Okanagan Wine Country by Bike
“PASS THROUGH THE DRAMATIC SCENERY OF THIS DESERT-LIKE CLIMATE, AND EACH AFTERNOON WE WILL VISIT THE EMERGING WINERY STARS OF THE SOUTHERN OKANAGAN”
Fully supported trip with cozy B&B style accomodation.
You should be comfortable and have experience riding road bikes over moderate distance.
Want to explore more? This tour features optional ‘long ride’ days for those after some extra distance.
Road Based Tour
This tour is a road specific trip. Suitable for road bikes rather than our mountain style tours.
A RELATIVELY UNDISCOVERED HAVEN OF GREAT WINE!
The Okanagan is a relatively undiscovered haven of great wine! As we set out on bike, we’ll meet with the winemakers who are setting lofty new standards of quality. The rides pass through the dramatic scenery of this desert-like climate, and each afternoon we will visit the emerging winery stars of the southern Okanagan.
This trip focuses on roading bikes through the southern Okanagan. The Okanagan has all the elements that cater to great road bike routes.
Quiet roads, beautiful vistas, and a ton of options to extend or shorten the route to suit your preference.
The daily distance is approximately 40km and there will be long options which extend the ride to ~70km each day. Of course if you are keen to do more or less each day, we have the support to pick you up and the recommendations to let you keep spinning. But keep in mind we have full days focussed on fantastic wines that we wouldn’t want you to miss!
The Day-to-Day Plan
Okanagan Wine Country by Bike
Day One - Arrival into the Okanagan
Welcome! From the Penticton Airport, we’ll head to the Naramata Heritage Inn, and relish in the ambience of our boutique hotel, which has preserved a large portion of its original 1908 architecture and furnishings. In the evening, we’ll enjoy a casual welcome dinner and our first introduction to some local wines and your guides for the trip. (D) • Naramata Heritage Inn
Day Two - Naramata Bench
After fresh croissants and other breakfast delights we’ll depart from the hotel grounds on bike. Performing a wide loop around the rolling hillsides of the Naramata Bench, we’ll take in a number of regional sights. Around mid-day we’ll stop at Poplar Grove’s landmark new building to sample the cuisine of their locally focused menu. Afterwards we’ll stretch our legs on a short ride to Laughing Stock vineyard. Here, we’ll enjoy an exclusive event showcasing the conversion of owners David & Cynthia from urbanites to winemakers, as we taste their award-winning wines. This involved visit will include an array of barrel tastings, giving insight into the process of production and varietals. We’ll head back to the hotel for some free time – either to relax at the spa, or to join the guides on a walk to a scenic look-out over the lake. Dinner this evening is accompanied by a nice surprise. (B,L,D) • Naramata Heritage Inn
Day Three - Okanagan Falls
After our breakfast we hop on the bikes riding south along some of the best road riding routes in the country! A scenic picnic is the setting for lunch before we focus on a mixology lesson fr. After getting into the mix and practice our hand at blending, we head across the way for a tasting at Blue Mountain Vineyards, rich in Okanagan history and a gorgeous setting above Vaseaux Lake. Afterwards we transfer back to Spirt Ridge to tour the Nk’Mip winery or you may choose to simply relax at our new home. Here we’ll learn about the unique landscape of the region from the perspective of North America’s first Aboriginal owned and operated winery. Situated on the shores of Osoyoos Lake, adjacent to Canada’s only pocket desert, this stunning location is enhanced by the property’s architecture and rich history. Before dinner we tour their winery facility and then sample a selection of their vintages at dinner with their specially paired to multi-course meal at Passa Tempo. (B,L,D) • Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa
Day Four - Osoyoos and the Golden Mile
After a panoramic breakfast, we’ll head out for a bike towards the town of Osoyoos, we’ll work our way along a network of country roads taking in the heart of Desert Wine Country. We’ll head to Hester Creek Winery, where we’ll indulge in a vertical tasting of their merlot wines from three previous years to exemplify the change in the structure of the wine with age. Then enjoy a truly gourmet lunch at Terrafina. After lunch we’ll have the option for a short ride across the valley to Black Hills or retreat into pure relaxation mode and let our shuttle vehicle take us to the doors of the newly designed tasting room at Black Hills. The wines from Black Hills have a tremendous cult following and for good reason as we will get to experience first-hand at our private pool-side tasting. We’ll also enjoy a private tasting at Black Hills of a variatal not typical to North America. Returning to Spirit Ridge we’ll enjoy some personal relaxation time and the services available at Spirit Ridge. Tonight we celebrate with a stunning dinner overlooking the Okanagan Valley and savouring your favorite wines from the region — Time to celebrate in style! (B,L,D) • Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Sp
