British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley is the wine capital in Canada with over 200 vineyards and 120 wineries. At the southernmost tip of the Valley is Osoyoos, Canada’s warmest spot and a haven for red wine. Coupled with the nearby town of Oliver, Osoyoos wine country boasts nearly 50 different wineries to discover.
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Straddling the Canada-US border, the South Okanagan flourishes on the sunbaked shores of Osoyoos Lake. Osoyoos vineyards are blessed with an average of 1,550 growing degree days and loads of sunshine. The dry days and cool nights create desert-like conditions which are ideal for juicy, sun-ripened red grape varieties.
Naturally, the Osoyoos wine industry is primarily focused on reds, with a couple white wines sprinkled in between. The main varietals include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Chardonnay. And if you head 20 minutes north to Oliver, BC, you’ll also find a fair share of Pinot Gris.
If you’re paying a visit to the South Okanagan, these are the 10 best Osoyoos wineries to check out!
Top Wineries in Osoyoos to Visit in the Okanagan Valley
Best Wineries in Osoyoos for Great Reds
Black Hills Estate
One of the top Osoyoos wineries, Black Hills Estate is located on the famed Black Sage Bench. This wine region is surrounded by desert hills and has some of the best growing conditions in British Columbia. Owned by Andrew Peller Ltd., Black Hills Estate planted their first crop in 1996, making this one of the oldest vineyards in the region.
This Osoyoos-Oliver winery is known for Bordeaux and Rhone varietals. Their red blend, Nota Bene, is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. It’s a must-try at the Black Hills tasting room, which you can visit year-round for CAD $20. Your flight will include five of their best wines in reds and whites.
Must-try wine from Black Hills Estate: Nota Bene Red Blend 2018
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Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
Another of the Black Sage Bench wineries near Osoyoos is Burrowing Owl Estate. This family owned and operated winery has been making wine since 1993 and is renowned as one of the best wineries in Osoyoos. Burrowing Owl combines traditional techniques with modern technology to create exceptional blends and is one of the most popular BC wines. Plus, they implement sustainable practices like solar energy and organic farming to minimize their impact on the environment.
The estate welcomes visitors to their swimming pool-clad guesthouse right on the property. Spend the weekend, visit the tasting room, or dine at the Sonora Room Restaurant, one of the best restaurants in Osoyoos.
It’s the perfect place to sip on a roster of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. Tastings can be reserved for CAD $5 for five wines with tasting fees contributing to the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society. If you visit in the summer, you can join a guided wine tour for CAD $10-40 per person.
Must-try wine from Burrowing Owl Osoyoos: Meritage Merlot 2017
LaStella Winery was created in the vision of La Dolce Vita: “fine food, wonderful wine, great music, and the good things in life.” Situated in Osoyoos Lake wine country, LaStella is a hidden gem of the Okanagan Valley. It’s considered by many to be one of the best wineries in Osoyoos thanks to its catalogue of sensational wines.
Sister winery to Le Vieux Pin, LaStella has been boasting a range of white and red wines since 2006. The winery offers a series of red blends like Fortissimo and Espressivo, along with a signature Chardonnay.
Unlike the Pinot Noir varieties of the northern Okanagan Valley, the reds in this region are rich, juicy, and complex. Sample a flight of four wines at the tasting room for CAD $10 and enjoy them on the seasonal patio. Reservations aren’t needed and tasting fees go to the Canucks Autism Network.
Must-try wine from La Stella: Arioso Sangiovese Grosso 2014
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Gold Hill Winery is a family-owned winery that’s rooted in centuries of tradition. The Gill family purchased 65 acres of vineyards on the Golden Mile and in the heart of Osoyoos in 2009. Since then, they’ve been producing delicious Okanagan Valley wines crafted from the finest Oliver-Osoyoos grapes.
Gold Hill’s lineup of premium small-lot wines feature juicy, well-balanced, and highly regarded wines. Notably, their Grand Vin and Cabernet Franc continuously win awards among the top BC wineries in Osoyoos.
Tastings are available indoors or outdoors at the winery for CAD $15, which includes five wines. Reservation is a requirement and note that tasting fees are waived with a purchase.
Must-try wine from Gold Hill: Family Reserve Meritage 2013
Culmina Family Estate
Culmina Family Estate Winery produces fabulous red and white wines with a low intervention philosophy. The Triggs family purchased the vineyard in 2007 and blends traditional practices with modern technology to preserve the natural character of the grape. All of their grapes are handpicked and sorted, which is unique to other wineries in Osoyoos.
