Kelowna is home to some of the best wineries in the Okanagan Valley and in British Columbia as a whole. Thanks to the diverse terrain surrounding Okanagan Lake country, the region is capable of growing a whole spectrum of grapes: from Pinot Noir to Chardonnay. Wineries in Kelowna produce amazing local wine for every palette!
The Okanagan Valley is the second-largest producer of Canadian wines, second only to Ontario’s Niagara region. Okanagan wine country is at a similar latitude to Champagne in France and actually gets more sun than vineyards in California. The area basks in warm days, cool nights, and low rainfall. These conditions maintain the natural acidity of the grape, creating rich reds and fresh, crisp whites.
Kelowna vineyards are some of the oldest in BC and have been producing world-class wines since 1932. The main varietals are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Riesling. Many of the best Kelowna wineries offer wine tastings, wine tours, and unique dining experiences in the rolling vineyards.
We did some extensive research before our trip to Kelowna and made sure to visit as many of the wineries as we could! If you’re planning a trip to the Okanagan Valley, follow in our footsteps and add these 10 top wineries in Kelowna to your list!
Best Wineries to Visit in Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley
Best Wineries in Kelowna for Red Wine
Run by New Zealand-born winemaker, Shane Munn, Martin’s Lane Winery focuses on only two varietals: pinot noir and riesling. Munn takes an analytical, detail-oriented approach to create small-batch wines grown from organic grapes. The grapes come from four different single vineyards surrounding Lake Okanagan, each with distinct soil and terrain.
The winery was established in 2016 and is owned by Anthony von Mandl of Mission Hill Family Estate Winery. What’s most striking is the architecture that highlights the winery’s 100% gravity-flow winemaking process. It uses the slope of the hilltop to minimize the external influence on the grapes. Martin’s Lane currently offers exclusive wine tours for CAD $100 per person, ending with a flight of pinot noir and resiling.
Must-try wine from Martin’s Lane: Simes Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015
Sandhill is one of the best wineries in Kelowna for single-vineyard wines. The winery uses six distinct Okanagan vineyards. Each vineyard has its own unique soil, slope, sun, and drainage, creating one-of-a-kind grapes. The winemaker’s commitment at Sandhill is to minimize interference and celebrate the natural flavours of the grapes. This creates high-quality reds and whites like syrah, cabernet franc, pinot gris, and chardonnay.
The winery at Sandhill has deep roots in Kelowna, dating all the way back to the 1930s. Sandhill is owned by Andrew Peller Ltd. and has received countless awards for being one of the best wineries in BC. Some of their best wines are part of their Small Lots Program, which is all about unique small-batch bottles that are completely handcrafted.
Visit Sandhill’s tasting room in downtown Kelowna at the historic Calona Winery. Tasting fees are CAD $10 per person for white label wines and CAD $35 per person for Small Lots.
Must-try wine from Sandhill Winery Kelowna: Small Lots Sangiovese 2016
From the Latin term for “out of nothing,” Ex Nihilo began in 2004 on the sloping shores of the Okanagan Valley. Husband and wife team Decoa and Jeff Harder focus on creating a sense of place through their sustainably grown wines. Ex Nihilo offers a range of reds and whites with an emphasis on pinot noir, merlot, and malbec.
You can visit the winery in northern Kelowna’s Lake Country for a wine tasting and tour. The signature tasting samples 4 wines for CAD $10 per person or for CAD $25 per person, you can join the Memor Vivo Tasting. Wine lovers will sample 6 beautiful wines from their top series. Bookings can be made ahead and be sure to add a charcuterie board for some excellent wine pairings.
Must-try wine from Ex Nihilo: Privata Red 2018
Quails’ Gate Winery
Quails’ Gate is a family-run winery, located on the sun-soaked volcanic hills of Okanagan Lake, regarded by many as the best winery in Kelowna. The winery, run by the Stewart family, has been producing award-winning wines for over 30 years. Their portfolio showcases Kelowna wine in all its glory with sustainably-focused syrah, pinot noir, and chardonnay. Quails Gate is also part of the Westside Wine Trail, a group of some of the best Okanagan wineries in West Kelowna.
The property is well worth a visit for stunning lake views and a range of tasting options. Tasting hours are 11 AM – 6 PM, which you can follow with a meal at the on-site Old Vines Restaurant. The food is crafted from local ingredients that pair perfectly with great wine. The winery gets quite busy in peak season so it’s best to plan ahead to avoid disappointment. Tastings can be booked here, ranging from CAD $10-25. Note that purchasing a bottle will waive $10 in tasting fees.
