Wine tours getting bad rap

There has been plenty of talk this summer about wine tour companies bringing rowdy patrons to Okanagan wineries.

Some wineries have gone so far as to limit the number of tours or people per tour at any one time. Others have outright banned bachelor and bachelorette parties.

One local tour operator believes the changing wine tour landscape is a result of too many rogue operators who play loose with the rules. Debbie Dupasquier bought Distinctly Kelowna Tours in 2011, and she has noticed a huge surge in the number of companies over the last seven years.

“Unfortunately a lot of them don’t have their proper licensing and insurance, and some of them are just giving the industry a bad name by letting people drink in the vehicles and bringing drunk groups to the wineries,” Dupasquier said.

“So some of the newer wineries that don’t know the history of the original tour companies, like Blind Tiger being new, are just kind of set up with some of these new companies bringing in these rowdy groups. They’re making this blanket rule that they aren’t going to welcome tour companies or are very limiting in the number of guests who can be brought to the wineries.

“Fortunately we have a really good reputation, and a lot of the wineries know us.”

Dupasquier and seven of her competitors recently joined forces to create the Thompson Okanagan Tour Operators Association in an effort to make themselves stand out from the pack.

Visit Okanagan Edge for the rest of this story.

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