Charlie Veaudry

Serving you with passion!

The Okanagan offers an amazing array of wineries from Osoyoos, all the way to Salmon Arm. Osoyoos and the south usually get the most attention when it comes to Okanagan wineries. Understandably, the climate has established this area as the ideal for most types of grapes. However, the Okanagan Valley covers about 250km, and you can find wineries along its length. I wanted to point out a few spots today where you can enjoy this delicious bounty, but at the North End of the Valley rather than the South.

Celista Estate Winery 

The furtherest North you can go to enjoy the unique cold weather wineries is to Celista, BC to Celista Estate Winery. This 160-acre farm and vineyard is located in a small community on the north shore of Shuswap Lake, a 2 hour drive from Vernon, BC. Celista Estate was established in 1995 and is now a multi-award winning winery.  Along with the vineyard and winery, you can enjoy a small art gallery, view the icelandic horses, or rent one of the cozy cabins they offer their guests. So wether you go for just a day trip or make this an overnight getaway, I am convinced you will enjoy your visit at Celista Estate Winery.

Harper’s Trail

Not far from Celista in Kamloops, BC is Harper’s Trail. This vineyard and winery is a 1 hour, 45 minute drive from Vernon, BC and is owned and operated by Ed and Vicki Collett. Harper's Trail, the first winery to open in Kamloops with wines made from 100% Kamloops grown grapes, was named after the pioneer rancher Thaddeus Harper. Harper’s Trail is located on the South Thompson River with a unique backdrop of Kamloops’ grass and sage covered hills. Harper’s Trail offers a Tasting Room schedule, or you can call ahead to book a private tasting. 

Recline Ridge Vineyards

At an hour and 20 min from Vernon, Recline Ridge Vineyards and Winery is a great destination. This is a family-owned and operated vineyard, nestled in the heart of the Shuswap Lake area of British Columbia. This winery is noted for its production of award-winning wines known for their clean sound structure, intense flavours, and perfect balance. There is a tasting room and a unique wine shop. If the weather is great, you can enjoy the picnic and patio with your favourite glass of wine. 

Sunnybrae Vineyards & Winery 

Sunnybrae Vineyards & Winery is located between the shoreline of Shuswap Lake and the hills of Bastion Mountain. You can get to it from Vernon in an hour and 10 minutes, a worthwhile trip to explore the unique micro-climate offered by its location and the volcanic ash that gives the grapes their delicious taste. This craftsman style winery was built in 2010, and it now showcases some of the history of five generations of the farmers of the Sunnybrae area. Visitors are invited to the second floor wine tasting room to enjoy delicious white, red and rose wines. The views are promised to be spectacular, and the guests are encouraged to keep their eyes open for osprey sightings.

Larch Hills Winery

A little closer to Vernon, BC, at a 50 minute drive, is Larch Hills Winery. This winery specializes in cool climate grape growing and have unique varieties, such as Ortega, that are generally not available in other parts of BC. Visitors are welcome for either a tour or to enjoy the grounds on your own, and tasting is available.


The closest vineyard north of Vernon is Ovino, 40 minutes towards Salmon Arm. This vineyard utilizes the sandy and loam soils and clay layers that were produced by the last glacier, and is located on a sunny rise to make the most of the sun and drip irrigation. There are four acres of grapes, including pinot gris, pinot meunier, gewurztraminer and the cold loving grape marachel foch. This family run business welcomes visitors and offers tasting. 


So once again, I stress that there is no shortage of fantastic things to do in Vernon and the North Okanagan. I encourage you to explore and enjoy the area, and if you would like any suggestions or special recommendations about what else is available in Vernon, Coldstream or Bella Vista, please don’t hesitate to contact me! I would love to take the time to speak with you about why I love this area!

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Sometimes Vernon comes off as a sleepy little town with not much to do. While it may seem that this is the case, there is actually lots to do if you know where to be and what time to be there! Live music is very popular in Vernon and surrounding areas, and many days and nights of the week it is possible to find a show to enjoy.


There are a few key locations where you can almost always count on a local or visiting group or performer. Vernon is very diverse in its interests, and you can find anything from classical, to jazz, to folk or bluegrass, rock and the list goes on. There are also a couple of places where theatre and drama performances are held - a great alternative to live music.  I have put together a short list for you below:


#1 The Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre

This venue gets many of the famous and popular groups who come 

through, but they are also one of the key supports of local art & talent. Built in 2001, this venue has state of the art facilities, and can seat about 750 people. You can see their events and ticket details here.



#2 The Powerhouse Theatre

This theatre is a smaller venue but with a big history.  It began in 1962 with an abandoned building, scheduled for demolition, when a series of opportune events led it to become a small theatre. Ten years later, the original owner (BC Hydro) sold it to the City of Vernon for one dollar, “which in turn, handed it over to the Theat

rical Arts Centre for a dollar, provided that the Vernon Little Theatre [as it was then known] continued to perform plays for the community”. The Powerhouse Theatre as it is know today came about through the volunteer efforts of many, and now sits 250 people and preforms many fantastic shows. You can see their upcoming performances here.


#3 The Caetani Cultural Centre

This historical home is an artist residence in memory of Sveva Caetani, an artist and teacher, who once lived in this beautiful home. This Centre is also used as a music venue from May to September. You can see the list of who is playing here. And you’re just in time for the last show of the season!




