Self guided wine tour – Naramata
Did you know that BC has a semi-arid desert region, the Okanagan Valley that is famous for its vineyards and tasty wine? We have visited a few times now, but when our friends invited us to join them for a wine tour, we were very happy to go again! However I had a cold during the week we were meant to go, so (to be safe) I went for a covid-19 test. Of course, the results took longer than expected…so we didn’t leave on Friday night as planned. We woke up early the next morning to find out I was negative (woot woot) so drove over late to join our friends and attempt to join the tour late.
By the time we’d made it to Naramata, we’d missed more than half our tour, so Marc and I made up our own self-guided wine tour on foot. This turned out to be a great way to explore the area, so I thought I should share it.
Self guided wine tour map
This is the basic route we took. We did this with no planning (I called the various wineries as we walked towards them.) We doubled back a bit as we couldn’t get appointments in the right order, so our actual route was about 10km.
Most of the wineries had a small fee ($10) for their wine tastings, that was waived if you bought a bottle. We carried some of the wine away with us, and left some at the wineries to pick them up the following morning.
The Naramata Bench area is on the East side of Okanagan Lake, between Penticton Creek and Okanagan Mountain Park. It’s a small region but covered in vineyards. There are over 50 wineries (BC wines website says 52) within about a 20 minute drive. We loved all the wines we’d tried in this region previously…so we just started walking towards wine.
Location: 2493 Gammon Road, Naramata, BC, Canada V0H 1N1
The first stop was Lang Vineyards. This beautiful winery has been here for over 30 years, so the vines are a little more mature. Our tasting started slightly late, so we were brought some bubbles to sip while we waited for the previous group to finish. It was a great start.
We really liked their Gewurztraminer (which was dry, rather than too sweet), and their Merlot which they brew in stainless steel, so it has a pure flavour. Marc also really loved their Riesling ice wine. In the end we bought 4 bottles – Gewurztraminer, Riesling (ice wine), Merlot and Marechal Foch. They mentioned that they have the oldest foch grapes in the Okanagan. They’re old fochs. 😉
One of the highlights of visiting Lang’s is the view. We visited on a bit of a moody day, but Okanagan Lake was sparkling below us and it was simply beautiful. From here, the next vineyard was only 15 minutes walk away.
Location: 1202 Gawne Road, Naramata, British Columbia, Canada
Mocojo’s tastings take about 30 minutes. It’s best to reserve in advance, but they do take walk-ins too. This winery opened in 2014, so it is new-ish, but has some lovely wines. Due to covid-19, they were organizing their tastings outside.
Oh! I should also mention Mocojo has a super friendly, giant dog called Moose who greets everyone who visits to taste wine. We needed to walk down the hill to the next vineyard, another 15 minutes walk.
Location: 1016 Littlejohn Road, Naramata, BC V0H 1N0
This is a teeny winery with another friendly dog sitting outside. We arrived at the same time as another couple, so they allowed us to all have a tasting together. It would be better to call ahead and book if you can.
Marichel is a lovely, artisanal winery that only grows two kinds of grapes, viognier and syrah. But, they take so much care in growing their grapes that the wine they produce is fantastic. We ended up buying Lone Wolf Syrah Estate and Estate Viognier.
Next was the least pleasant part of our walk. The last time we visited, our favourite winery was Joie. It was only about 20 minutes walk away, so we wandered along Naramata Road to reach it. The problem is, there are no sidewalks on this winding road, and plenty of cars. Still, the views continued to be gorgeous.
Joie Farm Winery
Location: 2825 Naramata Rd, Naramata, BC V0H 1N1
This last one was a bit of a cheat. We didn’t stop for a full tasting, as we had visited before (last time we liked every single wine we tried here!) It’s a friendly, fun winery to visit.
We popped in to buy some of their Noble Blend, along with some Gamay. They have a pleasant garden so I do recommend adding Joie farm to your list around Naramata Bench.
So it turns out it is VERY easy to organize your own self guided walking wine tour of the Naramata Bench! If you decide to do something similar, you wouldn’t have to choose the same wineries. There are so many options, you can go for a walk close to wherever you are staying. You don’t need to pay for a fancy wine tour to experience the wines of Naramata.
Do you like the idea of exploring the Naramata Bench area on foot to try wines with mini hikes to sober you up in between? Or would you prefer to have everything organized for you on a tour? I’d love to know what you think!
40 thoughts on “Self guided wine tour – Naramata”
I love winery and wineyards tours! I love to taste the fresh grapes from the plant, they are so juicy and tasty! This one looks amazing. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Francesca! That’s a point, we’ve never tried the various grapes from the vines – just the wines. We should ask to try grapes next time too. 🙂
Sorry you had to miss so much of the tour, but it sounds like you guys made up for it and had a great time! Nice work planning your own tour!
