New World Vines in Okanagan Valley, Canada

Head to Canada’s next great wine route before everyone else finds out about it

For those looking for the "next" place to come along on the wine scene, trek to British Columbia and discover the Okanagan Valley.

Located just north of the Washington border in the U.S. and about four hours east of Vancouver, the eye-popping drive through the 150 mile-long valley greets you with desert-like terrain in the south, steep rolling hills, scenic lakes, and clusters of vineyards and towns along the way. The varying microclimates incubate grapes from around the world and you can expect to taste plenty of interesting varietals from pinot blanc, riesling, and gewürtztraminer to pinot noir, malbec, and syrah.

SLEEP: God's Mountain Estate is a Mediterranean-style villa with a casual and quirky elegance that overlooks Skaha Lake. When the weather permits, book the roofless, rooftop room. Further north in

Kelowna, Hotel Eldorado also offers lakeside views, fantastic wine, and chic, comfy rooms.

EAT: While sampling the grapes, don't miss the Sonora Room at the Burrowing Owl winery where the local terroir is showcased. RauDZ in Kelowna is a hot spot, serving excellent food from noted chef Rod Butters. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/iwona_kellie)

PLAY: With more than 200 wineries and 60 varietals to explore, spending a few days touring the vineyards is a given. Looking to justify the calories? Hop on a bike and follow the railway or take a hike through one of the many trails that showcase the natural wonders of the valley.

Get there now, before it becomes yesterday's news.

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