The Naramata Bench
Founded in 1907 by John Moore Robinson as a prime agricultural area. He advertised and sold parcels of land to people from other parts of Canada as well as the British Isles. At the time Naramata became known as a cultural centre. People from across the Okanagan would arrive by boat for concerts, plays, operas, regattas- and as Robinson and his wife were spiritualists-seances. In fact, it is said the name of the village came about during one.
Paddlewheelers regularly stopped at the local wharf carrying freight and passengers up and down Lake Okanagan.
In 1914, Naramata received a new link with the rest of Canada when the Kettle Valley Railway was completed on the hillside above the village. Due to the intense volume of rock work it gained the reputation as one of the most difficult stretches of KVR construction. It was in operation until 1974. Today, remnants of the KVR make for great exploration, such as the train tunnels, rock ovens, and the railway right-of-way which clings to the hillside high above The lake and is now part of the Trans-Canada Trail.
By the 1950s Naramata began to see people arriving to farm from other countries, such as Portugal, Italy and the Netherlands.
There are still many fruit orchards in Naramata. The varieties include peach, plum, pear, cherry, apricot and apple.
Naramata is more known now, however, as a top wine-producing region in the country and its wineries have begun to attract international acclaim.
The decline in the relative economic importance of fruit growing has occurred but the impressive landscape still abounds with orchards. The most savvy growers no longer sell to the Naramata fruit-packing facility (part of the Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-operative), but rather sell privately, often preferring to deal with international brokers.