Day Five - Black Sage and Trip Wrap Up
This morning choose between a morning of leisure, or a refreshing bike ride around the Black Sage. For those at leisure, perhaps tour the award winning Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Center. Late morning we’ll rendezvous and head back up the valley in our shuttle vehicle making our way onwards to our lunch spot: Painted Rock. This stunning site is home to one of the premier cult wineries of the Okanagan, and John the owner will host us to try a few of his award winning wines over lunch. When we are finally able to pull ourselves away, we’ll head to Penticton Airport for the late afternoon flight. (B,L)
Discover the Arbutus Routes Advantage.
A QUALITY NIGHTS SLEEP
Naramata Heritage Inn and Spa
11 bedroom boutique hotel
A 1908 building refurbished to the glory of a past era
Home to the renowned Cobblestone Wine Bar
Relax in Aveda Concept Heirloom Spa
Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa
This luxury lodge has a Santa Fe inspired look
Located in amoungst vineyards, with stunning views of Lake Osoyoos
Home of renowned Passatempo Restaurant
Frequently asked Questions
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Arrival & Departure Information
Airfare is not included in the cost of our trips. For air reservations, we recommend you contact the airlines directly, either by phone or the Internet. We recommend your airline flights be scheduled to arrive the day prior to your trip start date and depart the day after your last trip date. Flights can be booked to arrive and depart from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in Vancouver, British Columbia. Before purchasing your ticket(s), please check with our office first to insure that your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate. Arbutus Routes cannot be responsible for penalty fees or additional airfare costs as a result of trip cancellations or changes to tour itineraries.
All itineraries start from Penticton, BC unless otherwise requested.
You will return to Penticton between 2:30pm and 3:30pm on the last day of your trip. Please do not schedule return flights before 5:00pm, as we can always be delayed on the road. If you must schedule a flight out earlier than specified, please notify our office and we will do what we can to accommodate and assist you in getting to the airport on time.
What if I'm a single Traveler?
All trip prices are based on double occupancy. If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the full single supplement of $450.00. If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a roommate of the same sex if one is available.
What if I have medical needs?
If you have any physical or psychological medical conditions, it is very important you let us know well before departure by filling in the appropriate spaces in the medical information portion on your personal information form. Trip leaders have the right to deny participation to anyone at any time during the trip if they feel the trip member is mentally or physically incapable of continuing and/or if a trip member’s continued participation jeopardizes the group’s or his/her own safety. Under either of these circumstances, refunds are not given.
All guides carry a basic first aid kit for emergencies. Please be aware that hospital facilities for serious medical problems may at times be a long way away, that a doctor may not always be available, and that evacuation can be prolonged, difficult, and expensive. Your guides do not carry prescription medications, and no refunds are given if you have to leave the trip.
What type of pedals do you have on your bikes?
Our bikes are setup with either a standard flat pedal or Shimano SPD’s. If you have never ridden clipped in before we highly recommend that you use the standard flat pedals. You are also more than welcome to bring your own pedals and our guides will spin them on the bikes. We don’t supply cycling shoes so if you plan on using our Shimano SPD pedals you must have your own shoes that have a compatible cleat
Can I drive to Penticton if I live within driving distance?
