Dining and Wining  

Summer Okanagan Wine Fest

The 2012 Summer Okanagan Wine Festival surely will bring out the hot weather in July as it kicks off from July 7 through July 15 throughout the Okanagan showcasing our wine and food culture at the height of summer’s allure. The Summer Okanagan Wine Festival offers outdoor and indoor events designed to showcase the wineries in the beauty of the Okanagan summer and it is another reason that the Okanagan is a wine destination for tourists from around the world. 

“The beauty of the Summer Okanagan Wine Festival is that it not only provides a reason to visit wineries, it’s Signature Events have been built around alliances with fabulous sports and cultural events” points out Jessie Campbell, CEO for Penticton & Wine Country Tourism. “ A great example is the Granfondo Wine Tasting on Sunday July 8 at Penticton’s Gyro Park. There will be over 2,500 riders this year in the Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan and the outdoor wine tasting planned for Gyro park is a perfect complement for the riders and for tourists wanting to celebrate.” The Granfondo Wine Tasting will see Gyro Park come alive Sunday evening July 8 with over 35 wineries pouring, fantastic light tapas and a great live cover band with dancing available for all.

The Summer Okanagan Wine Festival offers innovative events designed to capture the summer tourist’s attention throughout the Okanagan. A full colour events guide is free for downloading at www.thewinefestivals.com. “There are four Signature Events amongst the 30 plus events that are designed to showcase our beautiful wine region. They have been carefully planned to be fun and allow guests to learn about wine in a fun friendly manner,” states Eric Von Krosigk, Chair of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society. “These four Signature Events should be on everyone’s summer party agenda. They provide a wonderful, fun informal wine experience and they all come with a Safe Ride Home to your place of residence.”

The Signature Events include:

Pop Goes the Cork Presented by Valley First and Tourism Kelowna in Kelowna on Saturday July 7 from 6:30pm-9pm. Tour the Okanagan’s wineries under a majestic Olympic tent set up at the Rotary Arts Common. Pop Goes the Cork unveils summer in downtown Kelowna with over 30 wineries pouring along with sublime Canadian cheeses provided by Dairy Farmers of Canada. Top this off  with a live local band and the atmosphere will be downright inviting if you are out on a date or just want to socialize with friends. It also takes place on the weekend when Kelowna’s new music and arts Festival –Keloha– occurs so downtown Kelowna will truly take main stage that evening. Tickets are only $59 at www.selectyourtickets.com or by phone at 250-717-5304.

The Granfondo Wine Tasting on Sunday July 8 at Penticton’s Gyro Park from 6:30pm-9pm.   Celebrate a hot summer evening with people from around the world who have come to the Okanagan to participate in the Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan cycling event. Over 300 wines, a great dance band and you have the ingredient for a great outdoor party. Tickets are only $59 through www.valleyfirsttix.com or by phone 877-763-2849

The Winetenders CockTail Shakeoff Presented by Okanagan Spirits held in Kelowna at the Laurel Packinghouse on Thursday July 12 from 7pm-9pm. Who said wine doesn’t mix? Nine fabulous bartenders will convince you otherwise as they create their own signature bar drink with a British Columbia wine as an ingredient and a special BC liqueur from Okanagan Spirits. Everyone has a chance to watch the drinks being made and then tasting them to see who should be crowned Winetender Champion. Last year was such a success with a decidedly high energy crowd, it has been expanded to a larger venue and more bartenders. Tickets are only $50 at www.selectyourtickets.com or by phone at 250-717-5304.

All You Need is Cheese & Wine – The Beach Party held in Osoyoos at the Watermark Beach Resort on Friday July 13 from 7pm-9pm. Did you say beach party? In Osoyoos? With wine and cheese? Enjoy a fun evening with live music by the lake as Dairy Farmers of Canada present an amazing array of cheeses paired with wine. Sample pizza made from fresh Canadian mozzarella and inhale the views! Tickets are only $59 and available at www.selectyourtickets.com or by phone at 250-717-5304.

