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Okanagan-Taste

Wines for Thanksgiving

The first fall-family-feast weekend is here.

While your winemaker, grape picker, and cellar hand friends might be absent for Thanksgiving dinner as the grape harvest carries on, we can all raise a glass to the hard work from prior vintages.

And maybe take a hot beverage to those in the vineyard.

For the white-wine fans, or to start the afternoon or evening with something a bit lighter before moving on to reds, give these a try.

Howling Bluff 2018 Pinot Gris: an exceptionally bright wine with tropical aromas, lychee and passion fruit, and perfect for anyone at the table who doesn’t like anything oaky. If the sun is out, throw on a light sweater and hit the patio. And it might, might, pair with ambrosia salad.

Quails’ Gate 2018 Dry Riesling: crisp, dry, almost zesty with citrus notes, this is far from the sweet Riesling the neighbours may have brought over. Red wine drinkers will be impressed, and if one of your courses involves kale and lemon zest, try pairing it with this.

VinAmité 2015 Chardonnay: there are a few vintages out there in wine shops, but try to find a slightly older one. Nicely balanced with careful oak treatment, and a lingering finish, the no-oak dinner guests should try it. Enjoy with seafood appetizers.

Wild Goose 2017 Autumn Gold: the name is appropriate for the occasion. This blend of Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Blanc has a very slight touch of sweetness and will pair with just about anything on the table.

On the red side, a few choices, listed from lightest to boldest.

Blue Mountain 2017 Gamay Noir: gamay is a very light, fruit-forward red; this bottle has had some neutral oak treatment, which gives it some body and subtle notes of spice and vanilla. Plenty of blueberry and raspberry flavours. Save it for the cranberry fruit crumble for dessert.

Mission Hill 2017 Reserve Pinot Noir: an elegant pinot that should please everyone with its cherry-spice notes, and hints of earthiness with soft tannins and a nice acidity on the finish. Pour it at the beginning of the main course. It’ll be gone before you know it.

Upper Bench 2015 Altitude: mostly merlot, with 25% cabernet sauvignon, this is a red to spark conversation (or change its direction) as the night goes on. Full bodied, ripe with plums, cassis, dark chocolate, and vanilla bean; it will round out a big meal.

Black Hills 2017 Addendum: This is the bottle you keep on the counter just in case, but you hope you don’t need to open it until all the guests are gone. A blend of merlot with 10% each of the cabs franc and sauv, save it for the addendum of the evening when you and your close friends start tidying up and summarizing the day.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Oct. 17-19: the first Kelowna Seafood Celebration takes place with multiple events — Shuck and Saber, Crab and Chardonnay, Whisky and Oysters, and a Saturday Seafood Soirée.

Oct. 19, Salmon Arm: Take a road trip to the Shuswap Wine Fest with Spirit, with more than 100 food and drink samples.

Through Oct. 13, Penticton: Enjoy a Table d’Hote menu at Time Winery and Kitchen, four courses with additional wine pairings as an option.



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Wine festival extravaganza

A sure sign of fall for wine lovers – planning an agenda of tastings, dinners, seminars and events during the annual Okanagan Fall Wine Festival.

There are more than 100 at the Oct. 3-13 festival, so how do you choose?

Thankfully, the festival website lets you search by date, region of the valley, and a few other options.

My advice? Choose a variety, and book soon.

There are a handful of signature events, some may be familiar. The British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards and Reception starts things off and provides a good shopping list for stocking your cellar.

The WestJet tasting event takes place on a grand and dramatic scale in Kelowna with dozens of wineries taking over the Carson Air Hangar at YLW. It is also a good event for taking note of wineries to visit, and bottles to buy.

New this year in Penticton is Sensation, presented by Valley First.

“This is a one-of-a-kind experiential tasting, where wines have been paired with different cultural experiences, keeping the five senses in mind. Guests can see, touch, hear, smell, and (of course) taste their way through dozens of B.C. wines at this sensational event,” said Angela Brown, Okanagan Wine Festivals Society chair.

