The Okanagan Valley is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Mountains tower above vineyards and orchards which run for miles across the valley floor. And the light, the light makes the whole place magical. The valley is steely blue in the morning and the afternoon sunlight makes the lakes sparkle like glitter. In the evening, as the sun sets and the light wanes, the valley yellows and shadows stretch for miles.
As you drive through the valley, fancy wineries alternate with rustic looking fruit stands. The wineries are surrounded by row upon row of regimental vines stretching into the haze of the sun. In stark contrast, the fruit stands are surrounded by rusting farm machinery and wooden crates awaiting the apples and pears ripening on the trees around them.
My favourite winery was, without question, Rustico – just outside Oliver. The stetson toting proprietor stood behind his bar pouring our tasters into little tumblers as if he was pouring shots in a saloon. His approach was perfectly in keeping with the decor of the ranch style winery, where saddles adorn fences and wagons act as flower pots.