By Contributor Zahra Alani
Osoyoos is one of those magical places that feels like you have gone somewhere far away, yet for Vancouverites, it’s in our own backyard. Approximately a 5-hour scenic drive out of Vancouver, Osoyoos is located in Beautiful British Columbia.
For those unfamiliar with the region, it is a humid, desert-like climate in the Southern Okanagan Valley, and part of BC’s wine country. It is the hottest and driest part of Canada, in which we grow an abundance of fresh fruit. Osoyoos is a lakeside town, with an overall dry and hot summer, surrounded by vineyards. Unbelievable to many, there are rattlesnakes in Osoyoos, just like other arid or dry regions.
The area makes for an incredible getaway to soak up the sun, swim in the warm lake and to go wine-tasting. The Oliver-Osoyoos region is a great vacation spot to claim a Girl’s Getaway! Moms, take a break from your busy schedules, grab your closest girlfriends, and a swimsuit. Osoyoos is the perfect spot to runaway to, but still, be close enough to home.
When staying in Osoyoos, I highly recommend staying at Spirit Ridge Resort, now under the Hyatt umbrella. It is an all-suite luxury resort on sacred land, with its award-winning winery, fine dining, spa, and pool area. Nearby, there is access to a 9-hole golf course and to Osoyoos Lake. The resort has a beautiful landscape with incredible views and luxury suites. I had the privilege of staying in a luxury Penthouse Suite with ample living space and a bathroom we all wish we had. There was so much counter space that there was no need to fight for space or put my make-up away! This is a great suite to share ladies and has an incredible patio.
On-site is the first Indigenous-owned winery in North America, Nk’Mip Cellars. The winery has a patio restaurant and two tasting rooms: the Main Tasting Bar and the Qwam Qwmt Tasting Gallery for their premium label. In my most recent trip, I most enjoyed the Dreamcatcher Riesling, the Rosé, and the Cabernet Sauvignon. As a red wine drinker, the Qwam Qwmt Syrah was my absolute favourite. I suggest you try the entire line-up and better yet, do so with a food pairing.
For a dining experience and an incredibly creative and flavourful meal, head over to the main lodge where you’ll find The Bear, The Fish, The Root & The Berry. I tasted a variety of menu dishes on the terrace with its breathtaking view during an event. Chef Murray McDonald has created an Indigenous-inspired menu that takes you through a culinary experience that incorporates foraging, hunting, and using produce that the land provides without taking too much and being sustainable. One-third of the menu is vegetarian. Staying with an Indigenous-inspired menu, the food is made with natural sweeteners, and there is little to no processing. The value in their approach is noticeable in the food, which is clearly prepared with heart. Also, it is a rare healthy option available on vacation.
There are enough amenities and luxury at the Lake Resort that you don’t need to leave the property. A day on grounds is worth doing. Then, I recommend you work your way through the Golden Mile Bench and Black Sage Bench for wine-tasting.
When wine-tasting your way through the Black Sage Bench, visit renowned Black Hills Estate Winery. This is an exceptional winery for Bordeaux and Rhône varietals. They are highly recognized for their flagship red blend, Nota Bene and for throwing some of the best parties in town! The patio is unique in that there is a beautiful water feature.
For the premiere tasting experience, I recommend the VIP Cabana Wine Flight Experience, on a sunny day. You won’t be rushed as you enjoy your portfolio in the private cabana, overlooking the water feature and vineyard. The wine flight includes six of their current release wines. Staff are knowledgeable and friendly. Tasting notes are given on each wine. If you care to nosh, check out the menu. A charcuterie board is always lovely with wine tasting, but don’t you dare leave there without trying one of their pizzas.
Another favourite spot to visit in Oliver is Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek. The grounds are stunning and used to host an annual summer concert series. There is always something to do at Tinhorn! Hit up the winery, watch a concert, attend a long-table dinner or stop in for lunch or dinner. Miradoro is perched up on a hill, with panoramic views and glass windows throughout the restaurant – every seat has a view. It is also a very popular wedding venue.
The menu is creative with an emphasis on seasonal products and a commitment to sustainable practice. Miradoro has an authentic forno oven, and the menu offers a diverse wine list. The wine dinners are an excellent opportunity to fully experience and taste the chef’s culinary excellence, paired with the perfect wine. The sommelier does an excellent job in wine-pairing. Executive Chef Jeff Van Geest is a celebrated chef who puts thought and heart into his menu planning. I am continuously impressed when I dine at Miradoro. After service, you might even catch him at the restaurant unwinding with a crisp beer or a glass or two of Tinhorn Creek’s Cabernet Franc.
Sipping wine as you overlook the amazing views that the Valley has to offer is truly relaxing. There are so many great things to do and experience in wine country. It can be a trip for families, friends, couples – it’s whatever you make it and however you choose to spend your time. Over the years for me, Osoyoos has been a favourite spot to visit with family, a romantic getaway and most definitely for a really fun Girls Getaway.
Disclosure: I was given complimentary stay and some meals. However, all opinions are 100% my own