After decades of wildly popular wine festivals in the Okanagan, the Okanagan Wine Festival Society is starting over with its summer festival—morphing it into a valley-wide10-day-long, outdoor, wine-tasting event.
And, organizer Christina Ferreira believes it could end up being the most popular off all of the four wine festivals that highlight each of the seasons.
Along the way, the intent is to bring visitors to the valley, to not only patronize the businesses that are members of the wine festival society, but also all of the other attractions and services in the valley.
The first couple of weeks in July are generally slow, so the idea is to bump up the rubber tire traffic into the valley from centres such as Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.
Valley residents are encouraged to become ambassadors for the valley by inviting friends and relatives to visit during the festival, July 8 through 17, so there’s something different for everyone to do together during the visit.
Ferreira admitted this is a completely re-vamped version of the summer festival, which has been entirely focussed on Silver Star Resort for the past decade.
“Summer in the Okanagan is an easy sell,” she commented. All the wineries will have their tasting rooms open and there will be events up and down the valley, from summer wine and cheese beach parties to barbecues.
Society-sponsored events range from the opening Pop Goes the Cork event Saturday, July 9 with more than 30 wineries opening bottles for tasting with cheeses at the Arts Common beside the Rotary Centre for the Arts; to the final event at Polson Park in Vernon Sunday, July 17 while being entertained by Spoken Word Artists.
In between, there will be a Granfondo Wine Tasting with the celebrities in Penticton Sunday, July 10 and a Bartenders’ Mixology competition at the Kelowna Art Gallery Wednesday, July 13, using B.C. wines as one of the ingredients.
On July 15, the society will hold its first event that far south in the valley, with a Beach Party in Osoyoos at the Watermark Beach Resort, tasting wines and cheeses.
The re-designed festival is in partnership with tourism organizations throughout the valley. For details, pick up a brochure at tourism centres or where wine is sold, or go to the society’s website