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Is Okanagan Valley Comparable to Napa Valley?

…And Other Questions on the Wine Region Answered

Winemaking began in the Okanagan Valley in the late 1850s, when Father Pandosy decided to make sacramental wines. From these modest beginnings grew Canada’s second-largest wine region. While prohibition in the early 20th century and other setbacks took their toll, the Okanagan Valley is now more prolific than ever, boasting over 200 vineyards.

Today, Vancouver residents enjoy visiting the Okanagan Valley as a getaway for wine and watersports in the summer and skiing in the winter. The trip takes around four hours for Vancouverites. Meanwhile, those who want to enjoy the area full-time will find a robust market for luxury properties.

Whether you want to settle down in the Okanagan Valley or just visit, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions.

Is Okanagan Valley Comparable to Napa Valley?

The wine region compares very favourably to Napa Valley. During the growing season, grapes in this area receive around two hours more sunlight than those in California’s Napa Valley. This gives grapes in the Okanagan Valley an advantage in the maturation process.

Beyond the purely technical, outlets like The Guardian appreciate the Okanagan Valley’s unique diversity of wines. They also admire the farm-to-plate food many local wineries offer and the area’s general ambiance. “There’s an individuality to the Okanagan that’s not found in Napa, or even Sonoma,” writes Fiona Beckett for the publication.

The Okanagan Valley does not have the same international name recognition as Napa Valley. Still, even this works in favour of Vancouverites. When they plan their summer trips through the Okanagan Valley, they face less competition for hotel rooms and wine tours than Californians visiting Napa Valley.

Meanwhile, the keen homebuyer looking to acquire a residential property or operate a bed and breakfast will also find costs much more manageable than Napa.

What Is the Best Okanagan Wine?

Personal taste will dictate your favourite wine from the Okanagan Valley. The 2,900 square kilometer region offers a surprising diversity. For example, Canada’s only living desert means that vineyards near the town of Osoyoos can produce some of the finest red wines. Meanwhile, facilities near the lakefront community of Naramata are particularly well regarded for their white wines.

Those looking to trace the region’s past can visit Calona Vineyards. This is the area’s oldest operating winery, dating back to 1932, less than a dozen years after prohibition. Then, head south to discover one of the area’s most photogenic wineries, Summerhill Pyramid. Beyond offering a wide selection of organic wines and a well-regarded bistro, Summerhill also stores its wines in a facility designed after the Great Pyramid of Giza. Located along the Similkameen river is the Seven Stones Estate Winery, well-known for its full-bodied red wines, a spectacular view and its mysterious caves where the wine is aged to perfection.

Are Luxury Properties Available in Okanagan Valley?

The towns within the Okanagan Valley offer a wide variety of luxury properties. Residents also enjoy a vast array of recreational activities, boosting their quality of life. Starting at the southern edge of this region, nearly entering the United States, is Osoyoos. Retirees particularly enjoy this area because of its warm weather. In terms of properties, single-family homes along Osoyoos Lake, bungalows, condos, and more are on offer.

While there are more than enough wineries in Osoyoos to keep someone busy, it is the nearby town of Oliver that boasts the title of “Wine Capital of Canada.” The valley just south of Oliver produces the highly-regarded Golden Mile Bench wines. Between tastings, Oliver residents can enjoy a round of golf at the Nk’Mip Canyon Desert Golf Course. Single-family homes and condos known for their relative affordability are available in this area.

At the southern tip of the Okanagan Lake, Penticton offers stately waterfront properties. The area also has plenty of condos and ranch-style homes for those looking for something smaller. Meanwhile, farther up the lake in the community of Naramata, homebuyers will find palatial estates with stunning lake views.

In Conclusion

Vancouverites are just a car ride (or a short flight) away from Canada’s second-largest wine region. With endless varieties from over 200 vineyards, the Okanagan Valley rivals more well-known wine regions like Napa Valley. Plus, the area boasts plenty of high-end dining and recreational activities. It is little wonder, then, why many choose to invest in luxury properties here. Learn more about the various communities and towns of the Okanagan Valley with faithwilson’s neighbourhood profiles.