Sometimes when living in the Okanagan, it is so easy to forget why we chose to live in this beautiful place. With the day-to-day routine it’s easy to get stuck in our ways and it can be hard to remember why we live in this city over anywhere else in the province… or even the country!
I have been recently struggling with an urge I needed something new. A new city to live in or new community to create. A potential fresh start, you know? I was starting to get this feeling of resentment towards Kelowna and I never thought I would feel that way. Maybe the reason was I felt down because the lake was taken from us so early on in the summer and now we’ve got forest fires blazing out of control. So when my friend asked if I wanted to go on a wine tour with her and her co-workers – my initial reaction was no… but then I kicked myself in the butt and reminded myself I LOVE supporting local and it would be good for me.
The company that took us on our trip was called Cheers Okanagan Tours. When the big white bus rolled up, a very friendly and charming young tour guide, that goes by the name of Reign, greeted us with a warm and entertaining welcome! He escorted us all on to the bus, got our phones set up for charging so we would be ready to take a bunch of photos, and gave us the rundown on everything we needed to know about wine tasting. I am not a wine expert and normally when I go on tastings I happily drink the wine and move on. However, Reign gave us a great lesson on how we can enjoy a wine tasting by just using a few easy and unique techniques.
The tour was a complete mystery to me but I was so impressed with every winery he took us to! We went over to the West Side and the unique boutique, organic, friendly discoveries that were made could not have been more perfect to help me realize why I love Kelowna so much!
The adventure started out at Ciao Bella Winery. When we walked in I fell in love with the italian atmosphere and the authentic labels on the bottles! They were wrapped with vintage photos of the family members and you could clearly tell that they were a family owned and operated vineyard full of passion for what they do. The wines were incredible and Reign was at the ready with some cheese to help with the tastings. After snooping around the property and learning about the history behind this beautiful location, Reign set up a light picnic outside for us to enjoy and fill our stomachs before we kept going.
We continued on to Kalala Organic Estate Winery. I had the pleasure of trying one of their white wines before and when Reign told me about the inspiration behind Kalala my heart was so full. I highly recommend this winery and asking hearing the story behind their label. I won’t ruin it for you but I love the power of animal symbolism and their use of it is beautiful! Kalala is well-renowned for their Chardonnay Ice wine and let me tell you – they honestly should be well known for everything they do. This company’s sole purpose is to make a commitment to have harmony with nature. Through their vineyard practices, they clearly value the importance of letting nature run its course and create the magically delicious wine on its own without the use of chemicals.
Our next stop came to Off The Grid Winery. I think this may have been one of my favourites! With goats, sheep, chickens, and rabbits PLUS local artisan work showcased everywhere in the tasting room … I was impressed! The energy at this winery was so laid back, fun, and relaxed. We got to drink wine, pet some farm animals, and enjoy a beautiful view of the Okanagan Lake before heading off to stop number 4!
When we arrived at Beaumont Family Estate winery we were welcomed with amazing energy, conversation, and laughter. It was a unique experience and I loved the vibes radiating from this boutique winery. With Elvis’ painting showcased on the wall and music playing in the background you could clearly tell that the winery was inspired by the musical stylings throughout history!
And finally our last stop was at Rollingdale. When we walked into the tasting room we were educated by a fine gentleman from South Africa, named Johnny. He was extremely educated about all of the wines and it was here at this winery that I felt like I was really learning something about our wine culture. The energy was great, the wine was on point, and we even got to enjoy some ice wine! We finished our wine tour with some dark chocolate and a beautiful shot of the Okanagan and then we went on our merry way.
I am so grateful that I got to go on this experience. The fact that we were taken to organic focused, animal loving, and passion driven wineries reminded me that this is what Kelowna is all about! How did Cheers Okanagan know that was exactly what I needed this weekend? I don’t know. Regardless, Reign was on his game. He answered all of my questions about the stories behind the businesses, he was readily available with snacks and water, and he was always there to lend a helping hand to get on and off the bus.
Thank you Cheers Okanagan! Locals and tourists of Kelowna, if you are ever looking for an amazing tour guide and a unique and authentic wine tour experience, I highly recommend you go check out Cheers Okanagan Tours. Head on over and give them a like on their Facebook and Instagram so you will be in the know about their next adventures. As a Kelowna resident, even when I have my doubts, I am constantly reminded grateful I am to be living in this amazing, vibrant, and passion driven city.
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