Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Tue July 28 2015

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  • Michelle Bucher | July 28, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    A Weekend Road Trip to Kelowna Wine Country

    A Weekend Road Trip to Kelowna Wine Country

    Photo of Kelowna courtesy of Thinkstock, all others courtesy of Michelle Bucher

    There’s nothing more thrilling than a weekend away with girlfriends.

    This past weekend we headed up to Kelowna for a road trip through wine country to celebrate a bachelorette party. With our iPhones loaded with Backstreet Boys and other 90s girly music, we hit the road early Friday morning. Kelowna is a short 4-hour drive from Vancouver, through the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

    Believe it or not, the Kelowna/Kootenay/Osoyoos area is somewhere I’ve never been before. I’ve been all across the country and back, but a town only 4 hours from home is somewhere I’ve never been, so this was an exciting journey for me.

    We arrived in Kelowna on Friday afternoon, checked into our rental condo, and then off we went to hit the local trails for some horseback riding. It’s been years since I’ve been on a horse. The last time was in Ontario 6 years ago on our first road trip, so it felt great to get back in the saddle.

    Road trip tip: doing activities like horseback riding while discovering a new town is a great way to get out and view that locale in a different setting. It’s one thing to walk about the downtown area and have lunch, it’s another to ride horseback through the mountain range while taking in the unique views of the area below.

    Kelowna fire: sadly there was a forest fire burning north of Kelowna where we were staying. We were able to see smoke at the top of the mountain off in the distance, but it wasn’t affecting the air quality while we were in town.

    After horseback riding, we got dressed up and hit the town for an exciting night of dinner and dancing. Kelowna has quite the nightlife, and is a surprisingly busy town during the summer months. We met several groups of people from northern Alberta, Montana, Colorado and Nova Scotia, in town on vacation.

    Wine touring:

    On Saturday we went out to some of the local wineries for touring and tasting. Kelowna is very well known for its wine and local fruit. It also seemed to be a hot spot for bachelorette parties as we ran into 10 other groups of girls there for the exact same occasion as we were.

    The first stop on our wine tour took us to Volcanic Hills Estate Winery. I found this tour to be the most interesting. As indicated by the name of the winery, this place is located on the base of an old volcano. I learned years ago from the Mount St. Helens eruption that volcanic soil is rich in minerals, and makes for a perfect location to grow things like grapes for wine. Our tour guide mentioned that some of their wines have a bit of the volcanic soil taste in them (in a good way!) because of the minerals in the ground.

    From here, we moved onto Quail’s Gate Estate Winery. This was a very busy winery located on a beautiful property that overlooks Okanagan Lake. Quail’s Gate is a fairly popular wine around the Vancouver area, so it was great to be able to tour their facility while in Kelowna. Given the popularity of their wine, the place was packed and it was a little difficult to get a spot to do wine tasting, but with a little patience, we were able to get a taste.

    After Quail’s Gate, we moved on to Mission Hill Winery for lunch and more wine tasting. Each property we visited seemed to be nicer than the last, and Mission Hill Winery was sunny, so we spent quite a bit of time walking around the grounds, and enjoying the views of Okanagan Lake below. We had an amazing lunch at their restaurant, and enjoyed a bottle of their Riesling. Our waiter mentioned that Mission Hill’s won “World’s Best Pinot Noir” in 2013. We had a sample of this wine, and it was amazing.

    Overall experience:

    Of all of the wines we sampled, I personally loved Mission Hill’s Riesling. It was a very smooth wine. Volcanic Hills’ Pinot Gris was my second favorite of all the wines we tasted.

    On Sunday, we spent a bit of time exploring the downtown beach area, had lunch near the water, then packed up in the late afternoon and headed home. We each brought home several bottles of wine from the various wineries that we visited while in Kelowna.

    Have you been to Kelowna before? What’s your favorite winery?


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Michelle Bucher Road Rules From the Road Trip Blogger

Michelle Bucher Michelle Bucher is an avid road tripper, travel writer and social media marketer from Vancouver, British Columbia. Michelle has spent the past six years on various road trip adventures around North America. She's road tripped through 48 states, 10 provinces and several other countries. Michelle runs a fun travel blog,, showcasing stories from her random road trip adventures.
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