Discovering the wine region of Okanagan Valley
The Okanagan Valley is one of six Designated Viticultural Areas in the Canadian province of British Columbia. The DryClimate in this "pocket desert" produces some unique wines made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay.
There is now an almost even split between white and red grapes planted, with Merlot the most common variety. Ice wine can be produced in the Okanagan Valley but the necessary temperatures are not as consistent as on the east coast, where the winters are much colder.
The DVA produces more than 80 percent of the province's output and is the second most prolific wine region in Canada, behind Ontario's Niagara Peninsula. There are around 185 licensed grape wineries and 3,575 hectares (8,830 acres) of vineyards.
The Long, narrow Okanagan Valley runs for around 210 kilometers (130 miles) from the Northern town of Salmon Arm to the border of the United States in the South. Much of the viticulture occurs in the Center of the region on the shores of Lake Okanagan, from which the area takes its name.
The Okanagan river then flows south into the US state of Washington, where it converges with the viticulturally significant Columbia River (home to the extensive Columbia Valley AVA). The river is spelled Okonogan in the United States.
Unlike in the fragmented Niagara Peninsula appellation, the Okanagan Valley forms just one designated viticultural area. However, the diversity of Terroir here means there are a number of subregions within it.