Great Wine North of the Border - Kelowna, Canada

Driving into Canada was quite the thrill. We had no idea what to expect - having heard mixed reviews as to whether it would be an all-day ordeal, or a drive-right-in kind of experience. Thankfully, it was the latter. (Make sure you have your passports, and if you’re bringing your pet(s) that you have their proper documentation!) We waited maaaaaaybe 20 minutes to cross the border - and just like that, we were in Canada!!

We entered through the Oroville/Osoyoos area (which was SO FAST), and the drive into Kelowna was absolutely breathtaking. We passed through lush farmland with dozens of produce stands (we stopped for peaches and cherries- and they were DELICIOUS), and made our way through rolling, green vineyards, all the way to the picturesque town of Kelowna.

Kelowna is one of those towns that makes you think, “How come I’ve never heard of this place before?” Located right on the Okanagan Lake in the Okanagan Valley, Kelowna boasts beautiful hotels, award-winning restaurants, lake activities, golf, breweries, cideries, distilleries, picture-perfect wineries, and SO MUCH MORE. (Whew. That was a long sentence.)

We checked into the Delta Hotels Grand Okanagan Resort, located right on the Okanagan Lake, jaws dropped and in awe… It’s truly a stunning property! Sally was welcomed right away with a goodie bag full of treats and pampering deals, and the welcome desk was incredibly helpful and kind.

Our room was bright, airy and spacious - with plenty of room for the 3 of us to stretch out. The Grand Okanagan team even left some treats for Bobby and I too… which is always a fun surprise! Our room looked out at their charming pool area, and while we never had time to take advantage of it, we ALWAYS appreciate a good pool where we stay!!

Now, let’s talk wineries. We had NO IDEA Kelowna had such incredible wine. The Okanagan Valley is British Columbia’s premier grape growing region, with over 180 licensed wineries! Because of high import fees and taxes, these wines rarely make it outside of Canada - which makes them extra special! Tasting fees are usually only around $5/person, and are waved if you buy a bottle or two. Some of our favorites wineries we visited were:

  • Hatch Winery: Awesome branding, great wines, great staff. A local favorite - and for good reason!

  • Quail's Gate: Beautiful views and delicious wine! Definitely one of the more popular, touristy wineries, but worth a stop!

  • Mission Hill: Another popular/touristy spot, but their property is STUNNING - and we absolutely loved their wine!

  • Arrowleaf Cellars: This boutique winery may have been our favorite. They have incredible views of the lake, and several delicious varietals. Next time we’ll do lunch on their veranda - it’s breathtaking!

It goes without saying that we did NOT go hungry while we were in Kelowna. The Grand Okanagan Hotel is walking distance to just about every good restaurant in the city, and we’re pretty sure we hit up most of them. Some notable ones that should not be missed, are:

  • Bean Scene for Coffee: We went here every day. Our friend Holly told us about their famous “Cosmic Cookie” and how it changed her life. It changed ours too.

  • Sunny’s Modern Diner for Breakfast: Delicious, hearty breakfasts with a twist. Bobby ordered Chicks on a Raft, which had scrambled eggs, bacon, green onion, sharp cheddar and PEANUT BUTTER, all on a baguette - sounds weird (and is), but he's still raving about it. 

  • BNA Brewing Co: Awesome beers and cocktails, but if nothing else, come here for the zucchini fries. One of the best things we had in Kelowna. (Oh, and they have a pretty sweet bowling alley in the restaurant too!)

  • Antico Pizza: Thin crust pizza that tastes like it’s fresh off of the streets in Italy. Need we say more?

Even though we were only there for a few nights, Kelowna could easily be a week-long destination. From going out on the lake, to wine tasting, to exploring the city center.. There’s SO much to do. From what the locals told us, fall is an epic time to come. The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, and it’s not as busy as the summer season.

We’re in.