Fall 2012: With summer over, the B.C. wine industry is preparing a great vintage. To celebrate the excellent 2012 growing year, wineries throughout the province have been preparing for wine festivals to celebrate the fall red wine release and a successful crush.
In the Interior, wineries from the Okanagan Valley and Similkameen Valley and even Lillooet (watch for Robin Ridge Winery, Seven Stones Winery, and Lillooet’s Fort Berens Estate Winery) will gather for the annual Fall Okanagan Wine Festival. With one Okanagan Wine Festival held every season – winter, spring, summer and fall – this large and successful festival draws 111 wineries from across the Okanagan and beyond. The festivities include both events held at individual wineries, as well as large festival style tastings that bring up to 60 wineries together in one room, totaling 140 separate tastings.
For some exemplary winery events, check out the Fall Epicurean Wine Dinner at Mission Hill with Top Chef Canada winner Dale MacKay, the Miradoro vs. Hawksworth winemaker’s dinner at Tinhorn Creek featuring Vancouver chef David Hawksworth, or the Wild Mushroom and Game dinner at Hillside Bistro. Attendees can’t miss the signature series events, such as the Valley First Grand Finale; billed as a wine tour under one roof, this consumer tasting brings together more than 240 wines with live entertainment, bread and cheese, and a safe ride home included in your ticket.
Okanagan Wine Festivals general manager Blair Baldwin notes that ticket sales are going well. “With the remarkable weather in July and August, the image of a spectacular harvest has reached tourists. As this is the only wine festival in North America planned around harvest, we’re expecting a great turnout this year,” says Baldwin. Tickets for all Okanagan Fall Wine Festival events can be purchased at www.thewinefestivals.com.
On Vancouver Island, local wineries participated in the Cowichan Wine & Culinary Festival, running from September 8-16. With 21 events showcasing Vancouver Island wineries, this festival played host to winemakers’ dinners, cheese pairings, and even a grape stomp! The Rocky Creek winemakers’ dinner at Stone Soup Inn, a five course locally-sourced meal, was not to be missed.
Another Island favourite is the Vancouver Island Feast of Fields, which took place on September 16 at Alderlea Farm and Café in Duncan. Island winery Church and State Wines poured their latest vintages with a host of other Island wineries and farms. Yes, you will have missed tasting Vancouver Island’s best this year, but you can still check out www.feastoffields.com for more details and no where to go next year.
In the Fraser Valley, the second annual Fraser Valley Cork and Keg Festival included 13 restaurant partners and local wineries like Neck of the Woods. “We really want to bring some attention to the Fraser Valley,” says managing director Lynette Fae. The event, which took place September 14, is helping to bring some well-deserved attention to this little-known, wine-growing valley.
While we’re talking about the Fraser Valley, note Langley winery Township 7’s Pick, Stomp, Drink – Harvest Picking Party, which took place on September 29. This third annual event celebrated the bounty after a year’s worth of carefully tending the vines with a bountiful harvest lunch. Attendees brought their own pruners and gardening gloves to pick Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot grapes.
Sure, you might have missed some of these events, but remember these are just one more opportunity to try B.C. VQA wine and that, fortunately, you can do all year long.