Less of a hidden gem, but the Naramata Bench and Penticton wine region has many secrets to uncover. Ideal for those who seek boutique family-owned wineries and farm-to-table culinary experiences alike. With its stunning landscapes, award-winning wineries, and a “must eat” dining option, this “it girl” is trending.
Here are five unique experiences to try:
- Howling Bluff’s Fortified Wines: Explore Howling Bluff Estate Winery by Luke & Jennifer Smith. This family-owned winery is one of the few offering fortified wines, which started as an experiment from their son. Now, along with their Pinot Noirs, it’s one of the pride and joys at the winery.
- Tightrope’s 2022 Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon Blend: Tightrope Winery, founded by Graham and Lyndsay O’Rourke, is the first certified member of Sustainable Winegrowing BC. They offer a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon blend that sings grapefruit, nectarine, lime and pineapple. It’s one you can drink alone or enjoy with food. I trust a lot of what they produce.
- Deep Root’s Gamay 2022: This 4th generation family-owned and operated winery is WineAlign’s 2023 Best Performing Small Winery of the Year. The Sauvignon Blanc and Reserve Chardonnay are popular choices and they offer many wines. Buy a bottle, take it upstairs and enjoy the picturesque views of the Hardman family vineyards.
- Poplar Grove’s Tasting Room: Visit Poplar Grove Winery’s welcoming tasting room to sample their award-winning wines. Their Bordeaux-style reds and elegant Chardonnays are highlights.
- The Restaurant at Poplar Grove’s Holler Honey Buns: Did you really go to the Naramata if you didn’t visit Poplar Grove? This family-owned winery is a respected and beloved beast. The tasting room which also has the restaurant by executive chef Stacy Johnson, is a beauty and the food is delicious at any “city standard”. Don’t miss the “Holler Honey Buns”. The Pinot Gris is amazing, and the new Sparkling Extra Brut is a treat. One of the premium wineries in the area offering a full culinary experience.
You can easily spend a few days or more exploring these back-to-back wineries, all with distinct offerings, and you still won’t have tried them all. With sun-soaked slopes, mineral-rich soils, and cool lake breezes, the lake also acts as a buffer against extreme temperatures creating an ideal terroir for grape cultivation. There are over 40 wineries here, many family-owned and operated. Download the Wines of BC Explorer App to help build your itinerary.
**There are around 40+ wineries in the Naramata Bench/Penticton region, and these recommendations are based on the select wineries visited on this occasion.
By Mijune Pak – Born and raised in Vancouver, BC, Mijune [mē-june (like the month she was born in)] started her food and travel blog, FollowMeFoodie.com, in July 2009. Her hobby quickly turned into a full on career. It led her to her own “Follow Me Foodie” column in the WE Vancouver newspaper, regular segments on Global Morning News, CTV Morning Live and other media outlets. She has also served on the BC Chef’s Association’s Board of Directors. After establishing a credible reputation in Canada, Mijune’s expertise as a culinary adventurer has gained recognition on a global scale