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Planning your BC Wine Tour
Similkameen Valley: Cawston & Keremeos
Common varieties grown: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Chardonnay Average Daily High Temperature July – 29C Average Annual Rainfall – 256 mm Average Hours of Sunshine – 2600
Step out of the south Okanagan Valley region for a moment and head west into the Similkameen Valley. You won’t be disappointed. The Similkameen Valley is considered the Organic Capital of Canada and consists of small vineyards, orchards and farms set among rolling grasslands and rugged mountains. Situated on the banks of the Similkameen River, which breathes life into the otherwise arid terrain, it’s rich in a pioneering spirit and still thrives on ranches and farms throughout the area. There’s also a mining history and hopeful prospectors continue to be drawn to the river’s edge to pan for gold. The Similkameen Valley is described by the local tourism association as “off the beaten path, eclectic, out there and edgy.” It is certainly worth a visit. The area enjoys a dry, breezy climate that helps keeps farmland free of pests, rot and mildew which is the main reason it is suitable for organic growing. Along with its organic reputation, the region is also considered to be the Fruit Stand Capital, but is increasingly being recognized as a growing wine region in its own right, with 15-plus wineries producing both grape and fruit products in the bottle. Most are concentrated in the Keremeos-Cawston area. They’ll make you think twice about what is possible with the region’s bounty. The Similkameen boasts scores of accessible fishing lakes along with the remote backcountry terrain of Cathedral Provincial Park, a major attraction to adventure seekers looking for unparalleled experiences and breathtaking views. History buffs will be drawn to the old frontier-like atmosphere and landscape.