So many events. So many wines. So many days. And so many venues.
How does a wine lover navigate the 90 events of the 12-day Spring Okanagan Wine Festival, May 1-12?
First of all, accept you, and your liver, cannot attend almost 100 parties, sip thousands of wines and eat scores of meals.
“A good place to start is with the festival’s five signature events,” said Okanagan Wine Festivals Society public relations manager Jessica Tkachuk.
“Each of them brings together many wineries and wines to awe consumers. Really, they are the five events you can’t miss.”
1. Tkachuk touts the two evenings of WestJet Wine Tastings, May 3-4, as the ideal way to tour Okanagan wine country in two-and-a-half hours without having to get in the car.
Two hundred wines will be poured by all under one roof at the Rotary Centre for the Arts in Kelowna, 7-9:30 p.m. Tickets are $79 at TheWineFestivals.com.
2. The Best of Varietal Awards winners were determined by a panel of judges earlier this month.
But they won’t be revealed until the awards reception May 8, 7-9:30 p.m. at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.
Be the first to taste the winners and chat with winemakers and winery owners. Tickets are $59 at TheWineFestivals.com.
3. Iron Sommelier, May 10 from 7-10 p.m. at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College, will see three wine experts battle it out by pairing wines with five bites.
Those attending vote by text for the best pairing each round and the sommelier with the most votes at the end of the night earns the iron crown. Tickets are $99 at TheWineFestivals.com.
4. Putting & Bubbles on May 11, 2:30-5:30 p.m., at Sunset Ranch Golf & Country Club is a new event.
It’s billed as a quintessential spring affair where you can sip bubbly, rosé and white wines while practising your putting and trying your hand at various lawn games. Tickets are $75 at TheWineFestivals.com.
5. Celebrate mom with Mother’s Day brunch at Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos on May 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The gourmet buffet includes wine for the adults. Tickets are $39 for adults, $15 for kids, at TheWineFestivals.com.
If you’re anxious for everything to begin, there are five events to choose from May 1, the first day of the fest.
Quails’ Gate Winery in West Kelowna launches its spring-release lunch series that day; Intersection Winery in Oliver has a Vinstitute escape room game; Burrowing Owl Winery in Oliver starts its spring dinner series;
Moon Curser Winery in Osoyoos launches its Something Old, Something New tastings of new releases and library wines; and Summerland fruit winery Sleeping Giant invites you over for complimentary tastings.
Many of the festival events are wine tastings or wine-and-food pairing lunches and dinners at wineries, restaurants and hotels.
But some of the unique happenings include taking your dog along for Unleashed on Kelowna’s Lakeshore Wine Route May 4; yoga and brunch May 5 at Volcanic Hills Winery in West Kelowna; peer through a telescope at Rollingdale Winery’s Astronomical Wine & Sky Gazing on the night of May 5; and a Mother’s Day Painting Party May 12 at Intrigue Wines in Lake Country.
The full list of events and how to buy tickets is at TheWineFestivals.com.