Wineries all over the South Okanagan are opening their doors this weekend to kick off the Christmas season in style.
Oliver and Osoyoos get the jump on everyone, with their Winter in Wine Country celebration, which gets underway on Friday at 11 a.m. with Christmas light displays, holiday specials, crafts, sleigh rides and more at wineries throughout the region.
Events at the wineries will continue through Sunday, but those are just a part of what will be going on. The official Oliver Lights Up celebration runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, with the official ceremony and fireworks in Community Park. Osoyoos is also starting their Christmas Light up celebration on Friday, with a toy drive at 7 a.m. and later in the day, carolling and a Santa Parade on Main Street starting at 6 p.m.
Farther to the north, in Summerland, the wineries of Bottleneck Drive are pairing their second Light up the Vines celebration with the Summerland Festival of Lights. The celebration was held for the first time last year, and the response exceeded expectations. Planners had expected to sell 300 tickets, but ended up with 370 sold. This year, the festival will be self-guided tour, with no fee to take part.
Best of all, Light Up the Vines has been extended to two days, so from 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, visitors will be able to taste their way through the wineries, enjoy the sight of the vines lit up for the season and take part in a weekend passport program to win a prize valued at over $750.
Wineries from The Naramata Bench Wine Association and The Naramata Store are also getting into the spirt of the season, partnering with the United Way and the Penticton and District Community Resources Society for a weekend long open house and fundraiser for the community organization.
At a time when they would normally be closed for the season, participating wineries will open their doors and on Saturday and Sunday, 10 per cent of all wine and gift sales over the two-day period will be given to the PDCRS Family Assistance Program in partnership with the United Way.
The participating wineries will be open from noon to 5 p.m., while the Naramata Store will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“The PDCRS Family Assistance Program gives hundreds of individuals, families and children help right now,” said Tanya Behardien, executive director of the PDCRS. “We are so grateful to be the recipients from these incredibly generous wineries and The Naramata Store. To have most of these local wineries reopen for business and share this abundance with our families, is a magical way to celebrate the holidays.”