Water to wine

Guests experience Indigenous culture on the water. Photo supplied

Kamloops’ newest winery tour follows an ancestral Indigenous path

The meeting of the North and South Thompson Rivers is a geographical landmark that has been translated into imagery defining Kamloops for as long as people have called these lands home.

Nowadays we travel over and around the two rivers, rarely using the natural current to commute except for the odd summer joyride, but a new tour is going back to traditional methods of travel and including Kamloops’ blossoming winerys. 

Moccasin Trails, a company that aims to educate people on Indigenous traditions, stories and community and immerses guests in Indigenous culture, has added a new tour to their roster.

Partnering with Harper’s Trail Winery and DiVine Tours, Moccasin Trails now offers a five hour tour unique to the region.

A shuttle provided by DiVine Tours takes guests to an Indigenous Cultural Knowledge Keeper and paddlers at the Prichard Bridge before they depart by canoe, gliding along the South Thompson.

On the water participants hear drumming, songs and stories of the land that leave them seeing the Thompson Valley in a new light.

“We wanted to take people back to the ancestral path of our people through the waterways and hiking trails,” said Greg Hopf, co-owner of Moccasin Trails.

The canoes are brought to a private dock at Harper’s Trail and so begins the VIP tour of the grounds and winery operations.

Naturally, wine tastings are poured as a private picnic lunch is served in the shade of the tasting room patio.

The tour not only expands the Kamloops Wine Trail but more importantly provides a significant platform for Indigenous culture to be authentically shared and experienced without stigma or prejudice.

“These are stories that have been passed down orally from generation to generation. They’re ours to protect. They’re ours to share the way we want to share them,” said Hopf.

Moccasin Trails was founded three years ago by Frank Antoine, of the, and partner Hopf, of the Northwest Territories. The two sought to create an informative, respectful atmosphere where travellers could experience Indigenous culture first hand.

Knowledge of the land, trails and stories told are not taken but passed down in partnership with members of these communities.

“I moved into the region a few years ago; these are not my stories to tell,” Hopf said. “That’s where our connections are and where our success is, having those connections to our community people, both youth and elders that want to share their culture.”

The new tour was a natural progression for the partners as well as the company. And with traditional lands stretching out from the Thompson-Okanagan, each region with its own unique culture and stories, Antoine and Hopf are still just getting started.

“We’ll truly be a regional-based Indigenous experience,” said Hopf.

You can register for a tour at moccasintrails.com