Visions of Tuscany come to mind as the Okanagan Valley brings to life the passion of wine making. There are over 6,000 acres of grapes growing in the Valley, a supply great enough to support more than 200 wineries. Set against a breathtaking landscape, the region’s award-winning wines have brought new awareness to this destination. In fact, wineries like Nk’Mip Cellars – the first native-owned winery in Canada – Mission Hill, Summerhill, Cedar Creek and Quails’ Gate offer comprehensive facilities to service the needs of the meeting and incentive travel industry.
The full wine experience is so much larger than the wine. Many wineries offer world-class dining experiences, created by renowned chefs who marry regional cuisine with every imaginable vintage. In addition, wineries are developing cultural partnerships with theatrical troupes, musicians and artists who perform on-site for special events throughout the year.
One of the exclusive team-building experiences offered by Shop the Valley DMC is a fantastic Great Grape Stomp, sure to create the type of excitement and fun your group is looking for. This is a comprehensive event that is custom-designed to fit your group’s demographic, size and objectives. Contact us for more information on one of our most popular team building events.
The Okanagan is home to some of Canada’s most recognized chefs, a testament to the region’s appeal as a world-class culinary destination. Fresh produce – much of it organic – is grown in the fertile soil of the Okanagan Valley. Dozens of varieties of fruit, specialty cheeses, wild organic mushrooms, grain-fed beef, free range poultry and hundreds of varieties of lettuce, peppers and tomatoes are just some of the regional ingredients that chefs love to cook with.
Kelowna is home to many world-class dining establishments. Special events at wineries such as Mission Hill are sheer delight under the guidance of renowned executive chef, Michael Allemeier, whose resume includes lengthy stints at Bishop’s in Vancouver and Teatro in Calgary. Whatever your pleasure, the Okanagan delivers outstanding restaurants ideal for dine-around events. In addition, Shop the Valley has established relationships with the region’s finest catering companies, which do an outstanding job of creating customized menus that can bring a theme event to life while highlighingt the near-limitless bounty of the Okanagan Valley.
Photo Â© 2005 Michael Shane Studios for Okanagan’s Finest Foods
Arts and Entertainment
Named the Cultural Capital of Canada in 2004 for cities of 50,000 – 125,000 residents, Kelowna boasts public and private art galleries, three museums, highly-regarded theatre companies, ballet, a symphony orchestra and a world-class multi-purpose event facility and working artist gallery, the Rotary Centre for the Arts.
Much of the city’s cultural activity is concentrated along a six-block stretch along the downtown waterfront known as Kelowna Cultural District. There are four annual wine festivals, one to celebrate each season. The flagship 10-day Okanagan Fall Wine Festival attracts more than 175,000 attendees and the spring, summer and winter Ice Wine festivals are quickly gaining ground as equally popular celebrations of the world-class wines produced here.
Bronze Sculpture by Michael Hermesh, The Art Ark
Warm weather opens the door to a medley of recreation in this incredible outdoor playground. Hiking and cycling trails wind through desert terrain and rolling hills and alongside the fresh water lakes, rivers and streams. One of the most famous routes is the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) Trail, a nationalhistoric landmark that traces the old railway line through the Valley’s natural, protected areas.
The main cities of the valley are lakeside communities providing fabulous beaches, ideal for swimming and a variety of adventure sports such as boat cruises, canoeing, kayaking, parasailing, sailing, windsurfing, waterskiing and wakeboarding. Blessed more than 200 lakes, rivers and streams, fly fishing and still water fishing are extremely popular pursuits.
For groups more interested in the bounty of the land, area gardens, orchards and farms welcome visitors to admire the breathtaking sights and thriving tourism operations. The Okanagan is considered a forerunner in the development of agricultural tourism, or agri-tourism and attractions such as working commercial orchards, lavender farms and fruit cideries offer sophisticated tours, tastings, specialty gift shops and on-site dining.
In addition to skiing, heli-skiing and snowboarding, the Okanagan Valley offers lots to do in the great outdoors, fall through winter. Customized adventures can include snowshoeing, dog sledding, snowmobiling skating, ice fishing and horse-drawn sleigh rides.
A spa experience is the perfect balance to a fully charged itinerary. It’s a chance for delegates to step away from their worries and indulge themselves in some well-deserved R&R. Quality spa services are available in the major city centers and are also available at ski and golf resorts and specialty inns and B&Bs throughout the Valley.
The Okanagan Valley’s idyllic temperatures and arid conditions bring new meaning to the term champagne powder. The region produces over 24 feet of snow a year, creating perfect conditions for downhill skiing, snowboarding and cross country skiing. The area features three world-class ski resort destinations: Silver Star Mountain Resort, Big White Ski Resort and Apex Mountain.
Just a 40-minute transfer from downtown Kelowna is Big White Ski Resort, a modern alpine village that is a destination unto itself. A perfect place to stimulate ideas and renew creative energy, Big White is close enough to be a day trip on your itinerary. The resort offers first-class skiing and snowboarding without the line-ups found at other popular ski destinations. The resort is British Columbia’s second largest ski resort and offers world-class restaurants and full ski-in, ski-out accommodation.
Apex Mountain Resort is a full-service ski destination located 33 km (20 miles) from Penticton. First opened in 1960, Apex Mountain was recently voted best Small Destination Mountain Resort by Ski Canada magazine. Apex features 222 hectares (600 acres) of terrain, with 609 vertical metres or 2,000 vertical feet, which equates to some of the best fall line skiing in British Columbia.
There’s no doubt the Okanagan Valley is blessed with the ideal climate and landscape for golfers of all skill levels. Here, the golf season extends from mid-March through early November and offers a selection of championship courses to challenge the most avid golfer.
Close to Vernon, Predator Ridge Golf Resort offers 27 championship holes in a unique blend of open, links-style fairways. The course attracted golf legends like Fred Couples, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson and Mike Weir for the millennium Export “A” Skins Game.
Just minutes from downtown Kelowna is the Okanagan Golf Club, home to The Quail Course designed by Les Furber and The Bear Course designed by Jack Nicklaus. In southeast Kelowna, The Harvest Golf Club is carved out of a commercial fruit orchard and nearby Gallagher’s Canyon, boasts an 18-hole championship course as well as the challenging nine-hole executive course, The Pinnacle.
Further south, the warm, arid climate is the perfect haven for golf conditions. Some of the nearby courses include: Penticton Golf & Country Club, Osoyoos Golf & Country Club, Twin Lakes Golf Club and Summerland Golf Club.