Although the West Kelowna Vintners Association has only officially been in existence for a few months, the same group has been marketing the Westside Wine Trial for quite some time.
Tina Slamka, wine shop manager at Little Straw Vineyards and president of the West Kelowna Vintners Association, says there are currently eight wineries represented by the association:
• Kalala Organic Estate Winery
• Mission Hill Family Estate
• Quails’ Gate Estate Winery
• Volcanic Hills Estate Winery
• Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
• Beaumont Family Estate Winery
• Little Straw Vineyards
• Rollingdale Winery.
Along with each winery’s individual marketing efforts, Slamka says they have found it beneficial to put an effort into marketing the Westside Wine Trail in general.
The WKVA president says business is currently good for the wineries, and people are continuing to recognize the Westside Wine Trail as a destination.
On Feb. 9, wineries along the Westside Wine Trail put on the third annual Sip with your Sweetheart event. It originated in 2012 to get locals out during a typically slow winter month.
“It was something we thought would be a great way to get everybody out, doing something local—kind of play in your own backyard.
“It’s been over-the-top successful.”
Sip with your Sweetheart is one of three main events the WKVA puts on annually.
According to Slamka the Valentine’s Day-themed event is the most successful.
“Last year we doubled what we had thought would come…it was spectacular.”
One of the reasons the event has been so successful is due to the diversity of what each winery offers.
The concept is each winery offers a tasting, paired with a dessert of some sort.
“Every winery kind of has their own take on it—their own kind of uniqueness. And that’s what actually makes it such a great event—you can have a different experience at each winery,” Slamka says.
Part of the association’s goal will be continuing to let local governments, as well as the province, know what its needs are and how business can be improved.
According to Slamka, the local governments have already assisted in the association’s efforts.
“They’ve been a huge help in starting this association in the first place,” says Slamka.
“Without District of West Kelowna…without Westbank First Nation, this wouldn’t exist.
“They were hugely instrumental in kind of bringing us together and helping us over the last couple of years to get to the point we’re at now.”