Wine festival soars to new heights

The Okanagan sports wine festivals in spring, summer and fall, but in March, the South Okanagan will see its first-ever vertical wine festival.

Vertical and Vintages is the result of a partnership between Apex Mountain Resort and the Naramata Bench Wineries Association and runs from March 8 to 10 at the ski resort.

Tina Baird, spokesperson for the Naramata Bench wineries, said they are happy to be the wine partner for Apex’s winter wine festival and are looking forward to sharing the Bench’s best wines with visitors.


“This wine festival is the perfect partnership between Apex Mountain culture and the charismatic Naramata Bench wineries,” said James Shalman, general manager of the Apex Mountain Resort. “This unique wine region, which is only 45 minutes from Apex, and the atmosphere of the Apex village is a perfect pairing.”


The feature event of the weekend is a Naramata Bench wine tasting and small plates dinner on March 9, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Gunbarrel Restaurant.


There will also be a series of snowshoe events as Hoodoo Adventures partners with wineries for a fireside dinner with Lake Breeze Vineyards, a bonfire lunch with Hillside Winery and an après tour wine and cheese with Upper Bench Estate Winery.


Snowshoe dinner tours are not new, said Hoodoo’s Lyndie Hill, but this is the first time the adventure company has collaborated with the wineries in this way. She said the snowshoe portion shouldn’t be too difficult.

“The snowshoe portion is really only an hour, and they will do a loop around so they will come back closer to where the finish is,” said Hill. “So after they have eaten and had their wine pairing, they won’t have to walk very far to get to the car park. The actual snowshoe portion will be mostly at the beginning and then they will be wined and dined and brought back to the village.”

The snowshoe events take place at different times throughout the weekend, including one planned for after dark.

“The Friday night runs from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.,” said Hill. “It’s really quite bright up there. We have headlamps but we always end up turning them off, because the moon is usually so bright that we don’t really need them with the reflection on the snow. It’s actually a really pretty time to go.”

What all the snowshoe tours have in common, Hill said, is a warm fire at the end for the wine and food portion of the adventure.

“They will all have the bonfire aspect to them, so you can sit around the fire and warm up before you finish your tour,” said Hill.

“It’s going to be a great weekend with participants able to play in some of the best snow conditions in over 20 years during the day and taste first-class local wines through the evening,” said Shalman.

For the main wine event, 12 Naramata Bench wineries will be pouring at the wine tasting event: Misconduct Wine Co; D’Angelo Estate Winery; Hillside Estate Winery and Bistro; Lake Breeze Vineyards; Perseus Winery; Poplar Grove Winery; Laughing Stock Vineyards; Therapy Vineyards; Upper Bench Estate Winery; La Frenz Winery; Van Westen Vineyards and Lang Vineyards.

Chef Rob Walker will be creating a variety of small plates to highlight the wines, and following the tasting; Naramata band Uncorked will be taking the stage in the Gunbarrel to provide entertainment for the evening.


Follow the event on Twitter at #verticalvintage or check out for a full weekend event schedule, the details for the Vertical and Vintages main wine tasting event, the snowshoe and wineries events, and ski, wine and stay packages that are available for the weekend.


To purchase tickets for the wine tasting and small plates event, contact Kerissa at 1-877-777-2739 or via email For tickets for the snowshoe and wineries events contact


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