On top of these larger celebrations, throw in a few more intimate experiences.

How about a Pork and Pinot Long Table dinner at CedarCreek? Exploring Roots and Vines at Ex Nihilo by shopping at a Farmers’ Market in the vineyard? Or live music and barbecue at Rust Wine?

You can also learn a few things at Township 7 for the 7 Sensations of Wine, participate in winemaking at Harvest Work Days at Noble Ridge, attempt a winery-based Escape Room at the Vinstitute at Intersection, or take in Fromage and Ferment and learn about cheese at River Stone.

And don’t miss the 8th annual Garlic Festival at Hester Creek, the Lamb Dinner at Quinta Ferreira, and the Best Paella in the Okanagan at Da Silva.

There are too many events to list here, and many sell out in advance of the festival, so choose soon, and reserve your seats before you miss out.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Sept. 27, Okanagan Falls: Meatstock takes place at Wild Goose Vineyards. An evening of meats prepared by the Smoke & Oak Bistro, plus wine pairings.

Sept. 28 and Oct. 5, Penticton: Learn about the 7 Sensations of Wine at Township 7, a fun and interactive event for all wine lovers.

Sept. 28, Kamloops: SunPeaks Resort hosts its second annual Cider Fest, part of a weekend of autumn activities.

Sept. 28, Naramata: Da Silva Vineyards hosts a rustic hearty Portuguese farm table dinner with Chef Abul Adame.

Sept. 28, Osoyoos: Reserve your spots for the annual Winemakers’ Dinner at Nk’Mip Cellars.

Oct. 6, Oliver: The annual Festival of the Grape returns with numerous wineries and its famous grape stomp.



Craft beer celebration

It’s official. City of Penticton official. Penticton Mayor and Council have officially proclaimed Oct. 19-26 as Penticton Beer Week.

It’s not surprising. The city has ended up on “must visit” lists for craft beer lovers; several new breweries have opened this spring and summer both in Penticton and around the Okanagan, with more to come.

It seems that a new brewery or brew pub is announced in the region just about every week. Events such as Hopscotch – a Festival of Whisky, Beer and Sprits coming up on Sept. 27-28 in Kelowna — and Great Okanagan Beer Festival in Kelowna and Fest of Ale in Penticton often sell out.

The Festival of the Grape in Oliver, Oct. 6, added Cask and Keg the night before the main wine event a couple of years ago, and it is very popular.

Cask and Keg is an outdoor evening event focused on celebrating the creations from local and regional breweries, distilleries and cideries.

The first Penticton Beer Week, which will include a celebration of local craft beer industry, will kick off Oct. 19 with the annual Oktoberfest.

There will be a number of craft beer related events at breweries and local restaurants around Penticton throughout the remainder of the week.

In addition, all seven (yes, seven) Penticton breweries will come together to make a special collaboration beer.

This limited release beer will be launched in draft format at the breweries and local restaurants in Penticton and area during the week. Some of this beer will go into cans so it can be sold at private liquor stores.

This limited release collaboration beer will also be a fundraiser beer, where a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a local non-profit/charity. Each year, the beneficiary will change.

Might be time for a cold one.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Sept. 21, Kelowna: Appleooza, a cider tasting event, takes place at the Packinghouse with a number of cideries and food trucks.

Sept. 22, Keremeos: Visit the Grist Mill & Gardens for the Heritage Fall Fair.

Sept. 27, Okanagan Falls: Meatstock takes place at Wild Goose Vineyards. An evening of meats prepared by the Smoke & Oak Bistro, plus wine pairings.

Sept. 28 and Oct. 5, Penticton: Learn about the 7 Sensations of Wine at Township 7, a fun and interactive event for all wine lovers.

Sept. 28, Kamloops: SunPeaks Resort hosts its second annual Cider Fest, part of a weekend of autumn activities.

