By Andrew Penner

As a golfer, I’ve become an excellent whine connoisseur. Hehe. Wine will not solve all of your problems, but neither will milk or water. Hehe. The most expensive part of having kids is all the wine you have to drink. These days, we need a few jokes to, well, make it through. If they involve golf and wine, all the better. My mental health tip for the day? Don’t just joke about golf and wine. Participate in them fervently. Especially when you’re in Kamloops.

It’s no surprise – given the fact that it’s framed on all sides by semi-arid, sun-blasted hills – that Kamloops is quickly evolving into one of BC’s most exciting new wine regions. (In 2018, the Thompson Valley was officially designated the ninth wine region in the province.)

Now is the time for us to stay local, wear our masks, and support local businesses with just our immediate household or bubble. Plan now for an incredible golf getaway to #explorekamloops when it is safe to do so. 

For visitors who want to sip and savour the outstanding wines (popular varietals include Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Maréchal Foch) in the region, the Kamloops Wine Trail (KWT) is the way to go. Launched in 2015, the KWT incorporates three of four licensed wineries in the region. They are: Monte Creek Winery, Harper’s Trail Winery, and Privato Vineyard & Winery. Each of these three family-operated wineries have their own unique character; and each one is well worth visiting.

Monte Creek, the largest winery in the area, is known for its stunning river,  mountain views and its range of wine offerings. The al fresco dining and contemporary tasting room exude the type of classy ambiance you’d expect to see in the Napa Valley. Harper’s Trail, the oldest winery in the region is named after the cattle drive trail of pinoeer rancher Thaddeus Harper. A rustic retreat that will appeal to both cowboys and connoisseurs alike. And, finally, Privato is an idyllic, tucked-away place that’s famous for its intimate wine garden and outstanding Burgundian-style wines.

While many choose to experience the Kamloops Wine Trail on their own via a self-driving tour, you can also book a scheduled tour (custom tours are also available) with TasteFull Excursions

For me, given the fact that I play a fair amount of golf and I’m already a decent whine connoisseur, becoming a wine connoisseur seemed like a sensible progression. So on my last visit to Kamloops (spring 2020), I played a morning round at the spectacular Robert Trent Jones-designed Rivershore Golf Links, then moseyed over to Monte Creek (it’s only ten minutes from the course) for a delicious tasting and lunch on the patio. Then I hit up nearby Harper’s Trail for a little swirl of, well, everything. My favourite was their award-winning Cabernet Franc, which recently won bronze at the 2020 Decanter Awards.

And, yes, with eight incredible courses in the Golf Kamloops collection – including some of the most spectacular lakeside courses in the country – that’s quite a lot of post-round wine. But this is not a bad thing. The only thing we actually want to limit is the whine. And, given how good the golf is in Kamloops, it’s not that hard to do.

Click here for more information about the Kamloops Wine Trail.

Andrew Penner is a freelance writer and photographer based in Calgary. You can follow him on Instagram @andrewpennerphotography.