The line-up is all set for the Summer Okanagan Wine Festival. Come and join the wineries of the Okanagan celebrate the best of summer.



Wine, nudes & fun, all part of the Vinos

And The Vino Goes To… 

Winners Announced as Funds Raised for Charity

3rd Annual Wine Film Festival raises awareness for BC Wine and funds for United Way and BC Hospitality Fund

Osoyoos/Oliver B.C. - $10,500 was raised for the Children’s Charities of the United Way of the South Okanagan and the BC Hospitality Foundation as wine-lovers, film makers and media gathered in Osoyoos this weekend for the 3rd Annual Vinos Wine Film Festival. The weekend marked the Grand Opening of the new $1 million Wine Experience Centre at Black Hills Estate Winery as the winery celebrated its annual Nota Bene Release Party.

Vino Winners: 1st place for Category 1, the “BC Wine Video” award, presented by SUN FM radio, went to Larkyn Statten, for The Real Housewines of British Columbia. 2nd place went to Vinos, Boxed Wine and Nudes from Kent Molgat and Curtis Allen and 3rd Place went to artist Jason Gogo for his video, I Don’t Know Jason. 

1st place for Category 2, the “Wine Tourism Video” award, presented by Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, went to Michael Benedek for Wine Tours with Valhalla Helicopters. 2nd place went to Cameron Dennison for Cherry Point – Double Ortega and 3rd place went to Wine Getaway by Andrew Jakubeit. Category 3: the “People's Choice Video Award”, presented by Wineries Refined, was won by Sebastian Mercado for his Wine Wishes video.

NOTE: All videos can be seen at: www.youtube.com/BlackHillsWinery

Glenn Fawcett, Vinos festival founder, and president of Black Hills Estate Winery, says, “The first Vinos drew 100 people, this year’s event drew close to 400. It gets bigger every year and the real winner is BC wine.”

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on June 10 at the Black Hills Wine Experience Centre to commemorate the Grand Opening. The Tasting Centre is now open to the public. It is a world-class, Napa-inspired facility that will give wine tourists an exceptional sit-down tasting experience immersed in the middle of Black Hills terroir.

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Black Tie Bingo

This is an event not to be missed!!  Have fun and feel good about supporting the Okanagan Symphony!!

Unlike Bingo of the past - as many remember the fundraising experiences for your children’s hockey team or dance group - our bingo evening will rock!!!

What you will experience for your ticket fee of $140.00:

  • Sizzling food and Fabulous wine
  • Jazzy music with dancing encouraged
  • Plenty of tables and chairs to make yourselves comfortable!!

Elegant Casual Dress – if you are so inclined, any black tie will do!!

Fabulous Bingo prizes - available when you purchase special bingo cards to play the games. Special bingo cards are $25 each or 3 for $50.

I.            Delta Grand Okanagan presents:

o   “In the Kitchen with Executive Chef Stuart Klassen” - Includes a 5 course dinner demonstration for 6 guests prepared at the Chef's Table - Wine pairing with the Okanagan`s best wines presented by Sommelier Wine Educator Paul Clark. http://stonesoupchef.com/  

II.            Custom Bench designed and crafted by Allan Smith – www.sonorous.ca

III.            Watermark Beach Resort presents:

o   2 night stay in deluxe guest suite for 4 guests. Dinner for 4 in the WBR notable Wine Bar

o   http://www.watermarkbeachresort.com/

o   A day at La Stella with the winemaker to experience a private tour of the vineyard and then into the cellars to taste the current vintages. Finally the winemaker will take you behind the scenes where she will share her vision for the wines and the remarkable musical themes that run through the winery

o   http://www.lastella.ca/

o   And more experiences in the South Okanagan

Spectacular Silent Auction
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This will be a very fun, high quality evening that you have come to expect from the Okanagan Symphony. If you have friends that you think would enjoy the evening please invite them along.  We have a special tickets price for tables of 8 - $1040 or $130/person.

We look forward to seeing you there.  Tickets can be purchased online.   


Get those juices flowing for the Vinos

If you spent the weekend pondering the smell of petrol in your Riesling and thought to yourself, I should make a video about BC Wine, then you're in luck.

