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Five reasons you should wine tour in winter and where you can do it near Osoyoos, B.C.

Fun fact: Just because it is winter, it doesn’t mean wine touring stops in Osoyoos, British Columbia.

While many of us associate visiting the Osoyoos wineries with summertime — where you are destined to hear terms like “patio pounder” or “summer sipper” — it is in fact a year-round activity with many of the local tasting rooms staying open through the winter months.

In case you were wondering, wine tasting has actually become our go-to winter sport, so move over hockey.

As for why you should go, it almost seems unnecessary to give reasons because if you are like us, wine touring is always a good idea. However, there are certainly some major benefits to going during the winter months that you won’t experience at other times of the year.

So if you are needing just one reason why you should check out our local wineries before spring, we will raise you that one and give you four more.

Reduced Crowds

Starting with the obvious, wine touring in the wintertime is fantastic due to the reduced volume of people visiting each location. You will always be able to find a parking spot, there are minimal wait times in the tasting rooms themselves and slots for reservations are significantly easier to come by!

It is still recommended that you plan ahead, but you won’t be up against the summer crowds or needing your elbows to fight for counter space!

More One-on-One Time with Wine Experts

Courtesy: Graham Cox

Going hand-in-hand with the reduced crowds, being less busy means more one-on-one time with the wine experts at each location — which can sometimes be the winemaker themselves!

With tasting room sommeliers not having to deal with multiple groups at one time, you can spend more time picking their brains and deepening your knowledge of some of the best wines in the world! We also recommend coming equipped with some questions!

Cozy / Unique Tasting Experiences

Tinhorn Creek / Instagram

Have you ever thought about lacing up your boots or strapping on a pair of snowshoes, hiking through a vineyard and partaking in a digital scavenger hunt before ending at a tasting room for a flight of wine? This unique experience is being offered at Tinhorn Creek over the month of January — something exclusive to the wintertime.

A handful of unique offerings and experiences like these can be found at wineries throughout the region during the offseason, but more importantly, the tasting experience feels different and the word that comes to mind is ‘cozy.’

Tastings feel less rushed, some wineries offer heated patios or tabletop fires that compliment a glass of wine perfectly and a nice series of reds can really warm up the soul on a cold Okanagan day.

These cozy feelings give winter wine touring a dash of incredible.

Advantageous Time for Cellar Tours

Phantom Creek / Instagram

During the peak of summer, wine tasting and the outdoors go hand-in-hand: patios, vineyard tours, farm experiences etc. In the winter, when the weather isn’t as nice, staying indoors is much more desirable.

This gives a good incentive to combine a tasting experience with a cellar tour! A handful of wineries will pull back the curtain and give guests a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their cellars where the magic happens.

Wintertime is optimal for seeking these experiences out because one, you are indoors, two, there isn’t anything growing on the vines, and three, remember what we said about reduced crowds and not having to fight for reservation spots?

Stunning Winter Scenery

Oliver Osoyoos Wine Association

Pictures won’t do it full justice to how beautiful the Oliver Osoyoos Wine Region is during winter.

The rolling hills, lined with rows upon rows of vines are certainly picturesque throughout the year, however, there is something special about seeing the perfectly parallel laneways of leafless vineyards, creating a sharp orange-brown contrast against the blanket of snow that lies beneath them.

We especially recommend finding wineries with a bit of elevation such as ones along the Golden Mile Bench or the Black Sage Bench, which amplifies the view as a result of your panoramic vantage point.

Scenes of peaceful and vacant vineyards surrounded by snowy hills are a winter-exclusive experience.

Bonus: Chance at Sampling New Releases

We are on a roll we thought we would throw in one more bonus reason: the chance at being one of the first to taste the 2022 new releases.

During the winter months, wineries are spending time bottling up their 2022 harvest, with the aim of rolling out new selections in the spring. There is the chance, however, that some varietals are bottled earlier than others and lucky tasters get a chance to experience these new releases before they hit shelves or are available to the public!

Where to go Winter Wine Tasting near Osoyoos

Nk’Mip Cellars / Instagram

So now that we’ve convinced you that winter wine touring is a great idea, where can you go? We’ve pulled together a list of the wineries in the area, along with their hours and any additional notes you might need ahead of a visit. Keep in mind that although it is less busy, we still recommended calling a vineyard in advance of a tasting.

Happy Sippings!