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Thinking about joining a wine tour in Kelowna, BC? Well, this blog will let you know a few important things to ensure you book the right tour and have the best time possible! Here’s everything you need to know about Kelowna wine tours!
Going on a wine tour is undoubtedly one of the most popular things to do in Kelowna. The region is perfect for growing a variety of different grapes, and thus there are a variety of wineries and vineyards to visit!
Wine tours are the perfect way to check out many wineries all in one day because not only do you get a designated driver (so you can drink ALL the wine your heart desires) but you also get the local knowledge of a guide – it’s a win-win!
But not all wine tours are created equal, and to be honest, there are a few things you should know about going on a wine tour in Kelowna before you book.
So, based on my own experience on wines tours all over the world (I make a point to do them wherever possible) and my experience on a wine tour in Kelowna, here are all the things you need to know before you go on a Kelowna wine tour!
What you can Expect from a Wine Tour in Kelowna
On most Kelowna wine tours you can expect a fairly similar experience. You’ll get a guide and a driver (who is often also the guide) that will take you and others around to different vineyards to learn about wine, how it’s made, and sample some wine (and by sample, I really mean drink as much as your heart desires!)
Most full-day tours visit 4-6 different wineries and at each stop you’ll try 3+ samples of different wine. You’ll also get the chance to purchase as many bottles of wine as you’d like to bring back with you after the tour. Some wineries will also ship cases straight back home for you (so if you’re traveling you don’t to pack the bottles in your suitcase!)
Wine tours in Kelowna will typically pick you up in the late morning and go for a few hours before dropping you back off at your hotel before dinner time. Most tours also include a stop for lunch at a vineyard restaurant.
Kelowna wine tours are great for wine lovers as you get a chance to try lots of wine, but they’re also perfect for those who enjoy checking out the scenery. Some of the wineries in and around Kelowna are located in the picturesque locations and the views are nothing short of breathtaking.
Typically, your guide will be very knowledgable about both wine and the area. You’ll leave the tour with a whole new understanding of wine made in the region, as well as some local tips for other things to do, places to visit, and other suggestions from your guide about enjoying Kelowna!
Common Questions about Wine Tours in Kelowna
If you’ve never been a on wine tour before, or even specifically a wine tour in Kelowna, you might have a few questions before booking. I mean, they aren’t necessarily “cheap” tours and you should have an idea of what you’re getting yourself into beforehand.
So, here are some common questions visitors generally have about Kelowna wine tours!
How much wine do you actually try?
This all depends on you and the tour company you choose.
For me, I like to try it all! I never make use of the spittoon (which is a fancy word for the bucket some people spit their wine into after trying it.) I live by the rule if someone offers it, I try it – so I tried A LOT of wine on the wine tour I went on in Kelowna.
Some companies also visit more wineries than others and some also give you more tastings than others. I have been on wine tours in places around the world where you get three small sips at each winery – but the wine tour I went on in Kelowna wasn’t like this at all!
Beach Bum Tours was my company of choice (I’ll let you know a little bit more about them below) and there were a lot of wine tastings going on. We visited 5 different wineries and tried between 5-9 samples (large samples at that) at each stop.
Which brings me to the question…
Am I going to get drunk on the tour?
If you want to, YES! But like I said, if you want to skip a few tastings or make use of the spittoon then you won’t get drunk.
But, if you choose a generous tour company and want to try all of the wine on offer, then you’ll likely be feeling pretty good by the end of the day.
Most tours also make a stop for lunch where you can have a meal and try to soak up some of that alcohol. Or you can order a glass of wine and keep your buzz going.
The truth is, it’s your tour – make of it what you will!
Is it only about drinking wine?
No! I mean, obviously, a wine tour is going to be a lot about the wine. And let’s be honest, you’re going to drink a lot of it. But it’s more than that!
In my experience, a good wine tour is also about the area. Your guide will tell you about places of interest as you drive by, you’ll learn about the region, and even get some great ideas of things to do and places to see for the rest of your trip!
You’ll also get to visit some very scenic wineries and vineyards and in Kelowna specifically, you’ll be able to take some gorgeous photographs to remember the day forever (in case you drink too much and it gets a little foggy!)
But in all honesty, a wine tour is a great way to explore Kelowna and the region that’s made it so famous. You’ll leave feeling like you had a proper tour and will have learned about more than just wine.
Related Read: Kelowna isn’t just known for wine, but beer too! Read all about the amazing craft breweries in Kelowna on our blog!
