Updated: Aug 9
If I had to plan the best Kelowna Wine Tour knowing what I know now, this is what I would do:
Consider the geography:
Kelowna is spread out. One winery to another in Kelowna can be up to 49 km’s. That’s easily an hour in summer traffic. It’s best to plan your wine tasting day around one particular area, and reduce the amount of time spent in the vehicle commuting. Admittedly, it’s hard to choose between the 3 wine regions of Kelowna, and each has their own appeal and rewards. However, time is often against us all and should be a consideration. The 3 areas to consider are:
1. West Kelowna (18 wineries) 10 minutes from downtown
2. East Kelowna & Lakeshore (14 wineries) 15 minutes from downtown
3. Lake Country (7 wineries) - 25 minutes from downtown
Consider the quantity:
I don’t recommend visiting more than 5 in a day. Your taste buds can tire like any other muscle on your body. You just can’t tell the difference past a certain point, and I’ve tasted a lot of wine! (I’m not an olympic wine taster, but I think I’d at least hold my own in the minors.)
Consider the quality:
The price of wine tasting fees varies from one winery to another and you can expect the experience to vary accordingly. If you want a comfortable seated wine tasting where you can learn more about the winery and the wines you may need to pay more for an elevated experience ($25 to $40/tasting). If you want to see a volcanic wine cellar and behind the scenes of the wine making process you should expect to pay over $75/tasting. If you want to taste some highly awarded and rare wines from a library along with maybe a food pairing you should expect to pay hundreds of dollars per guest. These experiences are rare and not offered by many of the wineries. If you pay only $10 for a tasting you should temper your expectations to a standing tasting at a bar where your server may be serving more than one group at a time.
I highly recommend using one of the many great wine tour companies in Kelowna. For example, on a full day wine tour with Bare Wine Tours you will visit 5 wineries and this usually equates to about 20 - 25 tastings. The average tasting pour is 2 ounces, and a bottle of wine contains 24 ounces. So, if you do the math, you potentially drink about 2 bottles of wine! Granted, this is spread out over a whole day, but no one should be drinking and driving after that amount of wine.
Consider your stamina:
For sure, it’s not exactly work drinking and socializing with friends but it’s tiring and that volume of wine will even affect the biggest and baddest. Therefore, it’s important to maintain your stamina and enjoy snacks throughout the adventure. That’s why Bare Wine Tours ensures that guides offer complimentary snacks such as cheese, chocolate, chips, and bread throughout the day. Picking a good lunch stop along the way also ensures you recharge for the final stretch of wineries.
Consider what to wear:
I’m certainly no fashionista, but if it’s a rare occasion that you get together with your friends for a celebration, why not coordinate a theme of some sort so that the photos will stand the test of time. It doesn’t need to be outrageous, and if that’s the route you're taking, we would encourage you to let the wine tour company or wineries in on your plans. You wouldn’t want the disappointment and risk of getting turned away from certain wineries where a flamboyant theme may be banned. A good wine tour company will know the wineries that are accepting and those that aren’t. You can still be classy and have a theme also. A simple colour, or dress, or summer hat theme can also be fun and allows your group access to many more wonderful wineries.