YES. You can meet us in Penticton or continue straight into Naramata to the Naramata Heritage Inn. You can then leave your car at the Heritage Inn during the trip and our guides will drive you back to the Inn on the last day of the trip to retrieve your car. You may also choose to extend your stay in the Okanagan after the end of the trip and arrange your own accommodation for your extension. Our office is happy to help you plan an extension to your trip if interested.
Please ALWAYS notify our office of your travel plans in advance and we can provide a map and directions.
What if I have dietary restrictions or special food requests?
Please let us know if you have any specific dietary needs or requests (i.e. vegetarian, gluten free, allergic to nuts, love hot chocolate, etc.) This information should be included on your Personal Information Form you will receive in your confirmation packet. We encourage you to be specific to what you can eat and what you prefer to eat. In addition, we would love to know if you are having a birthday or anniversary on the trip. We make every effort possible to accommodate these requests.
Do you provide drinking water?
Yes. The tap water in the Okanagan is great and we recommend drinking this. Your guides will have lots of water to fill up with during the day and along our rides.
What are the rides like and how do I train for the trip?
While you do not need to be exceptionally fit, you should feel confident in your ability to cycle up to 40 kilometers or 25 miles. The rides are a moderate level and we recommend doing some training before you join us, as your trip will be far more enjoyable if you do not have sore muscles. The best way to prepare for the trip is to start moderate training with hiking and walking a few months before departure. Cycling uses specific muscles that are utilized differently than when running. We recommend that you take moderate bike rides wearing the clothing you plan to take on the trip with you. One piece of clothing that we highly recommend for comfort is a proper pair of cycling shorts as they will make the biggest difference. We don’t use gel seat covers as we have found them to cause more discomfort and highly recommend a quality pair or two of cycling shorts. As always, you should consult with your physician before commencing with any new workout program
What form of money should I travel with?
Cash, Credit and ATM Cards are accepted at the establishments we will be visiting. You will also have access to bank machines as we drive through different towns along the way. For cash please bring Canadian Dollars
Guests often ask us for guidelines on tipping their guides. The guides appreciate gratuities and divide them equally. Arbutus Routes prides itself on our outstanding crew and they are there to meet all your expectations. If you feel the service provided has been outstanding, the standard gratuity is 15% of the trip price. Tipping is at your discretion and this information is provided only as a suggestion
What temperatures should I expect?
Listed below are the average air temperatures in Penticton in Celcius. You can check up-to-date weather conditions prior to departing for your trip at www.weathernetwork.com and enter “Penticton” for the city.
What should I pack?
Although daytime temperatures are normally in the 70’s and 80’s (F), the mornings and evenings can be brisk. A lightweight jacket can be nice to start your rides in the morning or even a light fleece. All meals are casual dress so pack what you are comfortable with
Please keep in mind when choosing your luggage that there is limited space in the Van should we have a full trip. Try to pack as light as possible and take only the essentials. Excess baggage can be a burden to you and to your guides. We recommend packing in a soft sided bag as they are more flexible with the space they require.
The following is a list of items you must include in your packing:
Do I need a daypack to bike with?
NO. All of our rides are vehicle supported so you won’t need to carry any additional gear on your back. You are more than welcome to ride with a Hydration Pack if you prefer or any other carrier for the bikes. We keep the bikes as light as possible and avoid paniers or other racks and let the van support do the work so you can do less on the rides.
Should I bring my own snacks?
Plenty of food and snacks will be available to you at all times during the trip. However, you are welcome to bring snacks that you prefer. We eat very well on the trips so you won’t go hungry
Is wine included in the trip?
Wine is included for all of our wine tastings and private tours during the trip. Wine or other alcohol is not included at our meals and can be purchased by each guest. Our days are designed that we do our exercise in the morning and then focus on wines and food for the afternoons. We don’t mix the wines and the rides.
You are very welcome to purchase as much wine as you like at the various wineries, which can be shipped to you at home or we can load any wine into our shuttle van. A number of the wineries also offer wine clubs that you may choose to become a part of if you love their wines and they will handle all deliveries of wine for you.