There are wine tours and then there are heli wine tours. Helicopter wine tours are becoming wildly popular in the Okanagan and it has long been something I wanted to do but didn’t think I ever would.
But this 33rd birthday I was treated to an adventure checking off another Okanagan bucket list item.
This summer, and it has only just begun, has been one of the most exciting in recent history. Just coming off of the lockdown I have been overly eager to get out and explore my valley again but cautiously so. Looking for unique ways to celebrate where I live while also keeping with social distancing guidelines provided by Doctor Bonnie Henry. The Doc has made it possible for us in British Columbia to move on to phase 3 of re-opening and we, so it seems, have been listening pretty well.
Small groups of 6 or less are allowed to gather in public spaces and if it is an indoor activity, like in the case of our heli wine tasting experience, then masks can be required by the tour company or business.
As a tour operator myself, I am not rushing out to re-launch my food tours just yet. Many people from outside the area are visiting and this past week. with Canada Day having taken place, we may have a small outbreak on our hands within downtown Kelowna. This is still to be determined but it makes me extremely cautious about getting back out there with extended groups.
On to happier circumstances, my birthday was a blast thanks to my family for the planning and Valhalla Helicopter Tours for offering such a unique experience, heli wine tasting!
Have you ever been heli wine tasting or have you heard of it?
Heli wine tasting involves a helicopter tour to a local winery. You can choose from a selection of Valhalla’s winery partners. For my birthday the furthest winery was selected, one I don’t get out to all that often, 50th Parallel Estate Winery. They have an excellent array of wines including their “Glam Farmer” bubbles and their onsite restaurant, BLOCK ONE, is a must when in the Lake Country area of the Okanagan Valley (see it in the video!).
In the Okanagan, helicopters are a very common sight. No only are tours offered year round, including skiing tours, but our cherry farmers use helicopters to dry their orchards after a rain. Cherry orchards are located through the city including my neighbourhood.
This summer (2020) we’ve had a record amount of rain in the area which is terrible for ripe cherries. If water sits on these berries for too long it can split them which isn’t ideal for exporting or sales at the market.
I have noticed the local grapevines suffering for the lack of sunshine as well, their leaves turning yellow in need of chlorophyl, a process that is brought on by sunshine being exchanged into energy for the plant.
But from the sky you cannot tell so clearly. The valley is still beautiful despite the troubles below.
The lack of boats on the water has been unusual this time of year but the weather has been a predominant cause. I have yet to go SUP boarding, something I have been craving to do since the snow began to melt.
As for the rest of the summer? I still have more plans if you can believe it or not. Glamping in a yurt, another Naramata adventure, a trip to the Kootenays, and places I know but haven’t covered on the website before. It’s a year of focusing locally and I am happy I live where I do, and have Doctor Bonnie Henry in my corner of the world.
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