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Five questions to consider when creating the PERFECT Kelowna Wine Tour Experience!

By | Blog

Mission Hill Wine Tour ExperienceWine Touring is one of the Okanagan’s greatest activities, but how can you ensure that you have the perfect wine tour experience in Kelowna? Each group is unique and will enjoy different aspects of wine touring, so to curate the perfect trip we start by asking these five questions:

  1. How much time do you have?
    This is one of the first questions we ask our clients. Do you want to tour for a full day or half day? For a lot of our guests, half a day tasting wine (typically five wineries) can be more than enough for a great tasting experience! If you are only looking to do a half day tour, try to minimize your driving time and choose a region with wineries that are close together such as West Kelowna, Lake Country or Summerland! Full day tours can be spectacular when you plan them right too! Starting around 9:30am or 10:00am (many wineries don’t open until 10am!), make sure to include at least 1.5 hours for a nice lunch stop at one of the incredible winery restaurants. When planning a full day tour, consider a region you may not have visited before – maybe Okanagan Falls or the Naramata Bench region? You can break up the drive with tasting stops in West Kelowna & Summerland on the way too!
  1. Do you want to include a lunch or dinner stop?
    Including a lunch or dinner stop can be a great addition to a wine tour. Taking a lunch break during a full day tour is great, but what about starting an afternoon tour after a beautiful lunch or concluding a great day of touring with a winery dinner? Some wine tour companies offer a package where they will pick you up after dinner too, so yes, order that second glass of Merlot…
  1. What kind of wines do you like?
    Different regions can feature different types of wine. If you are solely a white wine drinker, a trip to Lake Country might be the perfect fit! The climate in that norther region has developed incredible sparkling, white & rosé wines… and maybe give Pinot Noir a try (especially at 50th Parallel Estate Winery), it’s a softer red wine! If bigger & bolder is your style of red wines you should consider heading South. The extremely dry desert climate of the Naramata Region has produced some of the tastiest reds in the valley. If you are like us, and literally love ALL wine, try a region that has some cool and unique wine shops. The East Kelowna Wine Route includes the Vibrant Vine Winery who hand out 3D glasses upon arrival for you to enjoy their stunning artwork and 3D labels on their wine bottles. Or learn about the impact that sound waves have on the wine making process at Frequency Winery.
  1. What are your wine buying intentions?
    Is the purpose of your trip to restock your wine cellar or are you out for a fun day testing your palate? If you are hoping for private or exclusive tastings of certain wines for your cellar, these types of tastings can be arranged in advance and sometimes even with the Sommelier or Wine Maker themselves! If you are planning to buy and don’t want to break the bank, it’s also good to keep in mind the average price of a bottle of wine at the wineries you are visiting.

Pro Tip: Set your wine buying budget ahead of time so there are no surprises on your credit card statement when you get home (and yes, I say this from experience!). A good rule of thumb when wine touring is to pick 2 bottles from each winery and try to buy at least one bottle of bubbly, white, rosé and red wine for a fun selection when you get home!

Keep a look out for case discounts (ie. save 10% to 15% if you buy 12 bottles), you can often mix & match cases too, so if 12 bottles of the same wine seem like a big commitment, try and throw in another varietal or two!

  1. Should you book with a tour company?
    First things first, don’t drink and drive! Five 1oz tasters of wine = a glass of wine and typically you will consume all 5 tasters within 20 minutes during a tasting. So, after hitting one or two wineries you’ll be pushing the legal limit very quickly! Thank goodness there are over 60 wine tour companies in the Okanagan Valley. When choosing which wine tour company to book, check out their online reviews, ask your friends & family for recommendations or call a local concierge (like us!) before booking.

After considering those five questions, you should have a pretty good idea as to what the perfect wine tour would be for you and your group! Wine touring is meant to be fun, informative and delicious – if you have any questions or need some guidance on planning the perfect wine tour, contact our team for customized recommendations!

 

Kelowna is OPEN and ready to welcome visitors during Fire Season. We are OPEN!

By | Blog

Firstly, we want to express our deepest sympathies to all the evacuees who have been displaced because of the multiple fires burning throughout the Okanagan Valley. Having been evacuated during the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire back in 2003, we completely empathize with those who have had to pack up their lives in a short period of time to head to safety. We thank the hundreds of firefighters, pilots, and volunteers that are working countless hours keeping our city, structures and residents safe.

