Spots in Western Canada Every Wine Aficionado Should Visit
California’s Wine Country is arguably the most well-known wine region in North America. However, if you set your sights just a bit further north, you’ll find incredible (and comparable) wine tasting opportunities in western Canada and Washington state.
With plenty of valleys and an excellent balance of sunshine and rain throughout most of the year, it makes perfect sense that the Pacific Northwest and western Canada are home to thriving wine regions. Although wine tasting is open and available year-round, early summer is an ideal time to visit with average temperatures ranging from 15 to 21 degrees Celsius (60-70 degrees Fahrenheit). The danger of any potential winter storms is long gone and it’s early enough to avoid the heat that comes later in the season.
Often overshadowed by its northern California counterpart, “Napa North” still remains largely as a hidden gem in the wine-tasting world. While you’ll experience fewer crowds and greater affordability, the wine touring and tasting experiences are just as excellent and memorable.
Spring 2020 Update: Many wineries in the Okanagan and Washington regions are now requiring reservations in their updated safety protocols. We highly recommend that you plan ahead when traveling to these areas to ensure you are able to reserve a spot for your group. This goes for both wine tastings and onsite meals at locations with restaurants.
Okanagan Valley Wine Country
Often called “Tuscany of Canada,” the Okanagan Valley is four to five hours east of Vancouver. The 135-kilometer-long Okanagan Lake is the star of the show, and the very reason the valley produces so many diverse (and delicious!) wines. The valley is dry, hot, and sunny, but the lake regulates temperatures, acting as a form of insulation.
There are nearly 200 wineries in Okanagan Valley growing varietals ranging from Bordeaux to Sauvignon Blanc. Yet, believe it or not, it’s difficult to find the region’s wines outside of BC which is all the more reason to visit.
The largest city in the Okanagan Valley is a mecca for true wine aficionados. Kelowna is considered the “birthplace of winemaking” in BC and is situated within 20 minutes of 40 wineries in any direction. There are also five distinct wine trails to tour and explore, each offering several wineries and dining options, as well as spectacular scenery. Should you be flying into the Okanagan Valley directly, Kelowna will be your best option.
Since there is so much to do and taste in Kelowna, you’ll need a great basecamp. The family- and pet-friendly Coast Capri Hotel is a perfect Okanagan wine country hotel, situated along the lake with sweeping mountain views. Amenity highlights include:
● Complimentary breakfast and parking
● Vintner’s Grill, with an open-air enclosed patio
● Heated outdoor pool
Wine lovers seeking a more off-the-beaten-path type of experience will fall head over heels for Kamloops. Outdoor recreation reigns supreme here, in this desert-like valley where majestic hoodoos rise up from pine forests. Kamloops has a small but up-and-coming wine scene with three boutique wineries to visit along its wine trail.
The area is legendary for its warm hospitality and visitors will feel every bit of that at the Coast Kamloops Hotel & Conference Centre. The wine trail is nearby, and the hotel is also an ideal location for golfing, skiing, hiking, and shopping. Onsite, guests will enjoy:
● Indoor pool and children’s wading pool
● On-site wine, beer, and spirits store
● Romeo’s Kitchen + Spirits with a seasonal patio
It’s easy to see why Oliver is the “Wine Capital of Canada.” Nearly half of BC’s vineyards are here, along with 40+ wineries, showcasing a wide range of diversity in varietals. It’s drier and warmer than other parts of the Okanagan Valley, creating an ideal environment for both full-bodied whites and reds.
The brand-new Coast Oliver Hotel is an ideal place to stay. Here, you’re within easy access to all of Oliver’s wineries, as well as endless options for shopping, dining, and outdoor recreation. Come in May to participate in the annual Pig Out Festival and Half Corked Marathon. The hotel offers:
● Complimentary hot breakfast buffet
● Indoor pool
Situated near the Canada-U.S. border, Osoyoos is red wine country. This sunny hotspot (Canada’s hottest, in fact) is home to more than 40 wineries. Osoyoos wineries have a lot to brag about: they’ve won more awards than any other Canadian wine region as a whole.
Aside from the wineries, there’s Osoyoos Lake, with beaches and plenty of watersports and activities to keep you busy. When you’re ready to call it a night, head to the Coast Osoyoos Beach Hotel. You won’t have to go far, as the hotel is lakeside and even has its own private beach. Other highlights include:
● Indoor pool with a children’s waterslide
● Complimentary continental breakfast
● Kayak and paddleboard rentals onsite
Washington Wine Country
While most of the world focuses on California wines, Washington has quietly slipped into second place, producing the second-largest amount of wine in the U.S. There are nearly 1,000 wineries and 14 distinct wine-growing regions across the state.
If you’re surprised by those numbers, you’re not alone. However, Eastern Washington is actually a very ideal place to produce wine. Compared to its very wet and cold Coastal region, Eastern Washington boasts a lot of benefits for grape growing. First, the wine regions in Washington receive ample amounts of sunshine per year, over 300 days. While the growing season is shorter than southern regions, the high latitude actually helps the crops receive the same amount of sunshine. Second, Eastern Washington is technically dry enough to be categorized as Continental Semi-Desert due to the Olympic and Cascade Mountain blocking the region from heavy rains.
Less rain also means less chance of vineyard fungus, thus reducing the amount of anti-fungicides used. Combine all this with warm daytime temperatures and ample irrigation channels and Washington makes one incredible place for wine!
Just a half-hour ferry ride from Seattle, Bainbridge Island is a popular day-trip destination. The small island is far removed from the hustle and bustle of a major city and has an emerging wine scene. There are seven boutique wineries all using a combination of local grapes and grapes from eastern Washington.
Visitors surely want to see both Seattle and Bainbridge Island. The Coast Gateway Hotel is perfect for doing both. As the closest property to the Sea-Tac airport, downtown Seattle is just 20 minutes away, and Bainbridge, just a scenic ferry ride beyond that. Book now for:
● Complimentary continental breakfast
● Free parking
● Sharp’s Roaster & Ale House, with over 500 spirits
Best-known for being the home of Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks, Woodinville is a forested, entrepreneurial-oriented community. It’s just outside Seattle, but truly feels worlds away. Perhaps that’s the very reason Washington’s wine scene spread to — and seemingly settled in — Woodinville.
With well over 100 wineries and tasting rooms in the city, you certainly won’t have a lack of things to do. For the perfect jumping-off point for your visit, stay at the Hotel 116, a Coast Hotel in Bellevue. Chic Bellevue puts you in the heart of all the city action while also offering easy access to Woodinville Wine Country. Here, guests will enjoy:
● Complimentary shuttle
● Free parking
● Onsite Eastside Bar & Grill
Situated in north-central Washington a couple hours from both Seattle and Spokane, Wenatchee quietly grows 99% of the state’s wine grapes. Cascade Valley Wine Country is home to a number of family-owned wineries, all with a backdrop of spectacular natural beauty. The area’s valleys, lakes, and mountains make it possible to produce many types of grapes.
Wine enthusiasts looking for a more authentic, slower-paced wine experience will appreciate the Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel. From here, several downtown tasting rooms are within walking distance and it’s just a short drive to the vineyards and wineries. Amenity highlights include:
● Guestrooms with mountain or Columbia River views
● Rivertop Bar & Grill with panoramic views
● Indoor/outdoor pool
No matter where your wine-tasting adventures take you, Coast Hotels will be there for you with our Best Rate Promise. Book your stay today at one of our hotels in wine country and check out some amazing online offers!