Summerland is well known for its many beaches and incredible views of Okanagan Lake. Hiking is just one of the many activites to do in Summerland. Take advantage of the trails and hike up Giant's Head Mountain Park to the summit for a spectacular view of Okanagan Lake and Summerland. There is a parking lot close to the top and hiking trails from there to the summit. Visit www.summerlandchamber.bc.ca to discover the many activities Summerland offers.
British Columbia's Wine Region
The Province of British Columbia is home to over 100 wineries, and there are four distinct wine regions in British Columbia: the Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island. The Okanagan Valley accounts for ninety-five percent of total production. While the region has yet to establish sub-appellations, the Black Sage Bench, the Osoyoos Lake Bench and the Golden Mile are emerging micro-climates worth noting.
While international data is not broken down by region, Canada, as a country, ranks thirty-fourth in terms of global wine production. The closest New World wine region in size to Canada is New Zealand, which ranks twenty-sixth.
France ranks first for world wine production, at 55.3 million hectolitres (1,216.600 million gallons) in 2002. Italy is second at 43 million hectolitres (946 million gallons) in 2002. Spain has the most area under vines in the world and production comes in at the third highest in the world, yet is more variable each year due to scant rainfall and soil. The United States is the world's fourth largest producer of wine at 23 million hectolitres (506 million gallons.) Other rankings to note are Argentina at fifth, Australia at sixth, South Africa at eighth and Chile at sixteenth.
The Okanagan Valley
Over the last two decades the Okanagan Valley has become known as an extremely unique, breathtakingly beautiful, premium wine growing region. The diversity of vines that thrive here provides winemakers with a multitude of options to express their creative talents and technical experience. The region has attracted winemakers from around the world and is now home to vintners from France, Australia, California, New Zealand and South Africa.
The Okanagan Valley is a 200 km (124 mile) long trough that extends north from the 49th parallel into the central southern interior of British Columbia. The northern tip of the Sonoran Desert, which extends all the way south to Mexico, just barely touches across the USA-Canada border into the south Okanagan Valley in the town of Osoyoos. As Canada's only desert, geography has everything to do with the dryness of the southern British Columbia interior and shapes the landscape for viticulture.
The climate of the Okanagan Valley is governed by the region's location in the lee of the Coast Mountain Range. Weather west of the Coast Range in Vancouver is wet but the mountains act as an effective weather block and a rain shadow effect is produced east in the Okanagan Valley. Rainfall is lowered to an annual average of 410mm (16 inches) in the north (Kelowna) and 200mm (eight inches) in the south (Osoyoos).
Summer months are dry and warm with rainfall usually in the form of brief showers. June is the wettest month. Short, hot periods occur when dry continental air invades the area from the desert region of the southeastern United States. Temperatures can often reach 35° C (95° F) or more. The average temperature during the warmest month in the south Okanagan (Oliver) is 22°C (71.6 °F).
Okanagan Valley Terroir
Vineyards have been established primarily on benches, glacial lake deposits and slope deposits. The soils were mostly deposited in the valley during the last ice age and they vary in texture and depth, which influence their water and nutrient holding capacity and may influence rooting depth. Soil conditions just north of the town of Oliver at MacIntyre bluff, a steep cliff, are all glacial deposit and south of this point the soils are glacial flow.
Most of the Valley's vineyards are planted on southern or western slopes to take advantage of higher Growing Degree Days, aiming for 1,390 days and above. Growing Degree Days are calculated by accumulating the number of days where there is sufficient heat to encourage plant growth; for grapes, growth begins at temperatures greater than 10°C / 50°F.
The Growing Degree Days in some other wine growing regions are as follows:
Growing Degree Days
1,363 to 1,913
Napa Valley, California, USA
The southern part of the Okanagan Valley (from Kelowna to Osoyoos) has a moderate climate suitable for grape production. A chain of pristine blue lakes fed by several rivers runs the length of the Valley, moderating intense summer air masses and chilly winter air alike. Viticulturists throughout the Okanagan depend on the water-moderated climate. Intense sunlight and minimal rainfall allow the grapes to ripen to their full maturity while cool nights help them to retain high acidity. These climatic conditions, along with an adaptation to the Okanagan's varying soil structure and excellent viticulture practices, produce wines that are full-bodied and highly flavoured with good acidity.
Okanagan Lake is the largest body of water in the Valley. To its immediate south lie three smaller lakes: Skaha, Vaseaux, and Osoyoos. The breathtaking landscape features jagged grey cliffs edging the lake, and sage and grass covered rolling hills complete with scenic orchards, vineyards and quaint towns.
Some of the latitudes of other key wine growing regions are: