Sipping Great Wine at Mind-Boggling Prices in Okanagan Valley, B.C.
Set against a dramatic background of roughhewn mountains like sleeping prehistoric beasts, sagebrush-speckled desert, and rock that is as old as any on the planet, the Okanagan Valley is not your average place to grow vines. Here, viticulturalists contend with deer, elk, and bears (oh, and why not throw in snow, and temperatures that peak in the 130-degree-Fahrenheit range). Some 200 miles east of Vancouver, this area is producing wonderful and unconventional wines at mind-boggling prices, as well as serving up forward-thinking food based on local and indigenous ingredients. You'll taste all sorts of unusual varietals here, like Chasselas, Ehrenfelser and Carmenere, alongside Pinots, Chards, Cabs and Merlots. The wines are paired with caribou sausage and grilled bison, as well as illicit unpasteurized cheeses smuggled cross-country from Quebec. Unlike other wine regions, after a day of tasting, you can hike untouched wilderness, ride the vertigo-inducing trestles of Kettle Valley Rail Trail, or rent a kayak to take out on the lake, which is big enough to house its very own Loch Ness-type monster: Ogopogo.