As a small business we have struggled with how to address the fine line between trying to promote our tourist-dependent business and show respect and sympathy for those in our community facing such hardships because of these fires. We are only one of the hundreds of small businesses in Kelowna that depend on the influx of visitors to our beautiful vacation destination to make their livelihood. So how do we continue to market our destination when news outlets are fixated on advertising that our “City is on Fire”? We need to challenge back with the reality of the situation. The fires have impacted the region, no question there, but there are still hundreds of incredible activities that can still be enjoyed and need our support!

Kelowna Tourism Fire

Photo Credit: @explorethemap_

 

How to Support the Tourism Industry During Fire Season in Kelowna:

The wine is still being poured, the lake is still refreshing, and the restaurants are still serving. The following activities are great examples of how to support the tourism industry while still respecting those impacted by the fires:

  1. Winery Experiences
    One of the Okanagan Valley’s most premier activities is wine touring. The wineries are still open and ready to delight your palette. When planning a wine tour, please check road conditions (DriveBC is a great resource) to ensure your planned route is not impacted by the fires.
  1. Water Activities
    The Okanagan Lake stretches 135km from Vernon to Penticton for you to enjoy a refreshing swim, day on the boat or paddle along the Kelowna Paddle Trail. Please keep in mind that fire fighting efforts use the lake as well, avoid boating around areas where water pickups are required.
  1. Support Local Shops
    Whether you are a resident or a visitor to Kelowna, try to support local shops as much as possible! This Saturday, July 21st,  is the Downtown Kelowna Block Party on Bernard Avenue and the Kelowna Farmers’ & Crafters’ Market happens every Wednesday & Saturday through the summer.
  1. Eat & Drink Local
    The Okanagan Valley provides us a bounty of incredible ingredients that our local Chefs showcase at restaurants throughout the valley. Many restaurants also have extensive wine lists supporting the BC Wine Regions which make it easy to support local while dining.
  1. Respect the Valley
    We hope you continue to enjoy the mountains, regional parks and many other outdoor experiences in the Valley. Please respect the fire bans, be aware of your surroundings and ensure to report any potential fires to *5555 on your mobile phone.

We encourage you to continue to promote our beautiful destination and encourage those family members, friends and guests to come and enjoy Kelowna. The sun continues to shine, the lake still sparkles, and our tourism partners are open and ready to welcome visitors!

Kelowna Fire Tourism

Kelowna is OPEN and ready to welcome visitors!

Why use a local concierge service?

By | Blog
Kelowna Concierge, your local concierge

The Team at Kelowna Concierge

A question that we get asked a lot is “what is a local concierge service?” or “why use a local concierge service?” so here are the top 6 reasons to contact us when planning an Okanagan Vacation, hosting out-of-town guests in Kelowna or just wanting to experience something new and different in the valley!

  1. We are the local experts!
    Our entire business model revolves around showcasing the best of the Okanagan Valley to our clients. We have developed close relationships with all our industry partners and fully understand the products and services that they offer. We know where to go, at what time of year (or even what time of day!) for you to have the best experience.
  2. We customize your experience
    We know that every client is different and therefore requires a slightly different experience. We truly get to know our guests and what they value while on vacation, so that we can recommend the perfect trip, adventure or tour. We are also then able to customize a specific experience that will be the most enjoyable for our guests (like finishing up a wine tour with a quick stop at one of the best Ice Cream Parlour’s in the city!).
  3. We vet our industry partners
    It is very common for people to conduct a lot of research before booking a hotel, tour company, or local attraction – and rightly so! By using a local concierge service, we’ve already done the research for you! We ensure that any company that we recommend has it’s proper licensing, has good business standing, is professional and will deliver a service that we are proud to recommend to our guests.
  4. We recommend things that you may not find online
    Some of the most authentic and unique experiences in the Okanagan Valley may not be found online! Kelowna is the entrepreneurial capital of Canada and many of the incredible small business throughout the valley do not have the best online presence. Let us recommend the local’s favourite bakery, the best cocktail bar in the city or the ‘hole in the wall’ brewery that is producing delicious craft beer!
  5. We support you before, during and after your vacation
    We understand that things can change! Maybe it’s your itinerary that needs to be shifted by a week, your in-laws surprised you and are joining you on vacation or you need to postpone an activity – we can make any adjustments on your behalf. Once you have booked with Kelowna Concierge, we become your exclusive Okanagan Travel Agent. So, once your vacation has finally arrived, you can stay in vacation-mode the entire time you are here!
  6. We cost the same, or LESS!
    A common misconception is that using a concierge service is expensive when we may actually SAVE you money! We’ll ensure that you are receiving the best pricing for your ideal experience, booking with the best local partners and not wasting any time or money on services you may not need. Kelowna Concierge also has preferred pricing and exclusive opportunities with many industry partners that are not available to the general public.

