Equines & Wine: Saddle Up for a Unique BC Wine Experience

Posted on May 1, 2024

Steve Roche & Kim Thomas with 3 of their horses.

If it’s true that business distinctiveness is what sets a company apart from others, then Equines & Wine seems poised for great success. Add to that the genuine passion of owners Steve Roche and Kim Thomas, and it’s a surefire bet.

Based in the picturesque Similkameen Valley of British Columbia, Keremeos is starting to get well-deserved attention for its breathtaking scenery and burgeoning wine scene. Among the diverse winery experiences now available in the region, Equines & Wine stands out with its singular fusion of adventure, natural beauty, and personalized winery visits.

A special way to experience wine country.

This wasn’t a concept brewed up in a winery boardroom. It was even simpler than that. Steve & Kim’s plan to spend a leisurely Sunday together, riding their horses to the far end of the valley and visiting local wineries on the way back, unexpectedly went viral on social media when they shared photos of their day. The incredibly positive feedback sparked an idea that not only gave them a chance to highlight their hometown, but also help provide funding for their passion project: rescuing horses.

Originally from South Africa, Steve provides a wealth of knowledge to both parts of the Equines & Wine equation. As viticulturalist and operations manager of Clos du Soleil wines, Steve is well-versed in the intricacies of winemaking and the unique terroir of the Similkameen Valley adding a level of expertise to this venture that is valuable whether the rider is a wine enthusiast or a full-blown oenophile.

Ally & Kim [Credit: Steve Roche]

Kim, Steve’s partner in both life and business, shares his passion for wine and adventure. Practically born and raised on a horse in nearby Cawston, she has cared for, trained, and rescued numerous horses, and has spent years teaching riding to both children and adults. Her calm and encouraging demeanor made the process of getting back on a horse after several years both easy and enjoyable.

Together, they’ve crafted an extraordinary experience that enables guests to discover the beauty of the Similkameen Valley in an entirely new light. While unusual, travelling via horseback offers guests a truly immersive experience along with a unique vantage point of the surrounding beauty.

The stunning view from Corcelettes Winery.

“Our goal is that clients get to know just how incredibly diverse the Similkameen Valley is,” says Steve. “…with vineyards, fruit trees, vegetables, distilleries, wineries and cider houses and a number of really top-notch restaurants as well as being a relaxed way to see the beauty of our valley in a slow, sedate and a totally unique way of getting from one end of the valley to the other while absorbing it all.”

Along the way, Steve and Kim share their knowledge of the region’s viticulture pointing out key features of the landscape and discussing the unique characteristics of the local wines. They have 9 horses, 3 of which are rescues and 4 are ‘off the track thoroughbreds’ (OTTB) which they tell us means they would otherwise generally end up at meat auctions. They admit to a soft spot for rescues and where possible try to adopt as many as many they can through Wild Hearts Ranch in Princeton.


Those with limited or no ride experience shouldn’t let that stop them. Each person is paired with a gentle, well-trained horse, allowing them to meander through vineyards, orchards, and scenic trails, taking in the beauty of the valley at a leisurely pace.

Equines & Wine runs 3-hour tours on weekends from April through to the 2nd week of October. The 3 hours includes 3 winery stops plus a stop for lunch. They lead a maximum of 4 riders so it remains exclusive, but they will consider a longer 5-hour tour, a larger private group, or weekday ride if there’s sufficient interest.

Robin Ridge Winery.

Our ride started at The Grist Mill, home of a working 1877 waterwheel powered flour mill, the only one of its kind in Western Canada. We wandered from there through some vineyards to Robin Ridge winery, a small production family winery on 18 acres owned and operated by Caroline & Tim Cottrill. They are as down to earth as it gets for winemakers with the ‘farmer first’ mentality complete with the warm hospitality you would expect from such.

Tasting at Clos du Soleil.

Our next stop was at Corcelettes Estate Winery, a substantially bigger winery at 150 acres that was recently named one of Canada’s top 10 small wineries. Their tasting room affords spectacular views of the surrounding mountain range which you can enjoy as you sip their award-winning wines.

Our last winery visit was at Clos du Soleil, the only winery whose wine we’ve tasted before. French for ‘enclosed vineyard of the sun’, the name appropriately highlights their main priority – a dedication for making ultra-premium wines from this region’s distinct terroir.

Our final stop before making our way back to the Grist Mill was lunch at the Farm Store.

Lunch at the Farm Store.

Guests pre-order lunch before their ride and the food is farm to table eating at its very best. Owned and operated by local organic farmers, their harvest bowl was the perfect pairing to an afternoon of exploring all that this region has to offer.

What makes Equines & Wines truly special is the immersive nature of the experience. By exploring the valley on horseback, guests connect with the land in a way that is impossible through other means of transportation. The slow pace of the tour allows for a deep appreciation of the valley’s beauty, while the wine and food tastings provide a taste of the region’s rich viticultural heritage and incredibly robust bounty.

Local connections are the focus (Caroline Cottrill of Robin Ridge & Steve)

But the concept doesn’t work without the authenticity of people like Steve and Kim that are offering a lot more than a horseback ride. They offer a highly personalized experience that will open your eyes to the beauty of a place they love while being a lot of fun in the process.

Throughout the ride the focus was never on themselves but always on the region and the community. “There are so many incredible people here that make it such a fantastic place to call home. Equines and Wine is about getting our Valley better known–not just be known as the last town before you get to Osoyoos.” From my first (and definitely not last) experience with them, mission accomplished.


Kim Thomas.

Equines & Wine 

E: equinesandwine@gmail.com
T: +1 (905)-933-3362

Tours: Saturday & Sunday 11am

April – October





    • It was far more fun and experiential than we expected…would definitely do it again!

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  1. lwg.mine@gmail.com'

    As Robin said, fantastic how this came together via social sharing. What a way to experience vineyards and this winery. Very cool!

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    • I loved the perspective…laid back and peaceful surrounded by beautiful BC at its best!

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  2. exploringthewineglass@gmail.com'

    I love this story so much! I would absolutely do this! What a great concept and love that the business came out of a simple social media post.

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    • They are the real deal when it comes to people and passion much like you and Michael. This was so much more than a horseback ride–it was a day of relaxation, beauty and discovery. I’ll definitely do it again!

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  3. Robin@42aspens.com'

    I love that this all came together from them sharing their ride on Social Media! What a great way to find out you have a market for a business! Finding out that the niche of things you love are things lots of other people love! What a great thing.
    This sounds like the absolute perfect way to spend a day!

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    • Following your passion definitely has its benefits. They are so incredibly genuine and it is such a fantastic way to experience this beautiful region. Look forward to showing you firsthand when you two can get up here!

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