Updated: Aug 25
How to choose the best Kelowna wine tour company to ensure your group has an awesome fun day? This isn’t as simple as one might think. You google Kelowna wine tours and you get over 2 million results! It sure can be overwhelming! Let’s start at the top.
The first 3 results on google are usually paid for Google adverts that rotate throughout the day based on a businesses advertising budget. Then you have the biggest companies that can afford to spend lots of money to have various articles published about them so they rank higher on Google's proprietary SEO. Trip Advisor, and Tourism Kelowna for example. Then you have the top 5 wine tour companies in the area. This is where we always aim to be by providing excellent service that you feel compelled to shout about on social media, and through customer reviews on Tripadvisor and Google. Since 2017 we've toured several thousand guests every year throughout
the Okanagan, and experience counts in the hospitality business.
Awards & Reviews
Tripadvisor, Google, Facebook and Yelp all have highly sophisticated security and fraud prevention in place to prevent fake reviews and are a good way to determine in advance if your wine tour company delivers a great service and experience. A tip is to read the bad reviews first and see if any are recent and relevant. Also, ensure your company of choice has many good recent reviews (within the last 12 months). The Trip Advisor traveller’s choice award is given to the top 10% of companies with recent great reviews each year. Bare Wine Tours has received the travellers choice award every year from 2017-2023.
Value vs Cheap
One thing to be cautious of is simply choosing a company that offers the cheapest price. Not all wine tours are the same. Often you get what you pay for. Cheaper tours with some companies will likely mean less wine tastings or venues visited. It may also be a very rushed experience. Not many, if any wineries offer cheap or free tastings nowadays, but you can bet if you're on the cheapest tour you could find, then the wine tour company is going to the cheapest or free places only.
Licensed and insured
Always make sure your chosen wine tour company is licensed appropriately with the Passenger Transport Authority in British Columbia. This ensures the vehicle you are in has been mechanically inspected and passed every 6 months. All their vehicles will have a PT# on them. If not, then they likely aren’t insured appropriately to carry guests. Therefore, if you ever got in an accident and were injured you wouldn’t be covered.
Selection of wineries
This is your special day in the Okanagan visiting the wineries. You want to ensure you see the very best selection within the time you have. A good wine tour guide and company will recommend their favourite places based on recent experience. This is so valuable! Also, they can customize based on your preferences and occasion e.g. bachelorette.
Number of wineries
Usually, if you are doing a half day without a lunch or dinner stop you get to visit 4 wineries. If you are doing a full-day with lunch then you will visit 5 wineries. Some wine tour companies are cutting these numbers down to 3 and 4 respectively due to the increase in tasting fees. Be sure to know what your chosen tour offers before booking with your wine tour company of choice. Always compare apples to apples when shopping around.
If your wine tour company is modern and current they will care about their social media presence. Ensure you check out their instagram and facebook pages to get a feel for the vibes of the company. It’s usually a red flag of a lacklustre company if they have a mashed up bunch of themes, stock images and content. Shortlist those that have recent footage and photos of people on wine tours having fun.
The best guides
At Bare Wine Tours we hire after asking ourselves the simple question of would we want to spend the day with this person? A wine tour guide can be just a driver, grumpy and maybe even rude. However, if you want an exceptional day in the Okanagan you will want a guide who loves their job and is excited to show you the best places in the area. They are socially aware of when to give you space, when you want to learn, and when you need great service or help. By the end of the day you should want their number to stay in touch and request them the next time you’re on a wine tour in Kelowna.
There are all types of vehicles!. Ensure you choose a company with modern vehicles appropriate for your group size. All our vehicles are pristinely cleaned daily, are climate controlled, have spotify for your music selection, and are very comfortable. They have lots of space for your group and your wine. Remember they should have a PT# and a recent commercial inspection sticker in the window to show they are mechanically sound and insured.
This is ultimately what you are paying for, and it should not be underestimated. If you send an email inquiry and you don’t get a response within 2-3 business hours, you have to question whether they care right off the hop. When you ask questions, are they friendly, and do they answer them accordingly? If not, it’s unlikely that your guide on the day will be any better!