Where there’s wine around, it’s likely I’ll be found.
As a journalist, I’ve been present at many wine events, camera slung round my neck, as I circle the venue, armed with pen and pad, looking for photo subjects.
Most recently, I had the pleasure of attending my first Naramata Bench Winery Association tailgate party.
It was staged at Poplar Grove Winery, a location that anyone who has visited can verify comes with a stunning view of sprawling vineyards, a vibrant shoreline and Okanagan Lake glistening in the background.
The event gave attendees the chance to make their rounds with like-minded wine lovers, sampling luscious red and white delights and fine food prepared by local chefs.
This year, it paid tribute to the Genie award-winning movie, My American Cousin, which was shot on location in Naramata and Penticton. The film tells the story of an adventurous 12-year-old in the late 1950s, whose otherwise mundane summer became more exciting following an unexpected visit from her California cousin.
Director Sandy Wilson and Maggie Langrick, who played the lead character, Sandy, were among the cast present at the event. They took the time to mingle with the crowd, and welcome those who got into the spirit by adorning themselves in outfits reminiscent of that era.
I’m not alone when I reveal my love for the social aspect of wine and the manner in which it brings together friends and family. In fact, some of my most memorable moments happened at a wine event and this was no different.
As I waded through the crowd — estimated at 400 — I saw many faces, including the faces of people I hadn’t seen for awhile. I talked to one individual, who has been an integral member of the community, and I was surprised to learn he’d been seriously ill and was forced to stop working while undergoing treatment, and that it’s possible he won’t be returning to the job. Another familiar face I’m glad I bumped into was that of someone I’ve interviewed on multiple occasions. He’s always been friendly and able to accommodate all my requests, but soon he’ll be moving away, after accepting a new position in his chosen profession.
Of course, I ran into many others, including friends, acquaintances and some people whose paths I cross only when we’re attending wine events (go figure). I even had one person whom I’ve not seen for several years, message me on social media telling me she thought she’d seen me at the tailgate party.
“Either that, or you’ve got a twin,” she wrote.
I like knowing that when I’m attending wine events the conversations cover not only wine, (full-bodied, with a taste of black berries, ripe tannins and a long, velvety finish, blah, blah, blah), but also that people talk about what they’ve been doing lately, a recent vacation they’ve enjoyed, a failed (or new) relationship, and even about upcoming wine events (shocking).
At wine events, it’s likely I’ll be greeted with a smile, a handshake or a warm hug. I can’t recall a time I saw anyone frowning during a wine social.
I came to the sad realization some time ago that it is impossible to attend every single wine event, even if I could afford to. However, the nice part is, from the large-scale, to the small-quaint gathering, and to those somewhere in between, I believe there’s likely something that caters to everyone’s taste, so if you’ve not yet found an event you fancy, wine, wine again.
Appreciate that we live in an area which is known for sun, sage and sand, is fast-becoming a world-class wine region and raise a glass in recognition.
On a similar note, I would like to raise a glass as I say goodbye to my co-workers following an enjoyable, albeit brief stint with the Western News.
To my co-workers, I express my appreciation for their support and willingness to help me adjust to a new work environment and the tasks I was given.
I also want to express my gratitude to the entire Western News staff for making me feel welcome during my time here, and to people in the community who helped make my job easier.
Scott Trudeau is in his last week as the AE editor of the Penticton Western News