Just a short hour drive away from Kelowna, and only a 5-10 minute drive from Penticton, Naramata sits hidden with acres of green vineyards cascading off of clay cliffs into Lake Okanagan.
In the heart Naramara is the historic Naramata Heritage Inn & Spa. Built in 1908, some say it's haunted with its history of being a school and the first cultural hub upon Lake Okanagan.
Today it functions as an ideal getaway with nearby beaches, over 100 wineries and the variety of adventure activities nearby. I always make time to stop in during my wine tasting trips to sit in the sun with a glass of local wine and a variety of local cheese and charcuterie selections.
This is foodie stop one shouldn't miss while visiting the area if not staying with the hotel. Take a tour through the chefs garden, tour the quirky town of artists and vintners, or enjoy the cycling, zip lines, hikes, fishing and water sports all within the Central and Southern Okanagan.
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Why the Okanagan Wine Region Rivals Tuscany and Napa
In the Okanagan valley there are about 140 wineries and that number is growing every year. A range of grapes are grown here including the finicky Pino Noir.
But it is a bold statement to say that this relatively new wine region (in comparison to Tuscany at least) is already exceeding the experience offered by the classic Tuscan wine region or its American counterpart (the Okanagan is considered the Napa of the North).
Let me explain myself. The Okanagan and particularly the area of Naramata, offers wineries that are all in close proximity together which creates an easy experience for travellers trying to find and taste wine during a one day stay. In Tuscany the wineries are much further apart making it difficult to get more than 2-3 wineries in on one day.
It rivals Napa because of the ideal placement of Lake Okanagan. Odds are that your hotel will not only have views of the vineyard but it will be on or have a view of the lake. The closest city is only 10 minutes away while San Francisco is a far 60 minutes away not including traffic. Restaurants are also no issue with the Okanagan being a leader in farm to table gourmet restaurants without the Napa price.
The Okanagan is located on the northern tip of the Great Basin desert which means mild winters and hot summers allowing for ideal conditions at the wineries from spring to the end of fall with wine and art festivals occurring in all four seasons.