We are so lucky to be living in one of the world’s premier wine regions. Though Vernon does not have any wineries or vineyards within our city limits we are within an hour of dozens of extraordinary and unique wineries. The weather has turned and it is time to start enjoying these local delights!
Wine in the Okanagan region goes back to the 1850s, the very first vineyards were developed to provide a wine source for the early churches’ communion. The first vineyard was planted by Father Charles Pandosy, who was also the first Catholic Priest to permanently live in the valley. He spent most of his years in Canada in the city of Kelowna. The Canadian prohibition of alcohol during the “Roaring Twenties” would stall the growth of the industry until the 1930s.
The onset of Great Depression, which began in late 1929 and would last until the beginning of the Second World War in 1939 caused further limiting investment in these local businesses. It would not be until the mid-1970s that wine grapes would be grown commercially in the valley; up until then, the region had survived largely on imported grapes and the production of fruit wines. A fruit wine is made of a type of fruit other than grapes and can include other herbs and plants to intensify and diversify the flavor!
Did you know that the Okanagan is the second largest wine producing region in Canada? It is rivaled only by the Niagara Peninsula in Southern Ontario. Since 2000 the Okanagan Valley wine industry has become the fastest growing export sector and has led to explosive development! The variety of climates and geography that can be found in the valley offer incredible diversity in the wines produced here! We are known for the sweetness of our wines with our ice wines being named some of the best in the world. With more than 180 licensed wineries and over 200 vineyards, there is certainly no shortage of places to explore!
You can find a little bit of everything in the valley, from family-run operations to more commercial estates adjoining restaurants. So whether you are looking for the organic setting of a small local business or for the glitz and glamour of Canada’s best, the Okanagan is the best way to get either… or both!
Now one may ask: What is the best way to experience this amazing opportunity? Well, we have your answer! Beginning on May 3rd, 2018 and continuing on until May 13th, 2018, Valley First presents the 2018 Spring Okanagan Wine Festival! Offering a wide array of different events for all interests and budgets! The Spring Okanagan Wine Festival will help you enjoy this local tourism staple, whether you are an eager beginner or a seasoned pro!These exciting events offer the best in our region’s wine country from a variety of unique wineries and vineyards. The collection of events over the ten days spans the entire Okanagan region! Indulge in tastings and tours and find out why Canada has become one of the best wine-producing countries in the world, rivaling the longstanding prestige and pedigree of Italy, Spain, and France!
Though there are no events occurring in Vernon, just 20 minutes down the road you will find a number of fantastic events in Lake Country! (Check below for just a few!)
- Spring Wine Festival Courtyard Tasting @ Ex Nihilo Vineyards
- Flights, Sights, and Bites @ Grapevine Restaurant (Gray Monk Winery)
- Mother’s Day Painting Party @ Intrigue Wines
- Barrel to Block One @ 50th Parallel Estate Winery
There is truly something for everyone’s inner wine lover, but don’t worry if you can’t make it to any of these events, the summer of 2018 will be filled with amazing, fun, and enriching events that will expand your knowledge of local history and wine culture!