One of my favourite things to do is drive up to the Okanagan to visit wineries and taste amazing award-winning wines along the way. I always thought that driving to and from each winery was the only way to tour wineries until I had an exciting opportunity to visit via helicopter! Yes, I got to take a chopper to and from wineries, soaring over the Okanagan and landing amongst vineyards!
We had a chance to fly with OK Heli and experience their all-inclusive heli-wine tour and I can’t say better things about the entire experience! From start to finish, we couldn’t stop smiling and were in awe of how stunning the Okanagan is from above. Goosebumps the entire trip. I would give anything to re-live this day over and over again, so I had to share all of the details with you!
We started at the Okanagan Heli Hangar which is located at the Kelowna International Airport in Kelowna, British Columbia. Our friendly pilot, Eric, was right at the gate to meet us and show us our ride for the next few hours, the R44 43 passenger Helicopter, where every guest has a window seat! We did a quick safety briefing and learned about the helicopter before we took off. I can’t even begin to explain how beautiful Kelowna looks from above. As we took off from the airport, we saw views of the Okanagan Golf Club, University of Okanagan, downtown Kelowna and East Kelowna, including spotting some of my favourite wineries such as Summerland Pyramid Winery!
Then, possibly my favourite site was when we flew over the mountainside as we approached Lake Okanagan. We saw the jaw-dropping cliffs of Naramata wrapping the lake below us, and as far out south to Penticton and even Okanagan Falls. What a site.
Our first winery stop was Fitzpatrick Estate Winery, Summerland’s brand new winery at the location of Greata Ranch located right off Highway 97 and home to some of the finest bubbles in the Okanagan. Flying in above the bluffs between Peachland and Summerland was breath-taking. We started with a tour of the winery facilities including a stroll in the underground sparkling wine caves where thousands of bottles are carefully placed. Fitz makes only traditional method sparkling wine, which means no bottle spends less than 24 months aging on its lees. This historic site has been producing high quality grapes since 1901. The tour was followed by a private tasting in their VIP room where we had a chance to taste wines for from their portfolio. We absolutely loved the unwinder Ehrenfelser (perfect patio wine!) and the Fitz Brut, a signature Cuvee made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with a hint of Meunier. We even had time to grab a quick bite and enjoyed woodfire pizza from their Bistro, which sources all ingredients locally, in true Okanagan fashion. We ate on their patio overlooking the Lake, vineyards and our helicopter of course 😉
From there, we flew along the east side of Lake Okanagan, enjoying breathtaking views of the vineyards of West Kelowna including soaring above the world-famous Mission Hill Winery. We then passed over the William R. Bennett bridge, and one of our favourite hiking spots in Kelowna, Knox Mountain. Then, we had a rare opportunity to see the private homes along Lake Country. I’ve never seen properties like these, they had private pools, mini golf courses, helicopter pads, and even tennis courts. It was like out of a movie!
We then landed in the stunning vineyards of Ex Nihilo Winery and were greeted (VIP style!) with sX Tous Imagine bubbles, a beautiful blend of Riesling and Gewurztraminer. I absolutely love visiting this winery because the staff is so friendly and makes you feel like family. It’s definitely one of the more premium wineries in the Okanagan. We were then lead to our private tasting in a room surrounded by barrels and local art throughout. We tasted their portfolio of wines and even enjoyed complimentary canapes from their outdoor bistro. I definitely want to go back and spend more time at this winery including lunch on their outdoor patio. Highlights for me included their Riesling and Pinot Noir. After our private tasting, we were up in the air again soaring over Kalamalka and Wood Lake before returning to the hanger at Kelowna International Airport.
I can’t thank OK Heli Tours enough for providing us with this incredible BC Wine Experience! I can tell you, hands-down, this is the most premium wine tasting experience you will ever get in the Okanagan. We highly recommend it for anyone looking for an exclusive, unforgettable experience. OK Heli will take you to some of the best wineries in the Okanagan, including Ex Nihilo, Fitz Wine, Mission Hill, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, 50th Parallel, Vibrant Vine, Liquidity, Misconduct and Painted Rock!
To book your very own, personalized heli-wine tour, contact OK Heli today and tell George I sent you! Tours require 2 people (minimum) to book. All-inclusive wine tours include tasting fees and a feature bottle of wine for each guest, for each winery visited. Also, be sure to ask how you can customize your very own tour!