Much like a luxury hotel concierge, we want you to have the best, most unique & authentic experience while enjoying the Okanagan Valley. We pride ourselves on creating the best vacation itineraries, hosting the most incredible Okanagan Wine, Craft Beer and Local Distillery Tours and simply recommending the most premier services throughout the valley.

Kelowna Fall Wine Festival

Falling for Fall – 5 Ways to Experience Kelowna this Fall

By | Blog

The temperature has already dipped in Kelowna to the perfect fall temperature. Bring out your scarves, jean jackets and favourite boots and fall for these incredible Kelowna fall activities.

Fall Wine Festival
September 29th to October 8th

The 37th Annual Fall Wine Festival is a mere few days away and includes some of the best events of the year! From intimate Wine Maker’s Dinners to grandiose Wine Tastings there is truly an incredible experience waiting for any wine-lover.

Kelowna Concierge is offering a unique Fall WestJet Wine Festival Tasting Experience & Private OAK + CRU Dinner to kick of the festival. It’s an evening full of great food, delicious wines and better yet, all your transportation is included! Limited tickets are available here.

Brunch lovers look no further! The Delta Hotels Grand Okanagan Resort is hosting Sips & Cipes Thanksgiving Brunch on Sunday, October 8th. Featuring a mimosa station, Caesar bar and incredible brunch spread for $49.00/person. It’s the perfect place to gather the family for a midday Thanksgiving celebration (did we mention the mimosa & Caesar bars?).

Market to Table Kelowna Tours

Shop Local, Support Local!

 

Kelowna Farmers’ & Crafters’ Market
Wednesday & Saturdays (until Saturday, November 4th)

The easiest way to join the “Support Local” movement is to shop at the Kelowna Farmers’ & Crafters’ Market. Featuring farm, food and craft vendors from Armstrong to Summerland you can truly find most of your essentials here! The market remains outdoors on the corner of Dilworth & Springfield until Saturday, November 9th – Holiday shopping anyone? #96daystilChristmas

Kelowna Fall Activities - Mushroom Festival

Okanagan Mushroom Festival.

 

Okanagan Mushroom Festival with Start Fresh Kitchen
Saturday, October 6th

The Start Fresh Kitchen has planned a foraging field trip that will delight any fungi lover! Jump in with Kelowna Concierge & Chef Michael Buffett for a road trip to the Shuswap and participate in either the beginner or advanced foraging experience. A fireside meal with your freshly found goodies is included – a must-do experience this Fall! Get Tickets here.

Kelowna Fall Activities - Happy Hour

The happiest hours of the day!

 

The Return of Happy Hour!

Now that we have waved good-bye to the plethora of summer tourists many places have reignited Happy Hour (or continued the beloved deals) in the afternoon.

Sandhill Wines not only offers their tasty wines for $6/glass on Fridays from 5pm to 7pm but also features appies & live music in September. That truly makes for 2 of the happiest hours each week!

OAK + CRU Social Kitchen & Wine Bar has a $5 bites & $6 bevies nearly all week long from 3pm to 6pm (Sunday to Friday). With firepits & heaters on their patio, you might even be able to throwback to summer outside and enjoy the lakeview!

Central Kitchen + Bar is a local favourite! They have drink features all throughout the week (check them out here) including $1 per 1oz of Wine on Mondays and $4.50 Caesars on Sunday. During Happy Hour you can enjoy any of their delicious drink features at their special prices and for whatever reason, each drink always tastes like another…

Kelowna Fall Activities - Light Up the Vines

Photo Credit: Light Up the Vines

 

Light up the Vines on Bottleneck Drive
Saturday, November 18th and Saturday, November 25th & Sunday, November 26th

One of our favourite fall events is Light up the Vines at the Bottleneck Drive Wineries. Grab a passport and taste your way through Summerland to enter to win some fun prizes. The wineries feature special tastings, bites and Holiday promotions that make for a fun fall weekend. Stay tuned for a special Kelowna Concierge Event!