Enophiles and videographers can finally come together and fuse their passions to produce a short film about a BC winery, or anything to do with BC wine or Wine Tourism.

Three years ago, Glenn Fawcett, general manager of Blackhills Winery,  created the Vinos Wine Film Festival after he was inspired by The Big Rock Eddies, a contest and awards gala that offers Big Rock drinkers the chance to create a funny TV or print ad and earn cash prizes.

"It was so successful for beer, I thought why doesn't something like this happen for wine and that was the genesis for the Vinos."

Fawcett put his idea of the Vinos to work by spreading the word among wine lovers to create a video submission about BC Wine.

"The first year we had 210 people in attendance, we had 17 submissions and we showed them all, and the energy in the crowd was unbelievable. All the producers were there with their friends and all these curiosity seekers from around the Okanagan came to see what it was all about. "

As word spread about the Vinos, interest in the film festival grew and Fawcett expects that there will be over 450 people in attendance this year.

There are between 50 and 100 video submissions expected this year, and for those wanting to try their hand at entering, Fawcett has two words of advice.

"One, have fun. It seems when the producer is having fun and they get a topic that is funny and they are able translate it in to a story that plays out on video, then the audience will see that as fun. Second speaks to experience, especially if it is about BC Wine or tourism in the Okanagan it's something that the audience can relate too. If it is too specific, say about one specific winery or one specific wine then  it may not resonate with the audience, but if it's something broad about why you love BC Wine that is what gets the laughs. "

To submit a video for the festival, you don't have to be in the wine industry or film industry, says Fawcett. Instead, you only need access to a camera and to shoot something about BC Wine.

"In many ways it's those amateur submissions, that aren't overly processed, that really resonate with the audience and do the best."

A significant difference between the Vinos and The Big Rock Eddies according to Fawcett is that given the Eddies focuses on beer, approximately 85 per cent of the producers are men, whereas producers for the Vinos are 80 per cent women.

"They creative diversity with the submissions is just amazing the kind of sense of humour or the kind of sense of humour didn't fall into any standard formulaic approach. So it really became a fascinating film festival to watch because you are seeing such an incredible array of talent play out."

Other tips for submissions include:
    1.    Remember: An amateur video submission is just fine – it’s dreaming up a great idea that’s key.
    2.    Get inspired. Visit youtube.com/blackhillswinery and check out videos from past festivals.
    3.    Plan your production. Write a script and outline the shots you plan to include.
    4.    Grab a few friends and your video camera. They’ll all play an important part in your video - and they’ll be glad they did when you take home Vinos glory.
    5.    Edit your video. We ask that your video submission be between 1 – 2 minutes. No more, no less.

Deadline to submit: June 1, 2012

If having fun making the video wasn't enough of an award, don't worry - the Vinos have several high quality prizes.

Over $16,000 in prizes are up for grabs this year for producers of winning video submissions for the Vinos. This includes prizes in three different video categories:

The Vinos “Wine Video” Awards, presented by SUN FM radio:
    •    First Place: $5000 in cash and wine
    •    Second Place: $2000 in cash and wine
    •    Third Place: $1000 in cash and wine

The Vinos “Wine Tourism Video” Awards, presented by Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association:
    •    First Place: $5000 in cash and wine
    •    Second Place: $2000 in cash and wine
    •    Third Place: $1000 in cash and wine

The “People's Choice Video Award”, presented by Wineries Refined:
    •    $1000 in cash and wine

As an added bonus, the producers of the 15 selected finalist videos will be awarded a complimentary deluxe package for two people to the Black Hills Wine Festival. (Includes 2 night’s hotel accommodation in Osoyoos, 2 tickets to the Vinos Festival party, and 2 tickets to the Nota Bene Release Party at Black Hills Estate Winery.)

For further information: Visit the Black Hills Estate Winery wine shop, call the winery at (250) 498-0666, or visit the website: www.blackhillswinery.com.

Check out one of last year's submissions that caught the judges eye and laughs from the audience.


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