Now, this is my kind of safari.
Rather than tracking lions, elephants and rhinoceros, my wife, Kerry, and I are seeking wines in Osoyoos on electric bikes.
In fact, the only wildlife we’ll see on our vinous adventure is a mama duck and her ducklings, a couple of cats and dogs on leashes.
The name of the company we’re doing this tour with is called South Okanagan E-Bike Safaris.
“A safari doesn’t have to be in Africa because it also means journey,” said owner and guide Max Barclay.
“Thus said, we also decided to use the ‘safari’ name because my wife was born in Africa and I’ve also spent a lot of time there.”
My wife and I like to cycle and love wine, so such a safari is right up our alley.
The fact we’re on Cube 250-watt e-bikes is even better because it makes for maximum enjoyment with minimal effort.
The ‘safari’ starts at Nk’Mip, the first Indigeonous-owned winery in North America when it opened in 2005.
Since it’s only 10:30 am there’s no wine here, yet.
So we cruise down the hill through leafy vineyards to the town of Osoyoos, about five kilometres.
This is where we learn that Osoyoos may be a small Okanagan town at the Canada-US border with a permanent population of only 7,000, but that number balloons in the summer as tourists seek out Canada’s warmest lake (Osoyoos Lake), ideal weather in Canada’s only desert (the most northern tip of the Sonoran Desert), premium wines and that small town beachy vibe with all the amenities.
For instance, we stay at the luxurious and ideally located Walnut Beach Resort, which has all-suite accommodations, a huge pool and beach on Osoyoos Lake.
It’s getting close to noon, so we pedal to Adega Estate Winery for our first sips of wine.
The winery is up a steep hill, so the electric assist on the bikes are kicked up from eco to sport.
In the tasting room, co-owner Maria Nunes explains that Adega is Portuguese for wine cellar in keeping with her family’s heritage.
It’s also where we try all the winery’s crisp and refreshing whites — Viognier, Felicidade (named after Nunes’ mom), Riesling, Pinot Gris and Rose.
Next stop: the scenic, narrow spit of land that juts into Osoyoos Lake that is Haynes Point Provincial Park.
It’s also where we meet that mama duck and her ducklings.
From there it’s an undulating cycle to Young & Wyse Winery where samples of Gewurztraminer, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are consumed at a patio table on the edge of the vineyard.
Then, it’s about eight kilometres back to Nk’Mip and up a final steep hill where the settings on the e-bikes go from eco to turbo.
We’re rewarded with a tasting at Nk’Mip and then more wine, Kismet Infinity Rose, and a charcuterie platter next door at Spirit Ridge Resort’s Indigenous-inspired restaurant called The Bear, the Fish, the Root and the Berry.
Our experience at The Bear convinces us to come back the next night for dinner of beef ribs with Stoneboat Pinot Noir.
Our other dinner in Osoyoos is pan-seared halibut with Meyer Chardonnay at Watermark Beach Resort’s new 15 Park Bistro, which is being hailed as the South Okanagan’s newest and hottest eatery.
Before tucking into dinner we stopped at Osoyoos’ only craft brewery, North Basin, for samples of Dad Joke wheat beer and Pound It pale ale on the patio.