Light Up the Vines returns

The Bottleneck Drive route in Summerland was lit up with sparkling holiday lights Saturday for a sneak peek of next week's Light Up the Vines event. 

Featuring wineries, cideries, a brewery and a distillery, the Light Up route winds around the hills above the highway just south of and including Summerland. Participating businesses had bright signage and decoration up Saturday evening, and their tasting rooms were open. 

Participants say the event is always popular. 

"It's very fun, there's a huge response from the community," said John Glavina, owner and winemaker at Giant Head winery. "All year round we have a tasting fee, but during Light Up, there's no tasting fee."

He said they usually pull out some special bottles for tasting during Light Up, which he has participated in for five years. Giant Head has sparkling white lights on display as part of the festive atmosphere, which Glavina couldn't take credit for. 

"My wife usually takes [the lights] down the vines," he said with a chuckle.

And it isn't just wineries participating. Summerland Heritage Cider Company has been involved for three years, and has been upping its game every time. 

"The first year, we had regular old incandescent bulbs, last year we moved to LEDs, and this year I was like, 'I gotta buy more Christmas lights,'" joked Ted Vollo, owner. "I figure, when you have it extra bright, you can't just drive by it. It's a warm, inviting spot, the Christmas lights do that."

Vollo said the Light Up event is huge every year. 

"It's crazy, there's so many people that come out for it," Vollo said. "You see all these people coming out of the woodwork, the locals that typically don't do a lot of wine touring in the summer, this is their chance to come out and see what everyone has going on."

The Light Up event involves 24 total businesses, and the route and details on each can be found here. They will be open for tastings again from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 1 and 2. 

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