Culmina uses sustainable practices to craft Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, and their signature blend, Hypothesis. Culmina’s tasting room is open seasonally with a range of tasting experiences. The Provenance Tasting is CAD $20 per person, which includes three wines and a waived tasting fee with purchase. Reservations are highly encouraged.
Must-try wine from Culmina: N.004 Stan’s Bench Chardonnay 2016
Church and State Winery
Sitting on 85 acres of pristine wine country land, Church and State Winery is one of our favourite wineries in the Okanagan Valley and has been handcrafting wine since 2009. Their goal is to let the flavours of the grapes shine through so that the wines speak for themselves. This gives customers “freedom of belief,” which is the meaning of Church and State.
Like other wineries in Osoyoos and Oliver, Church and State produce mainly reds. Try the Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Malbec, or Cabernet Sauvignon on an Estate or Terroir Tasting. For CAD $15-30, you’ll sample wines while looking out over the infamous Coyote Bowl and Golden Mile Bench.
Must-try wine from Church and State Winery Osoyoos: Coup d’Etat Red Blend 2014
NK’MIP Cellars (pronounced in-ka-meep) boasts a lot of firsts in the Oliver-Osoyoos wine region. Not only was it the first winery in Osoyoos, it’s the first Indigenous-owned winery in British Columbia and North America as a whole. Owned by the Osoyoos Indian Band, NK’MIP sits on 1,200 acres of land and produces award-winning wines, including Pinot Blanc, Merlot, and Chardonnay.
Consistently ranked as one of the best wineries in BC, NK’MIP welcomes visitors to learn the story behind the wine. There’s an interpretive cultural centre onsite, along with a tasting bar open daily. Visit the vineyards on Osoyoos’ east bench for a variety of year-round tasting experiences or a seasonal dinner at the winery restaurants. Wine flights start at just CAD $5 per person with food pairings and vineyard events available with a reservation.
Must-try wine from NK’MIP Cellars: Mer’r’iym Meritage White
Hester Creek Estate Winery
Inspired by Italian vineyards, BC wine pioneer Joe Busnardo opened Hester Creek (under the name Divino Estate) back in 1968. They began planting Merlot and Pinot Blanc in the early days and have since expanded to 115 acres of flourishing grapes. The Oliver winery and vineyard now grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Pinot Gris, Sémillon, and Syrah.
Visiting Hester Creek Winery is one of the best things to do in Osoyoos thanks to their popular patio restaurant that comes alive with live music and Tuscan-style dining.
Hester Creek offers complimentary tastings for five wines or a Signature Tasting for CAD $15. We recommend making a reservation to visit this Osoyoos winery.
Must-try wine from Hester Creek Estate: The Judge Red Blend 2018
CheckMate Artisanal Winery
CheckMate Artisanal Winery was born with a goal to make a new world Chardonnay and Merlot with old-world elegance. South Okanagan wineries are some of North America’s best, but still take notes from the French classics’ oldest vines. With 40 years of grape growing under their belt, the von Mandl family started CheckMate in 1994.
CheckMate is one of the most focused Oliver wineries with only Chardonnays and Merlots onsite. Sample them with a CAD $30 Tournament Experience at the vineyard or a CAD $45 Advantage Experience. You’ll see why it’s one of the best wineries in Oliver and Osoyoos!
Must-try wine from CheckMate: Queen’s Advantage Chardonnay 2015
Best Wineries in Osoyoos Great Whites
Bartier Bros. Vineyard & Winery
Owned by Okanagan Valley brothers Michael & Don Bartier, Bartier Bros. Vineyard & Winery
is top-notch. While Osoyoos isn’t as known for white wines, Bartier Bros. offers an excellent selection of Semillon, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, and Chardonnay. The winery first opened its doors in 2009 and aims to celebrate the Okanagan’s fantastic growing conditions with unique wines.
You can visit the winery—located across the street from Silver Sage Winery—seasonally in the spring and summer for wine tours and tastings. They offer a Seated Tasting Experience for CAD $20 or a Tasting Bar Experience for CAD $5. Reservations aren’t necessary but are encouraged—especially since you don’t want to miss out on the cheese or chocolate pairings!
Must-try wine from Bartier Bros: Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre 2017