What started in 1994 as a kick start to the wine season in a fledging one day festival with just 16 wineries, has blossomed two decades later into a much anticipated ten day celebration of local food and wine. Now with 119 wineries, over 70 culinary and wine events, a Best of Varietal competition, and a delicious partnership with Dairy Farmers of Canada; the Spring Okanagan Wine Festival offers a uniquely Okanagan experience for every palate.
The ideal start to the season, spring in the Okanagan is an exciting time of anticipation. With budburst in the vineyards and blossoms throughout the Valley’s extensive orchards, it is a picturesque way to experience the region’s burgeoning artisanal wine and culinary industry.
Some delectable new festivities this year include: the Comforts of Grilled Cheese and Wine presented by Dairy Farmers of Canada, apprentice chefs competing in the Cheesiest Sweet and Savoury Competition, a Bubbly Bootcamp, and grand openings of the newest architecturally distinctive tasting rooms, to name but a few of the highlights.
One of the Society’s signature events starts the entire 10 days. The Best of Varietal Wine Awards is on Thursday May 1, with a record 32 wine varietal categories judged by 15 B.C. sommeliers and wine experts along with a tasting showcasing the winners.
This is followed by the iconic WestJet Wine Tastings on Friday May 2 and Saturday May 3, which offers live music and a boisterous atmosphere with wineries from across the entire Valley all under one roof.
A more intimate event with a hint of wine education, the Blind Wine and Cheese Soiree presented by Valley First on Saturday May 10, is a perfect opportunity to test your palate in a fun environment with local wineries and Dairy Farmers of Canada.
“Dairy Farmers of Canada has a long standing partnership with the Okanagan Wine Festival’s David Beaudoin with Dairy Farmers of Canada leading a cheese and wine seminar. This has been excellent in providing us the ability to develop several customized events showcasing Canadian cheese made from 100% Canadian milk as well as our All you Need is Cheese brand,” said Gianna Ciancio, program manager, marketing for the Dairy Farmers of Canada.
“For 20 years the Spring Okanagan Wine Festival has helped put B.C. wines on the map,” said Premier Christy Clark and MLA for Westside-Kelowna. “Congratulations and best wishes for this special 20th year celebration.”
The wine culture of the Okanagan offers something for everyone from the foodie to the oenophile to the budding enthusiast.
Over 7,500 guests are expected to participate over the 10 days of activities this spring. From farm to table winery dinners, barbeques and picnics in stunning settings, the Spring Okanagan Wine Festival brings visitors face to face with the chefs, winemakers and growers who have not only built the Okanagan’s wine and culinary industry but those poised on the leading edge of change. With the Okanagan Valley really coming of age on the world stage it’s time to visit and see how the Spring Festival has hit its stride. Can you really miss the 20th Spring Okanagan Wine Festival this year?The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society announces its 20th year of spring wine festivities from May 1-11, 2014.The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society announces its 20th year of spring wine festivities from May 1-11, 2014.