Wines of the Okanagan

The Golden Mile Bench

British Columbia’s first sub appellation

Originally known for its gold mines today. It is known for its wines. At one time 60% of all Okanagan grapes were grown here. It is one reason Oliver became known as the wine capital of Canada. The Golden Mile sub region lies south of Oliver on an east-facing bench backed by gentle mountains. Located a few miles south of Oliver the golden mile is 21 Km (13 miles long). Read more about the Golden Mile

Golden Mile is defined by a series of alluvial fans cut by four creeks coming down from the mountains on the west side of the Okanagan Valley. Much of the soil was laid down when the last glacier retreated. There is an overall consistency to these soils some clay, some gravel, lots of rocks that are well worn by having been tumbled by the glacier. These are generally well-grained soils with a modest amount of organic matter. The vineyards on these fans generally have an east to south-east aspect, with occasional north-east aspects. The vines catch the early morning sun. As Bill Eggert likes to say, a person is at his best in the early morning; why should it be different for vines? The vines are also in the shade of the mountains by late afternoon*

The Golden Mile become the first sub-appellation of the Okanagan . In 2014 the Golden Mile became the first sub-Designated Viticultural Area (or sub-Geographical Indication) of the Okanagan Valley DVA. Some of the distinguishing factors of the region include its land form, landscape position, mesoclimate, air drainage and soil materials that make it distinct within the Okanagan Valley, contributing to the production of unique wines.

The Golden Mile Bench region is on the prominent terrace escarpment southwest of Oliver that runs south from Fairview Road and near Highway 97.The Golden Mile sub-appellation would include: The term appellation refers to where the grapes are grown not where the winery is located.

The criteria outlining the unique Golden Mile Bench GI are:

  1. Slope. Fluvial fans with an easterly-facing slope of between 5 to 15%, creating a mesoclimate and assisting with air drainage.
  2. Soil. Coarse-textured and without water table ​influence within the rooting zone, derived entirely from geological formations of Mount Kobau.
  3. Elevation or aspect. Minimum elevation is defined by the base of Hester and Tinhorn Creek escarpments, with maximum at the apex of the Reid Creek fan.

What is important to remember it is the location of the Vineyard not the tasting room that determines the destination

  • Fairview Cellars
  • Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery
  • Hester Creek
  • Road 13
  • Tinhorn Creek
  • CC Jentsch Cellars
  • Inniskillin Okanagan
  • Culmina Family Estate Winery
  • CheckMate Artisanal Winery
  • Rustico Farm and Cellars
  • Willow Hill Vineyards.

The total Golden Mile bench is about 1,500 acres in size, with about 800 acres covered in vines.There are 4 alluvial fans that make up the GMB: Testalinden, Hester,Tinhorn and Reid the alluvial fan system of the GMB is that fans are conical that allows for better air drainage

One of the best things about the golden mile bench is the near frost free aspect! The entire Bench is 40-100m above the valley floor making it frost free in the Fall and Spring

Most of the OK soils are mixed due to glacial sediments but the GMB is entirely from Mt Kobau material

Wineries of the Golden Mile and Oliver region

Golden Mile Bench Wineries
Black Sage Road Wineries
Oliver Wineries

~ Osoyoos Lake Bench ~ The Golden Mile ~ Similkameen Valley ~ Okanagan Falls ~ Skaha Lake
~ Naramata Bench Summerland and Peachland ~ Mount Boucherie ~ Kelowna and Lake Country
~ Northern ~ Kootenays ~ Thompson River Valley ~ Black Sage


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