# of wineries: 15+
Don't miss: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards, Lunessence, Lightning Rock
Common varietals: aromatic white wines and light reds
Wine region: Okanagan Valley
Sub-regions: Summerland Lakefront, Summerland Valley + Summerland Bench
Summerland is situated on the west side of the Okanagan Valley only 30 minutes south of Kelowna, BC. Wineries sit on bluffs overlooking the massive Okanagan Lake running down the centre of the valley. It is spectacular!
Being on the west side of the valley, Summerland gets the early and midday sun. This makes for grapes with lots of acidity and creates a great home for aromatic whites--think Ehrenfelser, Gewürztraminer and Riesling-- as well as traditional sparkling wine grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Summerland is located within the larger wine region of the Okanagan Valley. In 2022 Summerland was recognized as being so unique that is was given 3 different Sub-Geographical Indications (sub-GIs) or sub-regions. Summerland Valleys, Summerland Lakefront and Summerland Bench. In the future, you will be able to see these sub-regions listed on a wine bottle label!
The Summerland Valley sub-region has some of the highest elevations vineyards in the Okanagan Valley. It's higher elevations and a slightly cooler climate sets it apart from other areas of Summerland.
The Summerland Lakefront sub-region contains the vineyards that are right along Okanagan Lake and therefore their climate is slightly more moderated the lake. This basically means that the lake ensures the vineyards don't get too hot in the summer and don't get too cold in the winter.
The Summerland Bench sub-region is the area surrounding the mountain called Giant's Head (it really does look like a Giants's Head!).
P.S. if you don't understand the bold italicized words, there are definitions at the bottom of the page to make it easier!
Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards - focuses on Traditional Method sparkling wines and aromatic whites. They also have a great restaurant on site called 19 Bistro where you can stop for anything from oysters to a burger!
Lunessence Winery & Vineyard - certified organic winery offering delicate wines and incredible views of vineyards and the Okanagan Lake. Only a 13 minute drive from Fitz.
Lightning Rock Winery - they enable their wines to showcase the distinct terroir of their Summerland Vineyards. Sometimes they even pour wines made from the same grapes grown in different vineyards back to back so you can literally taste the different between the vineyards! It's really freaking cool. Don't sleep on their Pet Nats! Only a 2 minute drive from Lunessence.
If you have time:
Dirty Laundry Vineyard - a super fun winery with a cheeky history. They have really good pizzas that you can enjoy on their vine-covered patio! Only a 4 minute drive from Lightning Rock.
Sage Hills Vineyards - an organic and environmentally conscious winery with stunning views of the Okanagan Lake and their own organic vineyards. They have a patio that is absolutely beautiful! Only a 9 minute drive from Fitz.
Sumac Ridge Estate Winery - the home of three different wine labels: Sumac Ridge - budget friendly, easy drinking wines; Stellar's Jay - Traditional Method sparking wines; and Black Sage - big bold reds and whites from the south Okanagan. Only an 8 minute drive from Fitz or 2 min from Sage Hills.
Okanagan Crush Pad - Another winery that offers four different wine labels. On my visit in 2019 I was not over the moon with any of their wines however I was only able to sample four so I am not judging the entire winery based on that. I will definitely return to try them out again! Only a 9 minute drive from Fitz or 2 min from Sage Hills.
Please note that there are many more wineries in Summerland that I haven't yet had the chance to visit. But if you have never been, this is a good starting point!
GI: Geographical Indication; a specific wine region in BC which can be indicated on wine labels. BC has nine GIs as well as sub-GIs.
Sub-GI: Sub-geographical Indication; a sub-region or a much smaller area within a larger GI where it is recognized that the terroir enables the area to produce distinct wines. You can also see this listed on a wine label.
Terroir: all of the environmental things that can affect the taste of grapes. These are things that make the vineyard or area unique such as the soil, climate, altitude, proximity to mountains or lakes etc. Basically, the unique parts of a vineyard can create distinct wines!
Traditional Method: sparkling wines made in the same way that Champagne is made. It just can't be called Champagne is if isn't produced in Champagne, France.