The Naramata Bench is a major wine region in the Okanagan.
If you are arriving from the south it is the first wine region along Okanagan
Lake on the east side of the lake (the main highway
runs along the west side). There is only one way in and one way out, you
must go through the city of Penticton to reach
the bench. Thirty-two wineries (as of April 2013) call Naramata Bench their home.
The rolling hills and
variable soil types result in unique microclimates
that can be matched to the right varieties by experienced fruit growers.
The eastern side of Lake Okanagan basks in warm sunny days resulting in
a super long growing season. The moderating effects of the lake and gentle
slopes minimize the incidence of frost and enable fruit-harvests at optimum
Okanagan Lake tempers the climate, meaning no vine-killing
winter temperatures, few late spring frosts and a very long autumn that
brings grapes to optimal ripeness. Merlot and other Bordeaux reds grow
well here, along with elegant Pinot Noir, peppery Syrah, full-flavoured
Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Viognier.
Hillside Estate Winery began planting their vineyards here in 1984 and
is the only BC winery to produce Muscat Ottonel, a truly unique and unusual aromatic white wine.