15 Activities To Do This Summer – Our Kelowna Bucket List

By | Blog

Blog Prologue: This list was written by Jillian & easily forced on the rest of the Kelowna Concierge Team!

It’s already half way through July and I feel like there are still so many incredible things that we need to experience this summer. So, the first step to doing it all, is to create a Summer Kelowna Bucket List! Follow along our journey through 15 adventures with #SummerWithKC

#1 – Have a White Night Out: Okay, this one might be cheating because it already happened, but for those of you who haven’t experience this beautiful event, you must add it to your bucket list for next summer! Diner en Blanc Okanagan is an elegant, sophisticated, BYO-everything event where the location is a secret until the day-of!

Kelowna Bucket List - Diner en Blanc

Kelowna Concierge Team at le Diner en Blanc!

 

#2 – Take the Megamoo Challenge: I just saw this on Instagram for the first time this weekend and it’s a challenge I’d absolutely love to take on. 10 flavours of delicious Moolix Ice Cream piled high on a fresh waffle cone, this truly may be a challenge for the four of us!

Kelowna Bucket List - Moolix

Instagram Photo Credit: @moolixkelowna

 

#3 – Shop, Learn & Cook with a Local Chef: We are so spoiled in the Okanagan Valley with the amount of fresh ingredients we have at our disposal. Spending a day with Start Fresh Project’s Michael Buffett at the Kelowna Farmers’  & Crafters’ Market, his own local farm and then cooking all our ingredients sounds like a fun and tasty day! Join us on the Market to Table Culinary Tour.

#4 – Take a Goga Class: okay, yoga + baby goats = GOGA! I don’t even know how this came to be, but I know I MUST try it immediately at Hoof Prints Barnyard.

Kelowna Bucket List - Goga

Instagram Photo Credit: @hoofprintsbarnyard

 

#5 – Hop Aboard and Experience a Train Robbery: the Historic Kettle Valley Steam Railway hosts these fun nights that include a 2 hour train ride and BBQ dinner at the Prairie Valley Station, what a cool way to explore the valley.

#6 – Have a true Kelowna Sunday Funday! A little sleep in followed by brunch (caesar & mimosa please!) to start the day. Now on to a tasting-crawl: brewery, winery, cidery, distillery… choosing between your favourite beverages is like choosing a favourite child! Do Sunday Funday with us!

Kelowna Bucket List - Sunday Funday

Sunday Funday Tour!

 

#7 – Sing & Sip at the Mile High Wine & Music Festival: Does wine really taste better at 5,280 feet above sea level? There’s only one way to find out… Plus live music, Browns Social House bites and stunning venue at SilverStar Mountain Resort make this a must-do event!

Kelowna Bucket List - Mile High Wine Festival

Photo Credit: thewinefestivals.com

 

#8 – Find inner peace at Sunset Yoga: there are a few different venues that offer sunset yoga, but CedarCreek Winery’s event caught my attention “Enjoy an outdoor yoga class then relax in our wine garden while sipping on CedarCreek wine paired with a selection of local treats.” That’s like all of my favourite things!

#9 – Taste 40+ Beers in One Day: okay, I’m not talking about raiding a liquor store, I want to taste 40 different uniquely Okanagan Beers (and yes, I’ll need a driver or jump on the Brews & Views Tour!). With over 20 craft breweries in the Okanagan Valley, I think I could easily taste my way through this challenge.

#10 – Pack a Picnic and enjoy a Parks Alive Concert: there are some incredible artists that perform on Island Stage at Waterfront Park throughout the summer. The events are free, so I’ll probably spend way too much money at Mediterranean Market on Meats & Cheeses for the perfect cheese & charcuterie board!

Kelowna Bucket List - Parks Alive

Photo Credit: Parks Alive Festivals

 

#11 – Take Me Out to a Kelowna Falcons Game: there’s something exhilarating about watching live sports and the Kelowna Falcons often put on an amazing show! Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack’s….

#12 – Enjoy a double feature 1950’s Style: I have to admit that this has been on my bucket list for YEARS! So this summer it’s a must – the Starlight Drive-In in Enderby plays two feature films back to back for $11.00 per person!

