Ready for the season?

Get out your calendars, event season is coming

Sure, it’s only mid January, but some of the most popular wine, libations, and food events around the Okanagan and within a relatively short drive are already on track to sell out.

Even without much snow, that winter Okanagan cloud cover is has made its presence known. Fog alerts anyone?

To start 2019, here are a few things to get you out of the house till spring arrives.

Dine Around Thompson Okanagan kicks off this week, with nearly 50 restaurants around the region offering three-course dinners for a price fixe of $25, $35 or $45 through Feb. 3.

Try a new place or support a favourite. Suggestion? Enjoy a new dinner menu from the creative minds of Okanagan College’s Culinary and Pastry Arts students and instructors at Infusions at the Kelowna campus. Details: http://dinearound.ca/

Some of these students will be lucky enough to work alongside Canada’s best chefs at the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna. Three intense competitions Feb. 1-2, culminating in a glorious grand finale with the band Chilliwack. If you binge watch food competitions, come see the real thing. Details: http://greatkitchenparty.com/ca/culinary-championships/

Combining a weekend on a ski hill with wine is a great plan, if you’re missing the snow.

The Oliver-Osoyoos Wineries Associations heads to Baldy Mountain Resort on Feb. 9 for the first Uncork! Winter Wine Festival. A dozen wineries pouring select, hard-to-find wines, presented by the winemakers themselves, with food stations including an ice wine snow cone station. Details: https://baldyresort.com/event/winter-wine-event/

And, once again, the wineries of Naramata Bench take over the legendary Gunbarrel Restaurant at Apex Mountain Resort for Vertical and Vintages on March 9. Eighteen wineries, delicious tapas, and an evening capped off by live music from the band UnCorked. Details: http://naramatabench.com/2019/01/naramata-wines-at-apex-mountain-vertical-vintages/

If you’re looking for a lower key night out, several wineries have nice options (and be sure to check your favourites for happy hours too).

Head to Summerhill Pyramid Winery for Cheese Fondue Night on Thursdays through April 25.

Quails’ Gate hosts Communal Table Dinners on Wednesdays until April 10, and Sunday Night Suppers through March 10.

Inspired to up your own cooking game? Sign up for a culinary class at Mission Hill, running until mid-March with a variety of topics, and Hester Creek will announce its cooking class schedule on Feb. 1, which always sells out quickly.

If you’re heading to the Lower Mainland soon, the Fraser Valley Distillery Festival is Feb. 2 in Chilliwack, with distillers from around the province including Okanagan producers.

The Vancouver International Wine Festival, featuring California as the theme region, is from Feb. 23 to March 9. Many Okanagan wineries attend, so there’s always a familiar pour or two at the large festival tastings.

Finally, if you missed an event last year, my advice? Get on the e-news list, Facebook page, or website for it. Book early.


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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]

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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