Sept. 28, Naramata: Da Silva Vineyards hosts a rustic hearty Portuguese farm table dinner with Chef Abul Adame.

Sept. 28, Osoyoos: Reserve your spots for the annual Winemakers’ Dinner at Nk’Mip Cellars.

Oct. 3-13, valley-wide: Start planning your agenda and event for the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival.





Finding a place to live

Housing, hiring, and hospitality

It’s becoming a repeated refrain in the hospitality industry in the Okanagan and many other places:

“where can we find more staff, and where are they going to live?”

When it comes to the wine industry, perhaps we haven’t yet reached a critical tipping point when it comes to staffing, but it’s coming. As yet, unlike restaurants, it’s rare that a winery must limit its hours due to a lack of front-of-house people, but it’s coming.

And so, a call out to those on the front lines of finding staff to think about attending the Hiring and Workforce Housing Forum on Sept. 18 in Penticton, an event hosted by the City of Penticton’s Economic Development department.

“Finding great people has been increasingly challenging over the last few years for a variety of reasons, and fast-growing industries such as wine and beverage find themselves competing even more for that available talent,” said Jennifer Vincent, who has put the event together.

“Often companies are finding they are recruiting from outside the region meaning that new staff must relocate, but where will they live? If they’re seasonal staff, what kind of short-term affordable housing options are available?

“The forum is a chance to discuss these needs with the development community and to explore how the various employment sectors in the region might come together to create some really smart solutions to an ongoing problem.”

Speakers run the gamut from university professors to experts in immigration – temporary foreign workers is a hot topic in many industries – to representatives from B.C. Housing and leaders in entrepreneurship.

“The forum is an opportunity to take a day to dive into learning how to optimize how you market to potential employees and you can even sign up to produce a recruitment video, leveraging your learnings throughout the day and supported with professional videographers,” Vincent said.

There is no easy solution, but coming together for interactive discussions with colleagues, both in hospitality and other industries, might be a good place to start.

For more information and to register, visit: https://www.hiringandhousingforum.com/

UPCOMING EVENTS

Sept. 13 and Oct. 11, Okanagan Falls: Liquidity Winery hosts two Harvest Winemakers Dinners, with a sparkling wine reception followed by a five-course dinner.

Sept. 14, Naramata: The first event of the Mountain Music Series, featuring a three-course dinner and live music.

Sept. 18, Kelowna: Join PipART Creations at Volcanic Hills to create some art – Mixed Media Wine Bottles.

Sept. 21, Kelowna: Appleooza, a cider tasting event, takes place at the Packinghouse with a number of cideries and food trucks.

Sept. 27, Okanagan Falls: Meatstock takes place at Wild Goose Vineyards. An evening of meats prepared by the Smoke and Oak Bistro, plus wine pairings.



More Okanagan Taste articles

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About the Author

A creative thinker with more than two decades of experience in communications, Allison is an early adopter of social and digital media, bringing years of work in traditional media to the new frontier of digital engagement marketing through her company, All She Wrote.

She is the winner of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association's 2011 and 2012 awards for Social Media Initiative, an International LERN award for marketing, and the 2014 Penticton Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Hospitality/Tourism.

Allison has amassed a following on multiple social networks of more than 30,000, frequently writes and about social media, food and libations as well as travel and events, and through her networks, she led a successful bid to bring the Wine Bloggers Conference to Penticton in June 2013, one of the largest social media wine events in the world, generating 31 million social media impressions, $1 million in earned media, and an estimated ongoing economic impact of $2 million.

In 2014, she held the first Canadian Wine Tourism Summit to spark conversation about the potential for wine tourism in Canada as a year-round economic driver.

Allison contributes epicurean content to several publications, has been a judge for several wine and food competitions, and has earned her advanced certificate from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.

In her spare time, she has deep, meaningful conversations with her cats.

She can be reached at [email protected]



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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