Hop-on-hop-off Naramata winery trolley tours launch

Trolley wine tour launches

All aboard! Grape Savvy Trolley Co. has officially launched the Okanagan Valley's only hop-on hop-off tourism experience in the South Okanagan.

Savannah Swaisland, who is the proprietor of the company, kicked off her business opening on Sunday with a small group testing the two re-vamped and wrapped old-school trolleys.

"It's been a long time coming. We've been planning this project for well over a year now and to see these trolleys full of people driving down the Naramata Bench is just really exciting," she said.

The tours will be running from Penticton to Naramata starting this Saturday.

"You can hop on and hop off these beauties as many times as you want per day."

An online web app integration system will be the host for all ticket sales, which are done online and keep track of where the trolleys are travelling at all times throughout the day with a live direct feed to their location. The app will also tell you how many seats are available on the bus.

The winemaker, viticulturist, sommelier and certified Aboriginal member of Indigenous Tourism BC was all smiles on Sunday, even after an unfortunate fire melted the side of one of their buses' wraps prior to launch.

"We encountered a suspicious fire Friday night which set back final detailing but rise of the phoenix through the ashes and here we are 24 hours later," Swaisland said. "A huge shout out to Bling Performance for giving us a quick wrap fix and for everyone who has worked so hard and tirelessly to bring this project to life."

"I just want to see people have fun. I just want to see these trolleys up and down the Naramata Bench and people really enjoying the service that we offer."

Swaisland has been running Grape Savvy Wine Tours for the past four years, but felt there was demand for a more affordable option.

"People in general just seem to be really excited for this new generation of wine tourism, which again, just offers that accessibility convenience and affordability when it comes to wine touring," she said.

"I think not only locals, but the winery, industry in general, just really need support. If you lower the price of the tour, you give higher discretionary income for people to spend, in turn supporting the industry."

The trolleys were purchase from the Vancouver Trolley Company and Swaisland has acquired three more for routes to be released at a later date.

" [I am] a winemaker turned trolley hoarder," she said with a laugh. "We've got five as of next week, but it's a pretty hush about where they're going. So that'll be launched shortly."

The trolleys will run on a predetermined route and day passes go for $39, which are valid all day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"I think this service is really needed again for accessibility into this the heart of Naramata Bench Winery community and I think everyone, including the wineries and locals and tourists alike are all going to really benefit from it."

To find out more information on Grape Savvy Trolley Co. or book a ticket, visit their website here.

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