Wine production is one of the most important sources of income for the Okanagan Valley. Fra Osoyoos in south to Enderby in the north (250 km) there is almost continous vineyards, 131 licensed wineries all together. In addition the production of fruit like apples, peaches, cherries, apricot, plums etc is important.
The wine production has actually an interesting history. The first wine production was in the 1850s at Okanagan Mission and was only intended for sacramental use. When we lived in BC wwe could still buy Mission Hill wine in gallon bottles. It was not a good wine so we used it mainly as cooking wine.
During the prohibition period almost all wine production stopped and the vineyards were fallow. Most of the area was planted with other agricultural plants. The production was started again in the 1930s but it was based on fruit grapes not wine grapes. It was actually the NK’Mip band who started wine production of wine grapes in 1975. The planting of wine grapes like Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris increased and they got clones of roots from Germany. Then in 1980 the Free Trade Agreement started and the the Canadian market was opened for wine from USA. Then the Canadian Government started giving grants to growers who uprooted their old wine plants and replaced them with specialized sorts.
The climate, precipitation, temperature, hours of daylight etc varies from north to south so the wines are different for the experts. Eiswine is also a specialty.
Needless to say we visited a number of wineries and tasted a number of wines and some were better than others. During my stay we also had wine with a lot of meals and on the porch etc. My summary is simply that Okanagan wines are very good and worth a visit.