#4 The Vernon Jazz Club


This fun venue is run by the Vernon Jazz Society and is a volunteer based, non-profit organization working on bringing Jazz to the Vernon Community. The Jazz Club is located on the second floor of of a downtown Vernon heritage building and seats 150 guests, cabaret-style. There is a bar and dance floor, making it a great destination for a night out for some music and dancing. You can check for upcoming events here.


#5 Lorenzo’s Cafe 

This is a destination venue, but certainly worth the drive! A 40 minute drive, Lorenzo’s Cafe is located in Enderby. Not only is it a fantastic venue, but a great restaurant too! Make sure to call and reserve a spot, but prepare yourself for a lovely dinner and a fantastic show. This venue has brought in both local and international performers. Make sure to sign up for the newsletter so that you will know what’s coming up!



#6 The Caravan Farm Theatre

This is a very unique entertainment option, an outdoor theatre, is available in both the summer and winter. The professional theatre company is based on 80 acres of land in Armstrong BC, and each production uses parts of the farm to bring together the bigger story. Often the audience will be moved throughout the farm to follow the play - in horse drawn carriage in sumer and sleighs in winter. This one of a kind experience is a must for anyone visiting or living in the Okanagan! You can find out more about their upcoming shows here.



The list above is really only a short one of the few places that immediately come to mind. Vernon and the surrounding area places a lot of importance on cultural and artistic events and because of this, their is almost always something to see or listen to! If you would like to know more about Vernon and the artistic community, or how you can make your home here, feel free to reach out! 

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The summer market continues stronger than the summer market in the last 6 years with rising sales,

falling inventory and prices firming up moving solidly into a Seller’s market. It is the right time to get your

home sold. Looking at the early September month-to-date numbers, the strong summer market could

continue into a strong fall market with sales up about 70% over September 2013 month-to-date.

Sales - The total sales for the 12 months ending August 2014 rose to 967, up 33% from the 12 months

ending August 2013 and the highest volume of sales in the last 7 years since 2007.


Inventory - The average monthly inventory of single family homes dropped down 9% to 584 for the last

12 months ending in August 2014, the lowest average inventory we have seen in the last 6 years.

Inventory has not been this low since 2008 just before the start of the recession triggered by the US

banking crisis.

Prices - Average median prices continue to rise. At $342,446, average median prices for the last 12

months ending in August 2014 rose 3% over average median prices for the 12 months ending in August

2013. This increase is for average median prices across the board and is largely due to the fact that

prices on higher end homes have been reduced so much (some as much as 25%) that sales are now

starting to recover. This is causing the illusion that prices are increasing in all home categories and that is

definitely not true.


For instance, right now some price ranges in some neighbourhoods are starting to rise slightly but other

price ranges have just stabilized or are still dropping slightly. Therefore, overall average price in any given

marketplace cannot accurately predict what is happening. I have found that using an HPI (Home Price

Index) works best. This HPI considers all the sales of a typical house in a certain area and compares

them to the same type of houses sold in the previous years. We find when we do an HPI that house

prices are doing different things in different areas and in different price ranges. I would be happy to do an

HPI evaluation on any property you have. Simply give me a call or send me an email.


Absorption Rate


The rate at which our inventory is being absorbed by sales continues to rise. The average absorption rate

of 13.85% over the 12 month period ending August 2014, is now the highest in the last 7 years. At the end

of August 2014, there was 6 months of inventory available on the market, up slightly from 5 last month.

This is still considered a balanced market trending towards favouring Sellers over Buyers and putting

more upward pressure on prices as inventory tightens.


From these numbers, it looks like we can expect the market to continue to rise as we continue in the

busiest summer season we have seen in 7 years. Sales for the first week of September 2014 continue to

show improvement with a 70% increase over the same time period in September 2013.

The market over the next 6 to 12 months will be characterized by continued increasing sales and lower

inventory moving more rapidly towards a market that now favours Sellers with more competition from

Buyers and higher prices. Prices will continue to rise as consumer confidence gathers momentum and

brings with it more Buyers.


If you have any questions about the market, please feel free to contact me at any time. You can go to my

stats page for more information with graphs and full detailed data.

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This is not the first time I have heard of the Okanagan Rail Trail project, but it seems to be picking up speed. The 

Vernon Morning Star’s article of August 31 sheds some light on the trail's current status. If you are interested in supporting this initiative, you can add your voice via the Okanagan Rail Trail website.


The proposed trail would run from Vernon, through Coldstream, along the lake to Oyama, and through Lake Country to Kelowna. The total distance is estimated at 205 kms and the elevation grade is less than 2%, so this trail would be ideal for all ages and abilities, as well as all sports: walking, biking, skiing, etc.


The Okanagan Rail Trail Impact Assessment suggests that the development of this trail will improve the quality of life for those living in the area by providing an attractive, safe and accessible place for people to enjoy fitness and the outdoors. Also interesting to note if you are considering buying or selling a home in this area, is that this report also states that it will increase property value in the area because two-thirds of homebuyers consider the walkability of an area when looking at homes. 


Vernon and the surrounding area already has a lot to offer in outdoor spaces and trails, but this proposed rail trail would bring a lot of attention - similar to the Kettle Valley Trail further south - and would support more tourism and jobs for the area. I think that adding this attraction to the area would be a positive change.


Vernon and the Okanagan are always adding little bits and pieces to make it a little more wonderful. If you would like to know more about what it’s like to live in this fantastic place in British Columbia, then give me a call - I would be happy to share my insights with you, or of course find you a home in the area!

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