Okanagan Valley, Canada


Overall, I was impressed with the Canadian wine industry. We spent a day touring vineyards in the Okanagan wine region, one of the most important for Canadian wine production. The Okanagan Valley is located in the east of British Columbia, about 300 km from the Pacific Ocean. The valley is long and narrow and stretches from Kelowna in the north to Osoyoos in the south, with the Okanagan Lake running down the entire length. Temperatures can reach over 40 degrees in the summer and fall to well below zero in the winter. The valley lies in a rain shadow between the Coastal and Monashee mountain ranges. This results in very low annual average rainfall; the area in the south is the start of the Sonora desert. I was very surprised at how much Canadian wine is produced and consumed. Every restaurant we ate in seemed to have a long list of local wine, from Fork in the Road Syrah and Burrowing Owl Syrah to Quails’ Gate Gewurztraminer and Chardonnay. We visited this last vineyard and two others, and were left with the lasting impression that the Canadian wine industry is thriving and gaining popularity domestically. We will have to wait and see if they can successfully market their wines overseas.