Kelowna Bucket List - Starlight Drive In

Instagram Photo Credit: @starlightdriveintheatre

 

#13 – Survive Golfing 18 holes (straight!): Kelowna has so many stunning golf courses throughout the valley that range from expert to “I didn’t pick up my ball once!” levels. My goal is the latter, to golf a whole 18 hole course straight through, maybe somewhere gentle like Two Eagles Golf Course or Mission Creek Golf Club.

#14 – Fall in Love with a Local Artisan at the Kelowna Farmers’ & Crafters’ Market: each time I visit, there is something new and fabulous! From fruits, veggies, protein to incredible crafts, it’s always nice to support our local vendors. For the summer there is a Satellite Market on Bernard Avenue every Saturday.

#15 – Get Inspired by Billy Elliot: I’m such a sucker for a musical and Billy Elliot is one of my fave’s so I was delighted to hear that the Kelowna Actors Studio was bringing it to the stage at the Kelowna Community Theatre. Show runs July 27 – August 5.

Kelowna Bucket List - Billy Elliot

Photo Credit: kelownaactorsstudio.com

 

2017 Kelowna Concierge Bucket List:

  1. Have a White Night Out at Diner en Blanc
  2. Take the Megamoo Challenge
  3. Shop, Learn and Cook with a Chef (Market to Table Dinner)
  4. Take a Goga Class
  5. Hop aboard and experience a Train Robbery
  6. Have a true Kelowna Sunday Funday!
  7. Sing & Sip at the Mile High Wine & Music Festival
  8. Find inner peace at Sunset Yoga
  9. Taste 40+ Beers in one day (Brews & Views)
  10. Pack a Picnic and enjoy a Parks Alive Concert
  11. Take me out to a Kelowna Falcon’s Game
  12. Enjoy a double feature 1950’s style
  13. Survive golfing 18 holes (straight!)
  14. Fall in love with a local artisan at the Farmer’s & Crafter’s Market
  15. Get inspired by Billy Elliott

Follow us on our Bucket List Journey at #SummerWithKC

Kelowna Concierge, the Backstory

By | Blog

Imagine splitting a bottle (or three) of wine with your best friends and dreaming up the most perfect job you could think of. Listing your skill sets and passions and trying to work that into a job description – that’s exactly how Kelowna Concierge came to be!

Our story is four best friends, two newly engaged couples, who decided to take the leap into entrepreneurship as a team. In March 2017 it was decided that we were really going to do this, put everything we had into building a Concierge service for the city we love!

Kelowna Concierge

Chad & Jon both executed surprise mountain top proposals!

 

May Long Weekend 2017 was our target launch date, a nearly impossible task of making our dream a reality. Long days and late nights became standard as we Googled and read everything possible about starting a consulting & tour/transportation business. Logos, branding, licensing, website, permits, the list was an endless and exciting amount of work!

Kelowna Concierge

Kelowna Concierge Logo is born & worn! Right: Jon passes his Class 4 Driving Test, phewf!

 

Each of us took turns being the cheerleader as we overcame daily roadblocks, and we laughed at how easy launching a second company would be! The rewarding days quickly outnumbered the impossible days (thank goodness) and we made sure to celebrate our tiny milestones along the way.

Kelowna Concierge

It’s official: the website is live!!!

 

Kelowna Concierge was rapidly becoming a ‘real company’ with each permit received, application approved and registration form completed. No moment was bigger than seeing Chad drive our 11 passenger van off of the lot; a material representation of everything we had been working for! We’d done it, Kelowna Concierge was born!

Kelowna Concierge

Chad’s first drive in our new 11 passenger Ford Transit van!

 

The amount of support we received was overwhelming. Every friend, local business and fellow entrepreneur welcomed us with enthusiasm and support and we can not thank everyone enough! We love working with local companies like the Start Fresh Project by Chef Michael Buffett to market our beautiful destination and expose visitors to something new in the Valley.

Kelowna Concierge

Kelowna Concierge Team enjoying the Start Fresh launch party.

 

The ultimate goal for Kelowna Concierge is to allow visitors to experience the best that the valley has to offer. Something different than a routine wine tour, day spent on the lake or dining at a chain restaurant; Kelowna is so much more than that! We work with local companies that showcase how incredible and diverse our valley is and we want our guests to experience THAT Kelowna.

Kelowna Concierge

Our dream team: Jill & Chad, Jon & Jess