When the work day wraps up, perhaps a bit early on a crisp fall day just as the lights around downtown Penticton flicker on, and a visiting colleague or client asks, “where can we walk to for a drink?” … the answer is simple. From craft beer to local spirits to wine bars, a sip is just a “hop” away.
In fact, a mini-tour of the growing beverage industry is possible with a pair of walking shoes.
On the ground floor of the new tower in the Penticton Lakeside Resort, the Great Estates Wine Experience Centre looks towards Okanagan Lake to the north, with its street-side entrance at the south. Walking in, you’re invited to the first experience: a wine tasting bar and shop, with an eye-catching map of the region’s wine terroir on the wall.
Flights of wines are available for a small fee at the bar, as well as in the Portfolio Room next to it. Small plates accompany a selection of wines for you to explore pairings and learn more about what’s in your glass. No reservations needed.
Then, for a more leisurely, yet in-depth, experience, the long table at the far end of the centre beckons with a chance to reserve your spot for Wine + Chocolate = Happiness (paired with recently opened French chocolatier Maison Mulnati), or Wine and Cheese, the Perfect Pairing, with more options to come.
Walking south from the lake along one of the main streets will take you to several options. Choose Winnipeg Street (opposite the famous peach), and you’ll find yourself at Bad Tattoo Brewing, home of the “red, white, or weird” pizzas. The menu changes with the seasons, as do the featured brews. Soon, two more craft breweries will open within two blocks. No wonder Penticton is Expedia’s number two beer town in Canada. (Read our previous post on Penticton’s beer scene.)
Choose Martin Street and you may want to stop at Time Winery and Kitchen.
A fully-functional winery in the heart of downtown, catch some action on the crush pad at harvest time. Step up to the wine tasting bar to sample the wide variety of wines available, then choose to purchase a bottle to take away, or have a seat in the bistro area for lunch or dinner. Cheese tastings or a selection of bruschetta for small bites.
The Time Burger, Roasted Marrow Bones, and Buttermilk Fried Duck Confit will satisfy any hungry wanderer before venturing out again. If the building feels somewhat familiar…you may have seen a movie there if you visited as a kid.
Walk north from Time, and visit Old Order Distilling for a cocktail or a tour of this downtown distillery on Martin Street. Sample the Heritage Vodka, Legacy Gin, Blessed Bean Liqueur, or — the unique Black Goat Vodka.
If you walk along Okanagan Lake, turn up Ellis Street, or get there by heading east from the downtown area. You’ll come to a corner that is typically buzzing (no pun intended), on a Friday after work or a weekend afternoon.
Cannery Brewing is an option for its casual atmosphere, complete with board games if you choose, as well as frequent appearances by local musicians.
Wildly creative brews, with a few labels paying tribute to the city’s history and area (Lakeboat Lager, Naramata Nut Brown, Skaha Summer Ale), you’ll probably run into an old friend or two while enjoying a brew.
Across the street is the industrially-sophisticated Mile Zero Wine Bar. Wine, of course, but cocktails, ciders, and beer too. Take up a game of friendly ping pong, enjoy charcuterie while a DJ spins some 90s hip hop. Regular events include Monday Flight Fight Night and Wine Nerd Wednesdays. As you sip in a local wine, the winemaker may be at a nearby table.
Photos courtesy of Dog Leg Marketing and Moments Under Frame for Cannery Brewing; Chris Stenberg for Time Winery; and All She Wrote.