Similkameen Valley: Cawston & Keremeos

When you first set foot in the Similkameen Valley, you might think you’re taking a step back in time. As you drive off Highway 97 along the Crowsnest Highway south of Penticton, you’ll take in the winding Similkameen River that breathes life into the steep terrain of mountains, rolling grasslands and farms and ranches. They harken back to a simpler era where life didn’t seem so pressed. 

In fact, the tourism association offers up three modest words to describe the valley: Rugged, Rustic, Real.

You can almost picture “old-timey” gold panners lining the banks of the river, sifting for treasure that was once thought to flow with the current. In fact, if you stop on its shores, you can still try your luck at striking it rich, although anything you find today will probably amount to only a token souvenir.

But what remains true today is the fact that the area is a boon for agricultural growth. The Similkameen Valley is considered the Organic Capital of Canada, as well as the Fruit Stand Capital. Indeed, you needn’t go very far to find an abundance of fresh produce grown without the need for pesticides. The area enjoys a dry, breezy climate that helps keeps farmland free of insects, rot and mildew, which makes it highly suitable for organic growing.

In addition, it is increasingly being recognized as an emerging wine region is one of the province’s Geographical Indications, with 15-plus wineries making both grape and fruit products in the bottle. Most are concentrated in the Keremeos-Cawston area. They’ll make you think twice about what is possible with the region’s bounty.

The Similkameen boasts scores of accessible fishing lakes along with the remote backcountry terrain of Cathedral Provincial Park, a major attraction to adventure seekers looking for unparalleled experiences and breathtaking views. History buffs will be drawn to the old frontier-like atmosphere and landscape.



similkameen valley wineries - Cawston and Keremeos

Common varieties grown: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Syrah, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Pinot Gris

Average Daily High Temperature July: 29C
Average Hours of Sunshine: 2600
Average Annual Rainfall: 256 mm
Soil: Stony, gravelly, and silty loams

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