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Similkameen Valley

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As a proud member of the Similkameen Independent Winegrowers, we are grateful to call the Similkameen Valley home to Vanessa Vineyard.  By learning more about the valley we hope you’ll appreciate the region and its wine even more!

Similkameen Valley refers to the region in and around the basin of the Similkameen River, located in the Thompson-Okanagan region immediately north of the United States border.  The valley is carved from the rugged, steep Cascade Mountains by the Similkameen River, which meanders through the heart of this almost 200 kilometer-long valley. The terroir is visible through the eroding rock of the mountainside and the ancient gravel beds, as well as the complex deposits of minerals and soils deposited by the glacial action.

As one of the original areas of British Columbia to be prospected, farmed, and ranched in the mid 19th century, Similkameen is a special historical region in the province.  In fact, the valley is regarded as one of the two foundations of the province’s orcharding industry, dating back to an original 30 acre lot of fruit trees being farmed and harvested in the 1860s.

Characterized by its rugged terrain and intense summers, Similkameen has evolved into BC’s largest designated viticultural area and the Organic Farming Capital and Fruit Stand Capital of Canada.  The region’s topography, climate, and soil types provide the perfect foundation for producing unique wine and have led Similkameen to be touted as the next great Canadian wine region.

With over a dozen wineries spanning 691 acres, there is so much to experience as you travel through the rustic region.  The top planted grapes in the Similkameen Valley are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay.

Visit Similkameen Independent Winegrowers and Similkameen Valley Planning Society to learn more about the valley’s wineries, orchards, eateries and all else that the region has to offer!

Savouring the Similkameen

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Savoring the SimilkameenWe’re thrilled to be part of a hidden culinary and wine gem.  In honour of Canada’s National Tourism Week what better time than to start planning your trip to the Similkameen?  enRoute Magazine described our area as “one of the world’s 5 best wine regions you’ve never heard of” and Vines Magazine named our Valley “one of the 6 most underrated wine regions in the world.”

Recently, several publications have focused on our “obscure” region, such as SIP Northwest out of Portland which noted, “Yet the striking slopes that surround the valley almost defy belief, and the best wines achieve a degree of complexity that demands they be taken seriously.”

And Vancity Buzz suggested a hike in Cathedral Provincial Park, “Before making your way back home, visit this beautiful green space south of Keremeos. You’ll have the chance to take short or long hikes in areas filled with craggy peaks and stunning azure-coloured lakes.”

Similarly, Naramata’s talented and engaging Jennifer Cockrall-King has just published the ultimate self-guided food lovers’ tour of the ‪Okanagan‬ and Similkameen. Discover our local edible delights in this curated overview of more than 125 artisans, with 15 recommendations for the ‪Similkameen‬, in “Food Artisans of the Okanagan: Your Guide to the Best Locally Crafted Fare“.  One of our faves — Farmersdotter Organics in Cawston — quite possibly the most delicious homemade breads you’ll ever taste.

Heralded as the fruit stand capital of Canada and the organic capital of Canada, Keremeos and Cawston respectively, are bursting with life from the spring through the fall. Come for a visit, stay in the charming nearby lakeside community of Osoyoos and enjoy the bounty of this special little slice of terroir.  (Although we do not have a tasting room open yet at Vanessa Vineyard.  You can still enjoy our wines here. Our Syrah and Meritage are available at Twin Lakes Golf Resort and Local Lounge + Grille.)