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We are the owner-operators of the Thorny Vines vineyard located in the Okanagan Valley area, one of Canada’s most notable wine regions. The Okanagan Valley is approximately three hundred kilometres from the Pacific Ocean. The valley is long and narrow and runs for 160 kilometres from the US border at 49 to 50 degrees north.

“We fell in love with the idea of a hobby vineyard when we visited friends in the Franschoek district in the Cape Province of South Africa, and despite have no experience in growing grapes, when the time came to retire, we sold our house in freezing Calgary and retired to the Okanagan to see what it is all about.

  Ian & Ann Hornby-Smith

We are located at:

1279 Evans Avenue
Penticton, British Columbia
Canada V2A 8V1

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More about the Okanagan Valley:

The Weather

The Okanagan Valley lies in a rain shadow, between the Coastal and Monashee mountain ranges. This results in very low annual average rainfall. The area between Oliver and the US border is the northernmost tip of the Sonora Desert, which begins on the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. Summers are generally very hot: average temperatures in July and August are warmer than in the Napa Valley. Summer daytime temperatures can reach 40°C, and are often above 30°C for several days in a row. In the summer, there are long daylight hours and high light intensity due to the northerly latitude. In late June, daybreak is as early as 5 am and nightfall as late as 10:30 pm. This helps with prolonged daytime photosynthesis and grape ripening.

In summer there can be a four-degree average daily difference in temperature between Kelowna and Osoyoos. This results in a preference for red varieties in the south and white varieties in the cooler north. Precipitation is spread evenly throughout the year and wind is not a major concern. The winters are cold and temperatures can drop below zero for long periods. Temperatures can fall to -25°C, but this is rare. The winter of 1978 was the last season severe enough to cause considerable vine kill. The region’s lakes moderate temperature extremes.

The Soil

The soils, vineyards and local climates of each area have been mapped by PARC, and there are widespread differences throughout the valley. The southern part of the valley has deep sandy soils whereas the northern area around Kelowna is mainly composed of clay and gravel.

The Topography
Several lakes run along the valley floor, the biggest of which is Lake Okanagan at 144 kilometres long and 3.5 kilometres average width. It is over 750 metres at its deepest point and is the source of much-needed water for irrigation. The northern part of the Okanagan Valley, between Kelowna and Naramata, is narrow and marked by steep hillsides. The area for planting vineyards is limited. The Naramata bench area (near Penticton) is marked by sloping vineyards in close proximity to the lake, with excellent exposure to the afternoon sun.


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