3 Reasons to do a Wine Tour in Kelowna
Kelowna is world-famous for wine. Sure, you could just drive around to cellar doors and sample wines that way – but that just isn’t as fun. Oh, and not to mention, good tour operators get much bigger tastings!
Here are a few specific reasons a wine tour in Kelowna is better than just driving yourself around to various vineyards:
1. You’ll visit the BEST wineries
A wine tour provides local knowledge and insight into all of the best places to go. There are over 40 different wineries around Kelowna, if that isn’t overwhelming then I don’t know what is!
A local guide will narrow it down to the best places to go for your group based on what you’re into and what type of wine you like. On our tour, we skipped lots of the overly touristic places and went to some wineries a little off-the-beaten-path that most tourists don’t ever hear or know about!
2. Tours come with a designated driver
Drinking and driving in Canada in a big no, no! You can get in a lot of trouble including losing your license. So, if you’re going to be sampling wine then you’ll need one of your friends to be the designated driver, and not drink.
That is unless you go on a tour where your guide is your driver. This way, you and all of your friends can drink as much (or as little) as you want without worrying about who is going to drive!
3. There’s no stress or planning
Let’s be honest, you’re on holidays and the last thing you want to be doing is planning a wine tour. When you go on a wine tour in Kelowna, all you need to do is book the tour and be ready to go at the pick-up time. The rest is sorted out by your tour company and guide.
Related read: Check out the best things to do in Salmon Arm, BC!
Choosing the Wine Best Tour in Kelowna
There are many different companies to choose from that offer wine tours in and around Kelowna and the Okanagan in general. Choosing a tour operator and a specific tour can be confusing, especially with the numerous tours to choose from.
I’ve broken Kelowna wine tours into 4 different categories each with my recommended tour. This way, you can easily choose which category best suits you and select a wine tour from there!
1. Full-Day Wine Tours
Full-day Kelowna wine tours typically last around 6 hours and visit more than 5 different wineries. They are best suited to wine lovers who are happy to drink lots and spend the majority of a day sipping wine and touring wineries!
Do expect to pay more for a full-day wine tour though, and also budget for buying lunch if it’s not included in your tour already.
The tour we did in Kelowna: We went on a full-day tour with Beach Bum Tours and had an absolute blast! We visited 6 wineries, and most of them were smaller, unique wineries that we had never heard of before! We drank tons of wine and had lots of laughs with our super friendly and knowledgable guide.
We can highly recommend Beach Bum Tours, and if you’re wanting to book that same tour as us, you can do so directly on their website!
2. Half-Day Wine Tours
Half-day wine tours in Kelowna are the perfect option for travelers that are budget conscious, but also want to try some wine. These tours are much cheaper than the full-day options but will still have sampling lots of wine!
Most half-day Kelown wine tours visit about 3 different wineries and typically last about 4 hours. To me, this is a great option for people who don’t want to drink wine all afternoon.
Tour recommendation: This half-day Kelowna wine tour is a great price, goes for 4 hours, and visits 3 really great wineries! The reviews are amazing and it is good value for money if you ask me!
3. Private Wine Tours
Pirvae wine tours in Kelowna are best suited for those traveling in a larger group. On these tours, your group will be the only ones on the tour and oftentime syour guide can tailor to tour to your interests.
Private Kelowna wine tours are very popular for backelorette parties. These tours are all about having a good time and drinking lots of wine along the way!
Tour recommendation: This private wine tour in Kelowna goes for about 5-6 hours and can a group as large as 11! The tour operator will work with you to design the best itinerary including an awesome lunch stop!
4. Sightseeing and Wine Combo Tours
Choosing a wine tour in Kelowna that also focuses on sightseeing is the perfect choice for those who want to do more than sample wine. It is also a great option for people who enjoy photography (like Daniel) and those who haven;t yet had a chance to see all the amazing sights around Kelowna!
Tour recommendation: This particular wine and sightseeing combo tour from Kelowna is 4 hours long and visit the most scenic 4 wineries in the region. It also includes snacks and ample wine to try along with time to enjoy some beautiful views.
Where to Stay in Kelowna, BC
The truth is that there are so many hotels in Kelowna that it can be hard to know which one to choose for your stay. Well luckily for you, Dan and I have stayed in a lot of different hotels in Kelowna and have been able to narrow it down to our absolute favorites!
Here are the best places to stay in Kelowna including our personal top choice, a few budget options, mid-range options, as well as some luxury options for those of you looking to spoil yourselves!
