When BC wines are mentioned, most people think of the Okanagan Valley. However, the Similkameen Valley, recently named one of the “top 5 wines regions you’ve never heard of” by Enroute Magazine, is putting itself on the map by producing some fabulous terroir-driven wines.
Located in southern B.C., along the border just west of Osoyoos, the magical Similkameen Valley is rich in history, scenically stunning and somewhat off the beaten path.
One of the first areas in the province to be prospected, farmed & ranched in the mid 1800s, the region has a long history of agriculture. Viticulture and winemaking were not introduced on a commercial level until the mid 1990s.
The majority of vineyards are located near Cawston & Keremeos, with 691 acres under vine accounting for 7% of BC’s vineyard acreage. The climate is similar to that of the South Okanagan with hot, dry semi- desert conditions. The steep-sided valley is notable for its rocky surface and frequently falling rocks. The soil is gravelly and high in calcium carbonate which in turn gives the wines their minerality and great acidity.
- Ayja Golder & Lesley Chatwood
Manager & BC Wine Pro
The Similkameen Valley is the organic farming capital of Canada, with over 40% of farms certified. Due to the exposure, the vineyards run mostly east to west unlike the rest of the Okanagan’s north to south orientation. There are 14 licensed wineries in the valley (4.5% of the provincial total). Every July, the wineries host a large community BBQ—great event to check out if you’re in the area.