British Columbia’s newest holiday couldn’t have fallen on a better day for organizers of the Westside Wine Trail’s: Sip with your Sweetheart.
Last year Sip with your Sweetheart was introduced as a way remind locals that several wineries stay open year-round.
Salina Curtis, marketing and events coordinator for the Westside Wine Trail, said expectations were exceeded as 400 people attended the inaugural event.
“We had people who hadn’t been to a winery in five years come out,” said Curtis.
Sip with your Sweetheart takes place Sunday, Feb. 10 this year: One day before the inaugural B.C. Family Day.
Curtis said that may mean increased attendance and she hopes more out-of-town visitors take in the event and make a weekend out of it.
“We are excited it’s on a long weekend; our goal is to keep growing this event.
“I think February is a time people are itching to get out of the house, so it’s something nice to do.”
The winter months can be slow for wineries in the Okanagan.
Bobby Gidda, proprietor and president of Volcanic Hills Estate Winery, predicted that’s probably due to a couple of factors.
“With Christmas, people do a lot of shopping—wallets are almost empty. So January and February are more about paying off your debt and enjoying some time with your kids,” said Gidda.
“February is our slow time of the year—it’s a perfect time to do an event.”
He described Sip with your Sweetheart as a tribute to Kelowna and West Kelowna residents.
“It’s really the local people who keep us going through the slow months. That’s why this February event is for them.”
Each winery will feature at least one wine and chocolate pairing, free of charge.
Volcanic Hills will set up five stations to pair their wines with Rogers Chocolates and Heart Icewine Chocolates.
Rollingdale Winery will pair their 2008 ‘La Droite’ Merlot with a cherry, chocolate truffle cookie.
Quails’ Gate Estate Winery will feature a salted chocolate caramel bar with their 2010 Merlot.
Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery will serve their 2006 Summit Reserve Melange Noir with Bliss Bakery’s chocolate cinnamon heart tart.
Mission Hill Family Estate Winery will pair their 2009 Reserve Merlot with dark chocolate mousse topped with raspberry caviar.
Meadow Vista Honey Wines will give visitors a chance to try their newly released Bliss: A sparkling cherry honey wine, which will be paired with their Harvest Table Chocolate Bark—featuring dried cherries and farm walnuts.
Little Straw Vineyards will welcome guests with chocolate lava cakes paired with a 2011 Pinot Rose.
Kalala Organic Estate Winery will offer Viognier infused white chocolate truffles paired with a Late Harvest Viognier and dark chocolate truffles infused with Merlot paired with a Merlot Icewine.
“We really hope people come out and enjoy the day, it’s a great atmosphere,” said Curtis.
“We’re here to educate as well.”
For more information, visit thewestsidewinetrail.com.