Must-try wine from Quails’ Gate Winery Kelowna: The Connemara 2015
Best Wineries in Kelowna for White Wine
Gray Monk Estate Winery
Established in 1972, Gray Monk Estate has long been known as one of the pioneers of the British Columbia wine industry. Austrian-born George Heiss and his wife Trudy set out to produce their own wines by importing the first pinot gris grapes into Canada. In fact, the name “Gray Monk” is a translation of the Austrian word for the Pinot Gris vine. They also helped establish the estate winery system, which revolutionized BC wineries.
Now, Gray Monk crafts an impressive roster of wine from cabernet sauvignon to sparkling rosé and of course, pinot gris. You can visit the winery for some of the best Kelowna wine tours. Tastings are CAD $5-30 depending on the experience and can be booked here, or you can pop in for a walk-in tasting.
Must-try wine from Gray Monk Estate Winery: Odyssey Block 8 Pinot Gris
Arrowleaf is a family-owned winery, located in beautiful Lake Country, boasting fantastic aromatic whites and cool-climate reds. Winemaker Manuel Zuppiger takes a terroir-driven approach to showcase the best quality local grapes that thrive in the region. The winery opened its doors in 2003 and has won countless awards since.
The grounds at Arrowleaf are expectedly spectacular, with panoramic vineyards and lake views. Visit the tasting room to sample four wines for CAD $5 per person. It’s a great way to decide which bottle to buy. And if you do, the winery waives the tasting fee. There’s also a lovely picnic area where you can bring your own snacks or purchase local bites. Plus, it’s one of few dog-friendly wineries in Kelowna as leashed pups are welcome outside.
Must-try wine from Arrowleaf: Bacchus 2020
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Originally called Pioneer Vineyards, Tantalus’s vineyards have graced the hills of Okanagan Valley since 1927. Fast forward to 2004, Proprietor Eric Savics transformed the vineyard into one of the best East Kelowna wineries around.
Tantalus is home to the first LEED-certified winery in British Columbia. They focus primarily on just three grapes: Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay.
Their emphasis on sustainability shows through their wines and vineyards, with a bee apiary and push for biodiversity. Tantalus’ tasting room is open seasonally during the summer from 11 AM – 6 PM. A wine tasting at Tantalus consists of four wines and costs CAD $4, although that fee is waived with the purchase of a bottle.
Must-try wine from Tantalus Vineyards: Riesling Icewine
Sperling Vineyards is part of Kelowna’s scenic Lakeshore Wine Route. The vineyard is fostering a small family-run winery that spans four generations. Sperling produces Certified Organic wines like Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Rosé.
Sperling hosts one of the most unique vineyards in Kelowna, with a labyrinth of Vidal vines. Visitors can walk among the winding rows on a wine tasting and pack a picnic to enjoy outside. Tastings can be booked here and run from April-December.
Must-try wine from Sperling Vineyards: Riesling Late Harvest 2015
Summerhill Pyramid Winery
Summerhill Pyramid is only one of the best wineries near Kelowna, it is the most visited winery in Canada. The winery is known for its iconic pyramid cellar that was modelled after the Great Pyramid of Egypt. After years of experiments, wine tasters found that bottles aged for 30-90 days in the Pyramid were smoother and more aromatic. The effects of sacred geometry is central to Summerhill’s process and ethos.
Summerhill Kelowna also thrives on biodiversity and organic farming and is a certified B Corp. The winery was purchased by the Cipes family in 1986, shifting its focus on organic winemaking to celebrate Okanagan terroir. Now, Summerhill offers tastings, outdoor picnics, and dining at the Organic Bistro. Tastings are year-round, complementary and don’t require a reservation.
Must-try wine from Summerhill Pyramid Winery Kelowna: Pinot Blanc Icewine 2017
A shift from other top Okanagan wineries, Kitsch embodies a fun, fresh approach to the best BC wines. Kelowna-born duo Trent & Ria Kitsch founded Kitsch Wines in 2010 in East Kelowna. The goal was to create sustainably-grown wines that work just as well for special occasions as they do for everyday enjoyment.
Kitsch offers delicious chardonnay and riesling, along with a selection of easy-drinking rosé and pinot noir. Venture into their colourful garage for a wine tasting with lively music and local artwork. The tasting room is open from April to October and reservations are encouraged.
Must-try wine from Kitsch Wines: 5 Barrel Pinot Noir 2017
What’s your favourite Kelowna winery to visit for a tour or tasting?
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