Discover the secret microclimate that punches above its weight in powder, pinots, and the pleasures of life.

Powder by day and superb wines by night? They’re ripe for the taking in a somewhat secret corner of Canada. Bordered by the Monashee Mountains, British Columbia’s Okanagan region is a microclimate of ancient soils, forests, and freshwater lakes. Crowned by two bijou ski areas and dotted with nearly 200 wineries, it’s the perfect destination for devotees of plank and plonk alike.

Where do we sign up?

The powder-filled glades, smooth steeps, and rolling cruisers of Silverstar and Big White are an easy hour’s drive from Kelowna, so basing yourself in the wine region means you’re never far from your next varietal. Three glamorous villas are for hire at Mt Boucherie Estate Winerythink outdoor jacuzzi, karaoke party room, golf simulator, gym, and only steps from the Tasting Cellar and the winery’s excellent restaurant, The Modest Butcher. The Dionysian indulgence meter is dialed high.

Stylish, sophisticated, unabashedly self-indulgent: like Mt Boucherie, many of the loveliest wineries here are 21st-century hobby farms of the wealthy, be they noble or nouveau. Over a handful of days, it’s easy to knock off several of the best – a match made in apres-ski heaven. Warm up with a tasting and slap-up dinner at Mt Boucherie (whose fragrant rosé originates right at the doorstep) then pop along to nearby Frind Estate Winery, the lakeside vineyard of Marcus Frind. The only beachfront winery in North America, float planes rumble up to the dock as we sample its quaffable whites, reds, sparkling, and dessert wines (the latter, a specialty of the region). Scenery and creature comforts collide with a meal under a bubble dome, or a blend-your-own-bottle party to match personal taste with a touch of alchemy.

With stamina rising, the wintery whitecaps of Lake Okanagan lead to third-generation Quails’ Gate Estate Winery. A spirited sommelier-led tasting in the Stewart Family Reserve Room complements a lunch table at Old Vines, where farm-to-table delights include superb local Cornish hen and a fine Chenin blanc aged in concrete egg.

Our next stop is a five-time Winery of the Year winner: the Behind-Closed-Doors tour and tasting at Mission Hill Estate reveals a sprawling Grecian-grandeur operation, complete with a 1,200-person amphitheater, 12-story bell tower, and impressive art collection including Henry Moore sculptures and 3000-year-old Roman amphorae. Settle into one of the sofa-lined private salons for a lavish tasting with delicious canapés: the ruby-red finale – a Bordeaux varietal blend called Oculus – delivers a raspberry and vanilla cloud of satisfaction. Proprietor Anthony von Mandl (aka, king of alco-pop) also owns Cedar Creek Estate Winery on the opposite lakeshore. Not only do its distinctive all-organic wines and Home Block restaurant make this a top destination winery, but the private Wine Club rooms lend an air of congenial exclusivity.

All these oenophilic pursuits can take a toll, so a retreat to Sparkling Hill Resort is called for. Leave the world behind at this luxus wellness hotel on the edge of the winelands. Perched on a granite bluff, the shimmering temple to relaxation was conceived and built by the late Gernot Langes-Swarovski, featuring over 3.5 million Swarovski crystals worked into every chandelier, fireplace, handrail, nook and cranny. Relaxation is the thing in the mammoth 40,000 square foot KurSpa: six saunas, three infinity pools, Ayurvedic, Middle Eastern, and Asian body treatments, and more, more, and then some more. If that sounds like a lot of corporal effort, rest easy: not only does Sparkling Hill’s wine cellar, quite rightly, groan with local bounty but we’re also minutes from the gorgeous 50th Parallel Estate Winery. The soi-disant glamour-farming Block One Restaurant is a favorite with holidaying NHL hockey players, pro golfers, and some clever skiers indeed.

Words Leslie Woit