Whether you’re chowing down on a breakfast sandwich on the sunny patio at Penticton’s The Bench, grazing through the lakeside Saturday market or just drinking in the fall colours at a winery, the valley southbound to Osoyoos is never riper for exploration than in the fall months.
By Charlene Rooke
During fall Wine Festival season, the Sensation event at Penticton Lakeside Resort matches local wines with art and music that matches their moods. And on October 5 and 6, Cropped at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre brings together 250 wines with food from local providers (there’s a Top Cat Tours shuttle from Kelowna for area residents).
Chef’s Table dinners at Backyard Farms are the hottest reservation in the valley. Chef Chris Van Hooydonk locally sources what he can’t grow on the property (including delicious Ocean Wise red snapper, sustainably aquacultured at Delicasea in Oliver). Groups of 10 to 12 can book a private workshop with the chef, to help harvest and prepare, or just watch and learn, how the freshest local food is best savoured.
Things get cheesy near Naramata, where two stops command foodie attention. Meet new best friends like King Cole and Grey Baby cheeses at the Upper Bench Winery & Creamery, sample them with a glass of vino and wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza at the Oven Wine Bar. Poplar Grove Cheese is famous for its Okanagan Double Cream Camembert, and cheese maker Louise Pearson offers occassional cheese-making classes.
Toward Oliver, 650-acre Covert Farms Family Estate is a must-stop for families, where kids love Hands on Harvest farm tours (weekends only in October) that include a ride in a 1952 Mercury pick-up and meeting the resident farm animals (and grown-ups will gravitate to the shady wine-tasting patio).
FARM TO GLASS
Six breweries form the self-guided Penticton Ale Trail (find a three-day itinerary crafted for you at bcaletrail.ca). The Spirited Brews Cruise bike tour by Hoodoo Adventures in Penticton guides two-wheeled participants along the Kettle Valley Rail Trail above Okanagan Lake, before retiring your wheels to partake in a picnic lunch and chauffered local brewery and distillery tour.