Family winery is Kamloops’ best-kept secret

Majestic trees, a spectacular flower garden, an intimate tasting room, and the best Pinot Noir in Canada.

When Debbie and John Woodward’s three sons left home, the couple began to think about what they wanted to do with their lives. “We’d been farming Christmas trees for more than 30 years and enjoyed it – it was a wonderful way to raise our family – but we wanted to explore the other things that we were really passionate about,” says Debbie. “But it was a trip to Cinque Terra in Italy where the seed was planted that led us to venture into this project.“

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“This” is Privato, a winery situated on 80 acres nestled along the scenic slopes of the North Thompson River. “We knew we had to make something incredibly special to attract people to a smaller community that at the time, was not a tourist destination for wine,” Debbie explains. “It became our focus to make the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in BC."  This idyllic setting boasts an enchanting Christmas tree farm, spectacular event gardens to stroll through and of course where you can enjoy some really special handcrafted wines.

“We specialize in Pinot Noir. It is known as the heartbreak grape because it's so finicky to work with, but John has a real affinity for tackling all the nuances that go into making a well-crafted wine. That persistence in quality is showing through in our wine,” says Debbie. This year, Privato’s Pinot Noirs won two double gold medals in the All Canadian Wine Championships and gold in the National Wine Awards of Canada.

Debbie recommends visiting the winery any time of year. “Spring and summer really showcase the flower gardens, and you can often take in a “Music in the Vineyard” event. Harvest is always an exciting time to visit any winery, but Christmas at Privato is pretty special too. We still have the Christmas tree farm, and so at that time of year, families make their way to choose their perfect Christmas trees, take a hay wagon ride and enjoy a mulled wine around the bonfire – it’s really unique,” she says.

Kamloops remains a hidden gem for wine lovers and any other visitor. “It is so diverse– we have the Shuswap Lake, the ski hills, fishing and downhill biking and now wineries as well. It’s in a unique location as it’s at the crossroads of so many highways from all corners of the province. There’s really a lot to discover here.”

Privato Vineyard and Winery is located at 5505 Westsyde Road, Kamloops, BC V2B 8N5. To find out more, visit

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