KELOWNA FAB FIVE WINE TRAIL
Charming, intimate, funky and fun – perfect words to describe the five boutique wineries along the FabFive Wine Trail. Situated in the rolling hills of East Kelowna, the FabFive consists of The View, Spierhead, The Vibrant Vine, Camelot and House of Rose Winery. Within kilometers of each other, they are an alluring group of family owned and operated wineries that highlight what the Kelowna area has to offer in terms of wine and hospitality. A knight in shining armour, a giant psychedelic bottle, a twenty foot high rose and a sexy red shoe are just a few discoveries you will make along the way. It’s a truly unforgettable afternoon of wine-tasting on Kelowna’s doorstep.
You can begin you exploration at either end of the trail. Starting from the East, the first winery you come to is House of Rose Winery, known as BC’s friendliest winery. House of Rose has made its name into a theme, with hundreds of rose plants as well as Canada’s tallest rose, a 24 ft high magnificent piece of art by local metal artist Roland Dirks. With uniquely named wines that have won many awards like Hot Flash, Grapes with Benefits and A Senior Moment, you’re in for a wonderful tasting adventure.
House of Rose hosts numerous events throughout the year. Don’t miss their Summer Music Series – held every Thursday evening from June 30th to late August. Enjoy the free music, indulge in a glass of wine and either bring your own snacks or buy a picnic basket in the wine shop. In the fall, House of Rose is home to one of the best visited grape stomps in the valley. During the two Saturdays of the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival you will find hundreds of people lined up to cross this off their bucket list. As Aura Rose, owner and winemaker says “We see babies to eighties stomp to their delight!”
A delightful place for the family to relax and enjoy the Okanagan’s best features, owners and staff of House of Rose Winery look forward to talking (wine) with you!
Open daily April to October 10-6 (to 9 PM on Thursday evenings with music) and November to March Tuesday to Saturday 12-5 at 2270 Garner Rd www.houseofrose.ca Check their website for all their events.
Driving into Camelot Vineyards you will be joyfully greeted by their German short haired pointer, who insists on guiding the cars to the right spot. Next she will coerce you into throwing her ball. Take a photo beside the giant sword in a stone outside, before you walk through the tasting room doors, made from 1000 year old fir. The tasting table emulates King Arthur’s round table making it perfect for easy conversation. Take a picture around the full size suit of armour, “Dennis The Conqueror” or enjoy wine and a cheese plate in their picnic area.
Camelot Vineyards, is an award winning, family owned and operated winery and is owned by Rob and Denise. Rob’s parents, Ruth and Bob Young, purchased the property in 1970 as an orchard, unofficially calling it “Camelot Orchards” and then, in 1996, Rob and Denise took over and the decision was made to build a winery. They decided to keep the name Camelot, in memory of Rob’s late father. They hired an award winning winemaker and apprenticed under her over the next 5 years, learning hands on techniques. The wines that Camelot offer are carefully crafted using traditional methods. Don’t miss their Medieval Event held early in August each year.
Open daily May to October 11 to 5 (till 6 on Fridays and Saturdays) at 3489 East Kelowna Road. www.camelotvineyards.ca
Third on your tour will be The Vibrant Vine Tasting Room, winner of “The Best White Wine in the World” at the 2013 World Beverage Competition in Geneva Switzerland (the world’s largest beverage competition).
Rated the #1 Winery Experience in BC in both 2012 and 2013 by Trip Advisor, the Vibrant Vine Tasting Room has extensive picnic lawns and live music on weekends, July through September. The Tasting Room, a 1937 heritage building, is full of 3-D art and every guest receives a pair of 3-D glasses upon arrival!
Open daily May to Oct 11 to 6 pm at 3240 Pooley Road. www.vibrantvine.ca
Next up, The View Winery sits on land that has been in the Turton/Ward family for 5 generations. Historically, apples were grown on the property. In the mid 1990’s a transition began and Spartan and McIntosh apples gave way to Gewurtzraminer, Ehrenfelzer, Optima and Pinotage grapes. In 2007, The View started producing their own premium wines and cider and the beloved old packinghouse built by Great Granddad Ward in 1922 was transformed into a winery. Their quality wine and cider portfolio offer something for everyone, including BC’s only wine in a can appropriately called BLING. The original farmhouse for the property still stands beside the winery along with a huge walnut tree planted by Nana Turton in the 1930s. Original plans were to build a new retail store and tasting room at the top of the property; hence the name, “The View”. Upon some reflection, the point of view changed to a love of the unique historical qualities of the old packinghouse. With an eye on the future but a keen sense of celebrating the past, The View looks forward to sharing their part of Okanagan history with everyone. Find them on the corner of Spiers Road and Ward Road, just look for the Red Shoe!
Open daily April to October 15th 11:00 to 6:30 and in the winter by appointment at #1 – 2287 Ward Road. www.theviewwinery.com
Either the first or last stop on your tour, SpierHead Winery and Vineyard is situated along Spiers Road on the benchlands of south east Kelowna, just nine kilometres from downtown. They welcome visitors to their tasting room and licensed picnic area where you can enjoy a glass of wine and take in the view. Bring a picnic lunch and see why SpierHead was named one of the twenty best picnic spots in the Okanagan by the Vancouver Sun.
SpierHead prides itself in producing premium quality wines, both from its estate vineyard and from selected vineyards within the Okanagan. Their wines have won numerous accolades and they were proud to be named the Best New Winery at the 2012 B.C. Wine Awards.
On the first Friday of each month Spierhead hosts Foodie Fridays, when SpierHead wines are paired with unique appetizers prepared by local Kelowna chefs and restaurateurs. Start your weekend by joining them between 3 – 6 p.m. on the first Friday of each month this season.
Open weekends April and May and daily June thru October, 11am to 5:30 pm 3950 Spiers Road www.spierheadwinery.com
Wine Tourism and the Okanagan Wine Festivals
With acres of high-quality vineyards and over 200 wineries, the Okanagan has become one of the ultra-premium wine producing regions in the world. There are options for every palette—red or white, sweet or dry—from established wineries and family-run estates alike.
In 1994, a group of local wineries and tourism operators founded the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society (OWFS), focused on raising awareness of the region’s growing industry. Today, OWFS works with communities and wineries, large and small, across the Okanagan to develop world-class wine showcases.
OWFS has hundreds of year-round offerings, including three annual signature events: The Winter Okanagan Wine Festival (Jan 14 – 24), Spring Okanagan Wine Festival (Apr 28 – May 8), and Fall Okanagan Wine Festival (Sept 29 – Oct 9)—the latter ranked among the Top 100 Events by the American Tourism Association. Featuring fine dining, wine tastings, tours, exhibits, performances, recreational opportunities, and even old-world grape stomps, these festivals showcase incredible wines while enhancing the Valley’s social and cultural landscape.
Visit www.thewinefestivals.com for information about the Okanagan’s wine industry, the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, and upcoming events