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A destination for food-loving travellers from all over, Penticton, B.C. was first home to the syilx Okanagan people, who call this unique land nestled between two lakes snpintktn, meaning “the always place.” The mild climate ensured that food was plentiful all year long for the hunters, fishers and gatherers of their community.

Still a place of bountiful harvest, today Penticton is defined by its many wineries, orchards and the surrounding farmlands that shape the city’s diverse culinary landscape. The city’s dining scene is known for punching well above its weight, making it an ideal locale for foodies, wine lovers and craft beer enthusiasts who can’t wait for the bounties that spring’s warmer temperatures bring.

Fill your glass with wine or craft beer

“As a wine-growing region, Penticton is blessed with over 1,900 hours of sunshine annually,” says Colin Ross, general manager of Tightrope Winery and chair of the Naramata Bench Wineries Association. It’s just one reason why more than 80 wineries call the area home.

“Temperatures are moderated by the two large lakes at each end of town,” Ross explains. “The lakes’ edges are elevated benches created in the last ice age, resulting in diverse soil structures that include lake-bottom soils of loamy sand and silty clay.” Penticton’s geology, in short, is perfect for grape growers.

“While you’ll find a diverse assortment of grape varietals planted here, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Syrah have shown great promise,” he says.

A hop-on/hop-off bus service, the Grape Savvy Trolley, makes it easy to take a self-guided tour of Penticton’s vineyards and enjoy a wine tasting or two. There are also plenty of options for your standard wine tour shuttle service with knowledgeable and friendly drivers. Many wineries, like Ross’ Tightrope, offer small, in-depth experiences with expert tours of the cellar and vineyards.

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Not a wine drinker? Not a problem. With its eight local craft breweries, Penticton is Canada’s craft beer capital, home to award-winning beer makers like Tin Whistle Brewing, B.C.’s first carbon-neutral brewery, and the second B.C. location of Yellow Dog Brewing, with the original being in Port Moody. Follow the Penticton Ale Trail for another way to explore and indulge.

Meet makers, farmers and vintners

Beginning in April, the Penticton Farmers’ Market fills Main Street each Saturday selling seasonal produce, homemade preserves and baked goods, as well as craft liquor. Every item is locally made or grown, so the market is the perfect place to experience authentic South Okanagan flavours.

Travellers to the region can also head straight to the source, visiting vendors at local farms to shop for fresh eggs, cheese, honey and produce. Many of Penticton’s farms offer a “U-Pick” option to harvest your own fruit, from cherries in late spring to grapes and apples all the way into October.

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Thanks to the region’s network of motor vehicle-free trails, visitors can also access the vineyards and wineries on two wheels. Local tour company Epic Cycling specializes in routes that bring tourists to some of the area’s best wineries. “Our fully guided cycling and hiking tours take you through Penticton’s beautiful wineries and trails, offering vineyard lunches and wine tastings that capture the essence of this world-renowned wine region,” says company co-founder Tamara Paul.

“It’s not just a tour; it’s a personalized journey designed for the casual biker, serious cycling enthusiast, or hiker seeking an epic adventure.”

Take in the city from a terrace

With fresh, local produce close at hand, Penticton chefs create seasonal menus inspired by the growers that supply the city’s eateries. “Penticton is uniquely situated with vast agricultural land surrounding it,” says Caley Fraser, general manager at Palmer Steakhouse Casual. “It’s easy to take inspiration from the landscape, the fruit industry, the wine industry, the local breweries, and the creative culinary minds that have made the area home over the past few years.”

And thanks to the region’s unique climate, patio season arrives early in Penticton and ends late. While many places in Canada remain blanketed under a layer of snow, local residents are already soaking up the sun – usually on a terrace overlooking a lake or vineyard.

Patios are so plentiful in Penticton that locals keep a running list of favourite spots. Shaughnessy’s Cove is a lakeside terrace that shouldn’t be missed, just 15 minutes from Penticton, in Summerland. “It’s located on a quiet cove overlooking Okanagan Lake,” says Fraser, who adds that “sipping cocktails dockside is a quintessential Okanagan experience.” She is eagerly anticipating the opening of Palmer Steakhouse’s own rooftop patio this season, featuring 180-degree views from east to west over Okanagan Lake.

“If you want a laid-back atmosphere with family or a spot to bring your pets, then it’s The Backyard at Cannery Brewing,” says Paul, adding that, “after a day of cycling and wine tasting, our favourite place is next to our bike rental location – Sociale on Lakeshore. They have an amazing patio and serve up handcrafted cocktails.”

For upscale dining inspired by local ingredients, Ross recommends the historic Naramata Inn, The Bistro at Hillside Winery, The Restaurant at Poplar Grove, and The Kitchen at Da Silva – all offering exceptional food and views to match.

“Penticton has a diversified dining scene,” Fraser says. “Just ask the locals at the closest table where you should head next.”

Learn more about Penticton’s expanding culinary community and plan your visit there this spring at

Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio with Visit Penticton. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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