The southern most vineyards in the Okanagan grow on the Osoyoos
Lake Bench. This is one of the narrowest points of the Okanagan Valley-Osoyoos,
in fact, is a First Nations word meaning “narrows of the
lake”-and one of the hottest temperatures. Osoyoos (pop. 5,200), a Spanish-themed
lakeside town next to the US border, averages summertime temperatures
that are three to five degrees higher than those in Penticton.*
The dominant grape here is red. Leading varieties are Merlot,
Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Canada’s
first successful Zinfandel block or section of grapes. Whites are also planted,
notably Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. The leading producers
that get Osoyoos Lake Bench grapes include Jackson-Triggs, Mission Hill,
CedarCreek, Osoyoos Larose, Inniskillin Okanagan and Nk’Mip Cellars.
Constelation Brands (owners of Jackson -Triggss) have the
most extensive vineyards that were planted in 1998 and 1999
on the eastern and northeastern side of Osoyoos Lake, on slopes rising
about 60 metres (200 feet) above the valley floor. These have been named
Bull Pine, Sun Rock, Bear Cub, McIntyre and Whitetail. The bench on the
western flank of the valley is perched slightly higher and has a more complex
mix of sand, clay and gravel.
Osoyoos Lake is the warmest fresh water lake in Canada and provides for great summer time activities An oasis in
Canada's only desert - the Sonora Desert.
Summers are generally very hot with July and August being warmer than Napa Valley, but the evenings are markedly cooler. Osoyoos has 1450 growing degree days and 8 inches of average annual rainfall*
The Town of Osoyoos wraps it self around the lake. Just beyond the town city centre you find its many wineries and vineyards.
Some of the more noted wineries are Nk'Mip Cellars, La Stella and Twisted Tree with numerous other wineries resource grapes from the area.
Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Franc are some of the grapes grown here