While the annual Okanagan Fall Wine Festival is off, some other high-profile events are still happening

Wine fest off, awards a go

As is the case with all large events scheduled to take place in B.C., the annual Okanagan Fall Wine Festival will not be happening this year.

The festival, which brings together wine enthusiasts from across the Pacific Northwest and beyond, has fallen victim to restrictions around COVID-19, which limits gatherings to just 50 people.

The spring and summer festivals were also cancelled.

Okanagan Wine Festivals general manager, Elan Morris says that means large, signature events which can attract from several hundred to several thousand people can't take place.

These include events such as the WestJet Wine Tasting, Festival of the Grape in Oliver and others.

While the overall festival is a no go, some smaller events are going ahead.

"A few of our member wineries have chosen to do small events, and we do allow them to post those on our calendar," said Morris.

To date, five of those have been posted in the wine festival website.

Due to the pandemic, most wineries have not been hosting events this year. Morris says some even chose not to open their tasting rooms at all this year.

However, Morris did says two other events are a go this year, including the prestigious BC Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards.

Judging for those awards will be held over the next three days at Manteo Resort.

"I am happy to announce we have a record 745 entries this year which beats our record last year of 726.

"I feel very thankful we have that."

The winners will be unveiled in early October.

Morris says they are also going ahead with their annual industry trade tasting.

Traditionally, she says, that event runs over one day at the Laurel Packinghouse with 45 to 50 wineries and about 300 people in attendance.

"Obviously we can't to that, so we are going forward with a modified format over two days at the new Hyatt Place with two rooms, less wineries and trade needs to make an appointment so we can maintain less than 50 people in a room at any one time."

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