Coast Capri Hotel Kelowna – Our Top Choice
We’ve stayed at our fair share of hotels in Kelowna, but last time we stayed at the Coast Capri Hotel and loved it! Our pool-view room was perfect with a huge balcony, two large queen beds, and even a desk area so that we could get some work done (when we weren’t busy down by the pool, of course!)
One of the best things about the Coast Capri Hotel is that it’s affordable without sacrificing any of the comforts you’ll need for a relaxing and enjoyable stay – suitable for almost all travelers and budgets. The location is central and the amenities are top-notch.
If you’re visiting in the summer be sure to go to the pool where you can order food and drinks to enjoy poolside – we even had cocktails in the pool one night!
Low Budget Hostels in Kelowna
Kelowna International Hostel – This is easily your best budget option. This hostel is centrally located and although its not fancy, it’s only $80 for a double room that includes a highly rated continental breakfast. It’s also reviewed as a clean hostel with friendly staff.
Samesun Kelowna – The last decent budget hotel around the $100 mark is this place. The reviews are really good and the property is quite modern. The location is perfect if you want to be close to downtown and they include a free breakfast.
Medium Budget Hotels in Kelowna
Dilworth Inn – I’ve personally stayed at the Dilworth Inn. This place is a great medium-budget option that’s a little out of the city center but very close to the farmers market and other great amenities. They also have an indoor pool, spa, and sauna!
Hillcrest Farm Market – If you don’t mind staying a little out of the city then you may just fall in love with the Hillcrest. Its located 8km from the city center but is beautifully located. It’s around $250 per night but includes an awesome breakfast!
Delta hotels – This is the best high-budget hotel in Kelowna. It does come at a hefty price of $420 a night but it’s superbly located. It has both an indoor and outdoor pool as well as an onsite casino! If you can afford it, treat yourself!
Related Read: Heading to Vernon? Check out all of the best Airbnbs in Vernon, BC to suit any traveler!
Renting a Car in British Columbia
If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province and traveling between cities and even just getting out to the best attractions within them requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.
Car rental in Canada is relatively cheap especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $70 CAD per day. The price does vary though depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Rental Cars.com. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Rental Cars.com all over the world including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.
Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada and using crown land and campsites you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!
Canada Travel Essentials
Before you decide to head off and explore the gorgeous mountains, lakes, towns, and cities around Canada it’s important to have the right equipment. Of course, it’s likely you’ll have most of the basics already but there are some common items people forget that I never travel without.
Crampons: In winter crampons are super handy, but what people don’t realize is that they come in handy in summer too. In fact, up until mid-July, you can still expect ice conditions in the mountains. The pair I use is only $29 and they have lasted me 3 seasons so far!
Waterproof shell: Most people will have this item but I thought I’d include it anyway since it’s so handy in Canada. The Columbia waterproof jacket is a lightweight windproof jacket that will seriously save you in many situations. The best part though? It comes in pink!
Scent-proof bag (for bears): Most people think you only need to keep the smell of food away from you when you’re overnight camping. However, bears can smell the food in your bag while you’re hiking and the best way to avoid an encounter is to use a scent-proof bear bag. Basically, you put your food in the bag and the bear cannot smell it while you’re hiking. This is one item most people never have (I never hike without it) but it could save you and the bear.
Buff: I love my buff! Seriously, I go nowhere without it both in winter and summer. There are a few brands around but I always buy the original Buff (you know, the one from Survivor!) They’re a little more expensive but the material is good quality and both breathable and quick drying.
Dry bag: I have expensive camera equipment so I always travel with a dry bag large enough to fit some of my equipment. It can be a camera, book, binoculars, or even my keys. Regardless, a dry bag gives me peace of mind! The MARCHWAY bag is really good quality, and when not in use, takes up only a small amount of room.
Binoculars: I love my binoculars! Seriously they have come in hand so many times especially when I’m looking for wildlife. The best part is, I use a set that only costs $27 and they serve my basic needs without any issues!
Do we think wine tours in Kelowna are worth the money?
100% yes! We love wine tours and in Kelowna, it is easily one of the best ways to spend an afternoon. Expect to pay between $130-200 per person for a wine tour around Kelowna, but also expect to have a great time!
For us, wine lovers, wine tours are always a great time. In Kelowna, this is especially true because of the gorgeous setting of lakes and mountains surrounding the vineyards!
Let us know in the comments below, have you gone on a wine tour around Kelowna before? What did you think? Would you do it again? We’d love to hear from you!
If you found this blog helpful, then be sure to checkout the rest of our Canada blogs! Some that you might like inlcude:
Enjoy Kelowna and your chosen wine tour!