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Uncover the Grape Origins of Kamloops' Wine Culture

By Tourism Kamloops/

Great Taste of Canada

Explore one of British Columbia’s newest wine regions, the Thompson Valley, in Kamloops, and indulge in its exceptional wines, ranging from crisp whites to fruity reds that have earned national awards, making them a must-try for wine enthusiasts.

To impress your friends with some fancy wine terminology, use the French term "terroir," which describes how the distinct environment of an area, including the soil, topography, and climate, shapes the character and flavour of the wine produced there.

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Monte Creek Winery | Photo credit: Royce Sihlis

About the Region

The Thompson Valley Wine Region, recognized as one of BC's newest geographic indications (appellations) in 2018, produces unique wines in Kamloops. The region is known for its whites, including Riesling, Chardonnay, Frontenac Blanc, and Le Crescent, as well as its reds, such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Marechal Foch, Marquette, and Gamay Noir. By combining classic grape varieties with new blends, the region creates distinctive flavours. The region is home to 4 wineries with 125 acres under vine.

Located in the Thompson Basin, the wine region stretches 130 km from east to west between Chase and Cache Creek and extends into the north arm of the North Thompson River Valley. Fortunately, the four wineries in the region are located in and around Kamloops, making them easily accessible from the city.

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Monte Creek Ranch Winery | Photo credit: Royce Sihlis

Terroir Talk

The Thompson Valley was formed by a glacier over thousands of years, leaving behind clay and sandy loam soils known as 'glaciolacustrine.' These soils give local wine its crisp, mineral taste, with most of the soil composed of mineral particles and limestone deposits sitting on top of deep volcanic rock, which provides excellent drainage and helps produce outstanding wines.

The semi-arid Thompson Valley Wine Region is situated at 50.6 degrees north, making it one of the northernmost wine regions with a short growing season and cold winters. The wine produced in the area is affected by extreme temperature shifts between day and night, known as a diurnal temperature shift, which helps to give the wine its signature bright natural acidity.

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Photo credit: Field & Forest

The region enjoys 2,013 hours of annual sunshine, more than California's famous Napa wine region. During the shorter growing season, the area gets an average of 14.75 hours of sunshine per day. The vineyards also benefit from low levels of rainfall and active airflow, which regulate temperatures and humidity, making the area a pleasant place for hiking and exploring, as well as growing excellent grapes.

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Privato Vineyard & Winery | Photo credit: Royce Sihlis

From Vine to Wine 

Kamloops winemakers strongly believe in the idea that "wine is made in the vineyard," as the way grapes are grown significantly influences the final product. Wineries in Kamloops use sustainable methods that give their wine a uniquely bright and fresh taste while still being complex. Each winery has its unique approach to winemaking, and visitors can explore all four by taking a guided tour or driving themselves.

The first commercial vineyards in Kamloops were planted in 2005 by the team at Sagewood, and between 2012 and 2015, four wineries opened: Sagewood Winery, Harper's Trail Estate Winery, Privato Vineyard & Winery, and Monte Creek Winery.

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Photo credit: Wines of British Columbia

Kamloops' wine region offers a unique experience for wine enthusiasts, with its distinctive terroir, sustainable winemaking practices, and award-winning wines. Whether you're a seasoned wine connoisseur or a curious beginner, a visit to Kamloops' four wineries will provide a taste of what makes this region's wine culture so special. Cheers to discovering new and exciting wines in Kamloops!

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Harper's Trail Estate Winery | Photo credit: Royce Sihlis