Township 7 winery in Naramata has began their Support, Ship and Sip campaign to help those in the hospitality industry impacted by COVID restrictions. (Township 7 photo)

Naramata winery supporting hospitality workers amid new COVID-19 health orders

Township 7’s Support, Ship and Sip campaign aids laid off staff and contributes to wine scholarships

It’s that time of year again in the Okanagan Valley when wineries open to the tasting season.

One Naramata winery has just opened its outdoor tasting bar while also looking to help out those in the hospitality industry impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

Township 7 Vineyards and Winery has launched their second annual Support, Ship & Sip campaign. The charity campaign raises funds for hospitality workers in financial distress and the new B.C. Wine Industry Scholarship & Education (BC WISE) fund.

The scholarship is designated for students in winemaking, viticulture and wine business administration. It was launched on Jan. 15, 2021, with the inaugural awards to be presented in May.

“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has been going for over a year now, and workers in the hospitality industry have faced tremendous economic challenges with all of the closures and restrictions placed on their businesses. Given Monday’s (March 29) three-week closure announcement by the B.C. government, we hope charity efforts like ours and others in the wine community will help lighten their financial burdens, at least in some small way,” said Mike Raffan, general manager of Township 7 Vineyards & Winery.

Township 7 just started their spring tasting hours and is welcomingpeople to their outdoor tasting bar.

“We are taking reservations. People can also walk in and enjoy a tasting at our outdoor tasting bar. For walk-ins, we are taking contact information to ensure COVID tracing,” said Raffan.

Support, Ship and Sip is already taking off, with an online order already placed before the campaign began, he said.

Township 7 is building on last year’s successful campaign that saw the winery contribute $5,000 to the BC Hospitality Foundation to assist hospitality workers in distress. This April, for every online order, Township 7 will donate $10 to the BCHF with the goal of reaching $5,000 again.

“There is a significant human resources shortage of skilled workers in our industry, particularly in the Okanagan Valley,” said Raffan.

“We believe that BC WISE will help foster the next generation of wine industry talent and hope it encourages people to pursue their career here in B.C. We hope our $10 donation for each online order will be as successful this April as it was a year ago.”

The BCHF’s executive director Dana Harris said they are grateful for Township 7s contribution.

“Our charity is honoured that Township 7 has partnered with the BCHF to support the important work that we do to help individuals in the hospitality and tourism business that are struggling financially because of a health condition,” said Harris.

READ MORE: Canada surpasses 1 million COVID-19 cases

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