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Okanagan Fall Wine Festival kicks off

Fall is one of the most interesting seasons around a winery as the grapes start ripening for harvest also making it one of the best times for a wine festival.

Celebrating its 31st year the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival kicks off today running until Oct. 9. There are over 165 events spread throughout the Valley over the 10 days.

"It's definitely the largest of them all. A lot of that is because it is 31 years this year but also has to do with the fact that it is also one of the most exciting times to be out visiting the wineries because everyone is in harvest," said Christina Ferreira, co-ordinator, Okanagan Wine Festival Society. "There is so much activity so rather than just seeing the wine shop you get to see all the activity around the winery itself."

The event wraps up with the Valley First Grand Finale Consumer Tastings on Oct. 7 to 8 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. A twist this year is instead of announcing the awards at this event, they are being released at the opening in Kelowna today.

"This way people wont miss out who the award winners are, but the flipside of that is you will really have to make sure you get out to the wineries before the festival is over to make sure you pick up your award winner because the chance is if you wait too long they will be gone," said Ferreira.

The Valley First finale is a way to tour many of the Okanagan wineries without all the travel. Those who want to explore some of the finest wines that are being produced in the Okanagan can indulge at the grand finale.

"I really encourage people to attend that event because this year we have more than 80 wineries there. It is the largest event and there is a pretty good chance for those who are attending to come across wineries they have never even heard of," said Ferreira. "Then we have the on-site wine store, so the wines you are tasting you can take home with you and you also get a free taxi ride home."

A ticket to the Valley First Grand Finale Consumer Tastings includes live entertainment, souvenir wine glass, wine tasting, bread and cheese and the free ride home. A limited number of tickets are available at www.valleyfirsttix.com or by calling 1-877-763-2849.

For more on other events happening around the Okanagan visit www.thewinefestivals.com.

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