tours after August 15, for the “health and happiness of our bees”)–find fresh-cut honeycomb, honey mustard, jellies and fall produce (like squash, pumpkins and corn) from the farm.
Giro Cycle Tours day-tour options include a Cycle and Savour circuit of East Kelowna that stops at farms, orchards and wineries and includes a gourmet picnic lunch by local chef Mark Filatow; a tour exploring the Italian food and wine heritage of Kelowna; and a roll through Lake Country market farms, from Oyama to Winfield. Multi-day packages in Naramata, West Kelowna and the South Okanagan cycle together local culinary and wine experiences with luxe accommodations.
Build your own harvest adventure along 50 easy-peddling kilometres of the Okanagan Rail Trail, connecting farming communities along the discontinued CN Rail corridor, from Kelowna to Coldstream. An interactive map (okanaganrailtrail.ca) helps you pick orchards and vineyards where you want to take a breather.