Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
save over 85%
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Vineyard in Osoyoos wine country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia.

iStockPhoto / Getty Images

For more wine advice and reviews, recipes, restaurant news and more, sign up to receive our Good Taste newsletter in your inbox every Wednesday.

When the Heiss family established Gray Monk Winery above Okanagan Centre in Lake Country in 1982, there were only a few wineries operating up and down the expanse of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. They were the first and only producer based in Lake Country for many years.

With a focus on white and rosé winemaking, Gray Monk was an early champion of pinot gris, which is now well established as a signature grape variety in B.C. Not all of the Heiss’ family’s viticultural passions were shared, mind you. Their love for wines made from rotberger or siegerrebe grapes didn’t catch on as well with other wineries.

Story continues below advertisement

But British Columbia’s wine industry is seriously infatuated with the potential of Lake Country as a whole. A growing consumer appreciation for crisp and refreshing styles of white wine and bright and juicy expressions of pinot noir has led a number of wineries to establish vineyards north of Kelowna, while there’s been a succession of ambitious wineries cropping up along the wine route.

Gray Monk, which is now owned by Andrew Peller Limited, now has company. There are many compelling reasons for wine lovers to head north towards Vernon instead of south towards Osoyoos to find exciting wines.

Arrowleaf Cellars started growing grapes just up the road from Gray Monk in 1996. Ex Nihilo planted its vineyard in 2004, while Intrigue Wines opened in 2008 and 50th Parallel planted vineyards 2009. The slightly cooler region is helping these producers and others craft bright and refreshing wines across a range of grape varieties.

A recent addition to the Lake Country scene, O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars, which opened as The Chase in 2017 before a trademark dispute prompted a name change, is preparing to release an impressive range of aromatic white wines from the 2020 vintage. Billing itself as 100-per-cent Lake Country and 100-per-cent estate-grown grapes, the winery’s lineup includes a mix of the expected and exotic, including chardonnay, riesling and pinot gris as well as an expressive gruner veltliner and blend made by simultaneously harvesting and co-fermenting a vineyard block containing pinot gris, riesling and gewurztraminer. These are sure to add to the enthusiasm for Lake Country’s flourishing wine community.

E-mail your wine and spirits questions to The Globe. Look for answers to select questions to appear in the Good Taste newsletter and on The Globe and Mail website.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies