Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News. Western News file photo

Okanagan Taste: Try something new in 2018

Still pondering resolutions?

Perhaps the easiest one to keep is this: try something new this year. A new Okanagan wine, beer, cider or spirit. Or, perhaps embrace an emerging “mocktail” movement, currently encouraging bartenders and mixologists to create better drink options for those not imbibing.

And then, there are new restaurants to try. Thankfully, each year there is Dine Around Thompson Okanagan, encouraging you to “sip, savour, and save” at a number of valley restaurants. Find a new, or new-to-you, spot to try, while at the same time saving a few bucks now that holiday bills are coming in.

The launch party kicks things off on Jan. 16, a stand-up reception at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College with more than a dozen restaurants alongside wine and beer booths. Then, from Jan. 17 to Feb. 4, thanks to the organization of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association and signature sponsor the Wines of British Columbia, explore menus — $15, $25, $35 or $45 per person — from here to Vernon and points in between.

If it’s been a while since you’ve hit a ski hill, or you’ve not visited the local ones, of course it’s a good time to go — even if après-ski is the only activity you’re interested in. Ski resorts around the Okanagan recognize that their visitors are seeking food and wine experiences to complement their days on the slopes.

Two upcoming events at Apex sound inviting. Brewski, a beer, cider, and spirits tasting event, returns on Feb. 17, followed by Vertical and Vintages on March 10. The latter features wine from the Naramata Bench; both events take place in the Gunbarrel Saloon with nibbles and after-party live music. Bonus: while there, check out the brand new Longshot Tapas Bar.

Further afield, the annual winter wine festival returns to SunPeaks Resort near Kamloops from Jan. 12 to 21 with numerous food and wine events.

Having not been on any sports equipment on a ski hill in several years, my own resolution is to be fit enough to ski or snowshoe this year, but I’m giving myself till opening day next winter to get ready.

Save the Date (click the links to learn more)

****Correction: this listing previously had Play Estate Winery’s Three-Course Friday on the list, it has been removed as the Bistro is closed until April. The wine shop is open during the week for wine sales and wine tasting by appointment with a special on Wednesdays that is free wine tasting between noon and 4 p.m.******

November through March, Oliver: Join Intersection winery’s Vinstitute classes and learn about wine and winemaking. Full schedule online.

Jan. 10 to March 28, West Kelowna: Quails Gate hosts its long table dinners on Wednesdays, each one exploring a different theme or region.

Jan. 17 to Feb. 4, various locations: Dine Around Thompson Okanagan.

Jan. 20, Summerland: Visit the Tasting Lounge Open House at Okanagan Crush Pad for wine tastings and charcuterie.

Jan. 5 to 28, Oliver: Visit Jackson Triggs on select days for the “Blue Plate Special” food and wine pairing.

Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News. She can be reached at and on Twitter @OkanaganTaste

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