North America’s first Indigenous winery makes perfect wines in a perfect setting

On the Northern tip of the Sonoran Desert is the territory of the Osoyoos Indian Band. In 2002, the first Indigenous owned winery in North America, Nk’Mip Cellars (say ‘in-ka-meep’) opened its doors. It is a partnership between the Osoyoos Indian Band and Arterra Wines Canada, Canada’s largest wine producer. “The warm and sunny climate is perfect for grape growing, the terroir is prime and the culture of Osoyoos people is to work hard, live off the land – they’re traditionally ranchers – and produce things of quality. It’s this combination that makes Nk’Mip Cellars’ wines so special,” says Cassandra Capone, the brand’s visitor experience manager at Nk’Mip Cellars.

All Nk’Mip wines are made on Osoyoos Indian Band land, and all are VQA, which means they’re certified by the Canadian appellation system that guarantees the quality and provenance of wine. Since 2014, the brand has won more than 50 regional, national and international awards for its wines, and was Canadian Winery of the Year in the 2016-17 InterVin International Wine Awards, second placed overall.

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As well as great wines, the winery has amazing scenery – 18,000 sq ft overlooking Osoyoos Lake, with a tasting room, restaurant and wine lounge on site. You can also tour the vineyard and cellar, or enjoy a wine- and cheese-tasting session with Nk’Mip wines and BC cheeses. Nearby, there’s the Nk’Mip Desert Culture Centre, where you can discover more about indigenous culture, take a desert trek, or watch the Ssssnakes Alive show, and the Spirit Ridge Hotel. “There’s so much to do and see in the Osoyoos area. It’s a really unique place, and a great option for a day trip or vacation,” says Capone.

To find out more about Nk’Mip Cellars, visit or call 250-495-2985.

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