Okanagan wineries welcome spring with festival events

Penticton area and South Okanagan wineries ready to usher in spring with wine festival.

Township 7 winemaker Bradley Cooper (left) with some guests at a barrel tasting on the Naramata Bench.

Township 7 winemaker Bradley Cooper (left) with some guests at a barrel tasting on the Naramata Bench.

After watching their vines sleep for months, winemakers and vineyards celebrate the spring season with the Okanagan Wine Festival.

Hundreds of events will take place throughout the valley from May 2 to 12 including dining and tasting events to educational experiences.

With the forecast for the weekend calling for sunny, warm days, Lori Pike-Raffan of Township 7 Vineyards and Winery said it is a great time to get out and explore the South Okanagan terroir with their event Winemaker for an afternoon: the art of winemaking.

“It is a ton of fun,” said Pike-Raffan. “We let people draw Chardonnay from the barrels and some might be heavily oaken and some are from our estate vineyard here, some are from vineyards we have in the South Okanagan. It is amazing how even though they are all from the same grape they all taste different.”

In addition to tasting, people are experiencing the art that goes behind winemaking. Winemaker Bradley Cooper will walk people through how to blend a single varietal from different vineyard sites to create a complex, interesting and flavourful wine.

“White wine goes hand in hand with spring. We also liked the educational component mixed with the fun component. As well, it is a way to take advantage of this gorgeous weather on our crush pad,” said Pike-Raffan.

Winemaker for an afternoon is from 1 to 3 p.m. at Township 7 on the Naramata Bench. Cost of a ticket is $20 and to reserve your spot RSVP call 250-770-1743.

On Saturday, the Penticton Lakeside Resort and Casino will roll out exquisite food prepared by executive chef Chris Remington and his culinary team coupled with extraordinary wine tastings from 50 award-winning wineries from across the Okanagan. Buzzing with wine connoisseurs, world-class vintners and those who simply enjoy an uncomplicated glass of wine, Bacchanalia is a much anticipated event. It has been rated the number one wine festival event in the Okanagan by participating wineries and is a one-off chance to test new products and try over 200 wines.

“We are definitely looking forward to this,” said Pike-Raffan, who will be there with Township 7. “This is a phenomenal event because there are so many wineries in one room. In the Okanagan there is over 200 wineries and there is no way you could possibly get to them all. To have the opportunity to experience them in one room is great.”

Bacchanalia begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $70 plus tax and available at the Lakeside.

Also on Saturday, Covert Farms in Oliver is hosting a family-friendly event. The Pig Out is a feast for all your senses with eight chefs from local restaurants preparing pork in many different ways including two pigs on the spit. Pouring samples of their latest releases and fan favourites will be 28 wineries from Oliver/Osoyoos Wine Country. Tickets are available at the Oliver Visitor Centre or online at www.oliverosoyoos.com/pigout. To view all events taking place during the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival visit www.thewinefestivals.com.