Two decades of taste

Celebrating 20 years of the Sun Peaks Winter Okanagan Wine Festival

Wine fest attendees sampling wine in 2017. File Photo

Originally a weekend-long Icewine Festival, the Sun Peaks Winter Okanagan Wine Festival is now a tenday extravaganza, boasting over twenty mouth-watering, belly-warming and happiness-inducing events and celebrating 20 years in January.

It’s not just about the wine; a collection of innovative offerings and familiar favorites, the festival is a delectable assortment of culinary adventures. The festival compliments Sun Peaks perfectly, mixing snow play and seminars with sweet and savory flavour sensations.

The festival is an intermingling of local and provincial offerings; between brunches and blind tastings, moonlight snowshoeing and mulled wine, concerts, chocolates, and cheeses, there is an event to match every preference and personality type.

“We’ve seen participants come straight from the slopes, skiing directly up to a tasting,” said Janice Hoppenreys, events manager for Tourism Sun Peaks (TSP). “The festival makes for an action-packed getaway.”

Action packed indeed; the days will be a bouquet of exertion and relaxation, a feast for the senses.  

New to the festival this year, the “House Concert with Wine” is a marriage of essential elements of life: food, wine, and live music. Bella Italia Mediterranean Ristorante, a Sun Peaks staple known for its classic pasta dishes and scrumptious seafood creations, will craft exquisite morsels at a local luxury home. Guests can curl up on a cold winter’s night with some Mediterranean warmth, pairing performance with beautiful wine.

A musician himself, Bella Italia proprietor Peter Ernst wanted to create “a night to enjoy quietly—away from the hustle and bustle of the busy festival.”

“The evening prom will have an intimate, artist’s den vibe. Experience a journey through the music.  Listen to the stories, ask questions, feel free to sit back and relax.”

Has collectible wine curiosity created more questions than answers? Demystify the concept with Canada’s foremost wine historian and industry author John Schreiner. The “Iconic and Collectible Wines of BC” seminar shares extensive knowledge about the best-ever British Columbian wines to add your burgeoning (or brand new) wine cellar. This seminar includes tastings from several wineries.

Join Voyageur proprietor Kevin Tessier, wine educator Gerrit Van Staalduinen and—the Cheese Poet of Canada—David Beaudoin, for a “Dinner with Cheese,” a culinary celebration in honor of the historical Coureur de Bois. Couple wine with fresh bannock, hearty soups, great Canadian cheeses and a warm winter repas.

Culinary diversity and small plate creations at its finest, “The Taste of Sun Peaks” is hailed as the foodie event of the festival.  Match dishes with a bevy of BC wines. Mingle with guests from around the world. Luxuriate in live local music. Explore the best of British Columbian flavour in the heart of the enchanting alpine village.

The 20th Annual Sun Peaks Winter Okanagan Wine Festival runs from January 12 to 21.

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