You can be the perfect guest

If the weather ever turns into a proper spring, many of us will be out at events, big and small, any day now, from grand tastings to intimate dinners.

So, it is time for my annual review of how to handle yourself, your guests, and your intake of libations so everyone, including the staff and servers behind the table or putting dishes in front of you, has a pleasant experience.

First, get to know your event:

  • Will snacks be available, is there an option to buy a light meal, or both? Try not to go on a completely empty stomach when alcohol is involved.
  • Is there a shuttle you can pre-book, or do you have a parking (and designated driver) plan? Better yet, how about an accommodation package?
  • Are there seminars you can attend, and do you need to book them in advance? Are they hands on so you can jump up and participate, or more classroom-style?
  • With multiple wineries, breweries, cideries, distilleries at a large, festival-style event, have you noted which ones you must try? Note – pick up a guide or event map if available on the way in.
  • Finally, indoors or outdoors? Layers for weather if needed, and think about comfy shoes, especially if you’re going to be on your feet wandering from station to station.

Your fellow guests may be attending simply to have a good time and enjoy discovering something new. Some may be there to learn and ask questions.

At a winemaker’s dinner, for example, be courteous when the host winemaker or chef is describing what’s in your glass or on you plate. No one likes to be shushed.

If you’re at a crowded event or a tasting room is unexpectedly busy, be patient. Step up to get your sample, ask a question or two, then step back or to the side so others can do the same.

You may not notice the tasters behind you who are trying to get through the crowd, but they will start pushing their glass through a sea of arms. Then bumps and spills can happen.

In this digital age, see if there’s an app that can help you navigate a tour or festival, perhaps even take notes about what you enjoyed and want to purchase.

Onsite liquor shops can be a great source of further info, plus the gratification of buying so you don’t have to hunt for a bottle or brew that may be hard to find.

Have fun out there this season.


May 1-12: Multiple events across the valley for the Spring Okanagan Wine Festival.

May 3, Penticton: Explore the Magic of Meritage with Harry McWatters at Time Winery.

May 4, Penticton: Winemakers’ Dinner at Bogner’s, a five-course fundraising dinner in support of Tour d’Epicure.

May 4, Kelowna: The wineries along the Lakeshore Wine Route host Unleashed! In support of the SPCA.

May 10, Okanagan Falls: Liquidity Bistro hosts Spring Social, taste your way through wines from the OK Falls region.

Until May 12, Penticton: Book yourself a tasting of the Best Paella in the Okanagan at the Kitchen at Da Silva Winery.

Until May 11, West Kelowna: Enjoy High Tea at the Old Vines Restaurant at Quails’ Gate. 


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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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