Every once in awhile Joe and I ponder where we'd live in Canada if we could choose absolutely anywhere. It's a tough decision - Canada is huge and has so many wonderful regions - but the Okanagan is consistently considered a frontrunner for a potential home. Nestled in Canada's most Western province, British Columbia, the region is flanked by mountain ranges yet home to some of the warmest temperatures in the country.
It's those warm temperatures that make it ideal for growing fruit. In peak season, you can hardly drive a kilometre without a 'Fresh Fruit' stand or sign along the side of the road. Those Okanagan peaches are so delicious. (I'm salivating as I type.) The Farmer's Markets are plentiful and people tend to really embrace an outdoor living and healthy lifestyle. The summer has everyone spending their days on the lake while the winter sees people on the ski slopes.
See, I've practically sold you on the region and I haven't even mentioned the wine! The Okanagan Valley is one of Canada's largest wine producing areas. There are vineyards upon vineyards and some 131 wineries ranging from small family run estates to large, well known names. Obviously, wine tours and tastings are a popular activity for tourists and locals alike.
At the beginning of July, we spent a week in Kelowna, the area's largest city. When Expedia Canada heard about our trip to Canada's Wine Country they asked us to share our experience. There are an abundance of wineries right in the city, particularly in West Kelowna where we were based, which made for gorgeous scenery. We could have easily spent all our time in tasting rooms but with the temperatures in the high thirties, the pool at our rental house was just too alluring. We did, however, take full advantage of vacationing with grandparents to escape for one special night, sans baby.
Quail's Gate Winery is one of the most well known wineries in West Kelowna and it's restaurant, Old Vines, is consistently ranked as one of the best in the region. Joe and I booked a table for an evening of wine and delicious farm-table dining overlooking the Okanagan Lake and it couldn't have been more perfect. The food and the wine were delicious and the sunset was stunning. After dinner we took a walk through the vineyard, hoping to extend the evening just a little longer. It was one of those nights - the kind that make us a little nostalgic for our homeland.
We returned home happy and satisfied to a sleeping baby only to drive back to Quail's Gate the next day, camera in hand, to pick up a bottle of the wine we enjoyed at dinner. While I would have loved to visit more of the wineries in the area, I'm happy to have chosen Quail's Gate for a memorable night out with my guy. And who knows, maybe one day we'll settle down in the area and make it our personal mission to visit and sample wine at every estate. One can dream…