Heh yeah! We totally made the most of it. Plus…we had paid for that tour, so we need to go back for the official tour at some point too. 😉
Love exploring new wineries. Great list.
Thanks! It’s always fun isn’t it!?
I’ve never done a wine tour. But it seems very interesting, especially after reading your blog. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for reading Elena.
This is great! I can taste the grapes from those pictures. I just love a good winery.
Thanks KW! 🙂
Looks like a great place for a self-guided wine tour.
Thanks Shelly! Yeah it worked out well in the end.
Sorry to hear that you missed the first part of the tour, but it sounds like you made up for it with your own self-guided tour. Looks like you had a fabulous time testing out many of the different wines and wineries. Cheers.
Thaank you! I’m glad you liked it! I guess you must have visited the wineries on your side of Canada? We had so much fun near Niagara for wine tours too!
We’ve been to Niagara a few times for some wine tastings. It’s crazy how many wineries there are there. There’s also some good wineries (and provincial parks) in Prince Edward County.
Your pictures are GORGEOUS!!
Susie!! How are you doing lovely!? Thank you! It’s easy to take nice photos when the scenery is so lovely.
I LOVE me a good winery! Joie Farm Winery looks and sounds like it may be my fave! Definitely hope to check some of these spots out sometime.
Joie is soooo nice! Last time we went they had a pizza oven in their garden too. (although I heard the pizza-folks opened their own restaurant, so they may not have that now.)
I had never heard of namarata but now I really want to go. I like the idea of a self guided tour
The whole Okanagan area is great for wine, but Naramata is good for both the climate and the sheer quantity of vineyards in one small area…
I don’t drink wine, but I would happily be munching grapes the whole way!! In fact, we have wine making grapes back home in Spain and they are the best!
I’ve done quite a few wine tours before, but I haven’t done a self-guided one. It looks like a lot of fun!
I LOVE the Okanagan Valley, but haven’t been to all of these (we were only in the area for 2 nights and it wasn’t enough! I love Gewürztraminer, so I would head straight to Lang – the view is great too!
It’s a great area isn’t it! Do you have posts about it too? We keep going back, so maybe I can try the wineries you visited next time!!
What a fun idea! I love that you can walk between the wineries and go at your own pace. I think Marichel may be my favorite – those views!
Those views and the cute dog – it’s the best kind of winery! 😉
Oh wow! I dont know how you managed to make it between the tours after doing one tasting without falling down a bit haha. Definitely something worth trying!
Lol I think the walks between tastings may have helped sober us up. But They don’t give you massive glasses any any of the wineries (just teeny tasters) so we weren’t *too* tipsy.
Wine tasting, endless vineyards and relaxing weekends… where can I sign in? I mean it looks incredible and definitely something I would love to do. Thanks for sharing!
I like planning DIY tours. It’s so easy with wineries usually too. It was fun to read about all your different experiences. I never knew that area had so many wineries. It’s a beautiful area.
Oh, yes the last time I was in Canada with a friend he left us in Banff to head to this place. I was so shocked to hear that you guys grow wine in Canada (pardon my ignorance). I just thought the climate would be too cold but clearly I was wrong. And it looks gorgeous too, I’d love to go here someday.
It’s so cool that they’re close enough together to be able to walk between them. It looks like a very beautiful area, and I didn’t know Canada produced wine. It sounds like a perfect weekend trip.
Yeah I don’t think Canada exports a huge amount of wine…they sell it locally (but the prices tend to be higher than comparable European or American wines,) so I guess that is why the wineries are not well known outside of Canada.
I had no idea that they had wineries in this region. Even cooler that you can walk between them. Another reason to visit this area that I have yet to explore.
Thanks Jamie! There is some pretty fantastic food (both restaurants and produce) in the area too. I have a feeling you would love it.
We enjoyed visiting many of the wineries in the Okanagan on our last BC visit. But I like the idea of doing a walking wine tour in Naramata. I am sure my sweet wine loving hubby would be drawn to buy a few bottle of the sweet ice wine to add to his collection. Thanks for adding some new winery selections for our next visit to the Okanagan. We would have to think about whether we wanted a guided tour or wanted to wander on our own.
Thanks Linda! We should swap notes! Which wineries did you like best (and do you have posts about them?) Maybe I can visit your favourites next time!?
Love your photos! The ones of the grapes are so good almost like I can reach out and touch them! Love this. Also good to learn about new good wineries – great article!
Thanks Polly! I am so glad you like the sound of it too. It’s such a fab area.