There are more than 30 wineries within an hour drive from Kelowna and many are open year round for tours and tastings. Both reds and whites are produced as well as ice wine. Some wineries charge a small fee for the tours and others are free. You can ask about winery bus tours at the Tourist Office in Kelowna but it's much more enjoyable to do it on your own, at your own pace because many of the wineries are in picturesque settings that invite you to stay awhile and have lunch or a snack or just soak up the ambience. One of my favourite wineries is Gray Monk Estate Winery at 1055 Camp Road, Okanagan Centre, phone (250) 766 3168. It is one of the oldest wineries in the region and is situated atop a hill with sloped vineyards leading down to Lake O. There is a large deck that overlooks the Lake and it's a great place to linger with a glass of wine and a deli plate. Another winery that has been getting rave reviews is Quail's Gate Estate Winery at 3303 Boucherie Rd., Kelowna (250) 769 4451. Tastings are conducted in a quaint log cabin surrounded by park like grounds. Summerhill Estate Winery, 4870 Chute Lake Rd., Kelowna (250) 764 8000 actually has a replica of Egypt's Great Pyramid that they use to age their wines. Unlike Gray Monk and Quail's Gate, they produce only white and dessert wines (no reds).
During the Wine Festival in the fall, many Kelowna restaurants offer special meals that pair the region's wines with multiple course dinners for a set price. There are also lots of wine tasting events, parties and dances to celebrate the harvest. This is another very popular time and accommodations should be booked as far in advance as possible.