Photo courtesy of Cori Ross/Sun Peaks
SUN PEAKS, BC Set amidst a charming pedestrian village, the annual Winter Okanagan Wine Festival is a unique marriage of culinary events, wine tastings, educational seminars, and outdoor recreation showcasing the famous wine varietals of BCs Okanagan Wine Country. Whether you consider yourself a wine rookie or a sommelier in disguise, this festival has daily events to entice every palette.
"It's quite an iconic Canadian Festival," said Blair Baldwin, who is a member of the Okanagan Wine Festival Society. "It is the only wine festival of its kind that takes place over a 10-day period during the peak of the winter season. When people come here they see the resort in its full regaliawith the snow, the skiing, the activitiesso the pairing of a wine festival and a resort like this is quite alluring. There's nothing else like it."
World's best après?
It's certainly a different form of après! At SnowSeekers, we've been saying for years that the Fairmont Hot Springs offers the world's best après (what with the hot springs pools basically at the base of the hill), but the Winter Okanagan Wine Festival is about to take things to a whole new level.
For wine lovers, there will be activities in spades over the 10-day festival. The Society has worked extremely hard for the past 10 months to produce what is one of the best festivals west of the Rocky Mountains. If you've never attended before, or if you're an old hand at Sun Peaks, do yourself a favor and make the trip; the resort comes alive like you've never seen.
"With the Okanagan Wine Festival Society, we represent 102 member wineries. We have 30-40 wineries represented at the various events of the festival, (opening weekend, progression tastings, etc.), and we try to fit different wineries into different positions."
A perfect pairing
You're used to pairing wine with complimentary cheeses, but now you can do the same with an entire restaurant.
"The 'Taste of Sun Peaks' on Wednesday night (Jan. 18) at the Delta Sun Peaks is phenomenal, and it's truly one of my favourite events. Throughout the festival, though, we work with 6 different restaurants/caterers at Sun Peaks and we pair them with wineries. It's always delightful. It's an idyllic setting, and a great reflection of our Canadian wine industry to be able to walk into that room and see 6 different chefs pairing their meals with Okanagan wines."
What started as a two-day festival 14 years ago has evolved into a 10-day celebration that is as iconic and different as any wine festival out there. It's fantastic to see how something started from scratch can become such a colossal success.
"It's the most magnificent little (one location) festival of its kind. What we have is a high degree of magic. Have you been to Sun Peaks? Have you seen the wineries in action working with the restaurants?"
If you haven't, you should.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
JANUARY 1422, SUN PEAKS WINE & DINE
VARIOUS TIMES & LOCATIONS | FROM $25
Select restaurants at Sun Peaks off er enticing cuisine specially paired with aff ordable Okanagan wines. Choose from a price fi xe menu and take part in enjoying the fusion of select wines from the Okanagan. The Wine and Dine event is held nightly during the festival and advance tickets are not required simply visit a participating restaurant in the Sun Peaks Village.
Reservations are recommended. Please check the Sun Peaks Resort website for a list of participating wineries.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, M ROOM FONDUE
6:00 PM | M ROOM | $45
Join us in the casual surroundings of the M Room for a fondue dinner with wine pairings that are sure to please. Executive Chef Steve Buzak will take you through the nuances of fondue etiquette, and the delights of a fondue dinner expertly paired with Okanagan wines. Seating is limited for this event, but with the anticipated demand to attend, the M Room Fondue will be off ered on two separate dates during the festival. Please note that attendees to this dinner will be grouped into tables of four people, so be ready to experience something new, including friends!
SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, BRUNCH WITH BUBBLES
10:00 AM | GLOBE CAFÉ & TAPAS BAR | $35 ADULT, $20 CHILD
Enjoy an a la carte brunch, with fresh Caff é Umbria Italian Cappucino and fresh orange juice before finishing with fresh baked pastries. Each brunch includes a glass of Okanagan bubbly from 8th Generation Winery.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 17, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE AND WINE AND VODKA
3:30 PM | GLOBE CAFÉ & TAPAS BAR | $60 ADULT, $35 CHILD
An exclusive après ski event to remember! Enjoy shucking and sipping at Globes Oyster & Caviar Bar with Summerhill Pyramid Winery Bubbly and Urban Distilleries Vodkas. Learn about the making of fi ne sparkling wines in the Okanagan, sample premium vodkas from this new Kelowna based distillery and what better than fi ne oysters and caviar to make you feel just like Agent 007!
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18. TASTE OF SUN PEAKS
7:00 PM | DELTA SUN PEAKS HOTEL BALLROOM | $60
An outstanding culinary and wine event! Come enjoy this wonderful evening with live music and guests from around the world. Experience a delicious selection of small plate foods created by the many talented chefs of Sun Peaks, and served with fi ne Okanagan wines. Discover and savour the unique flavours of some of Canadas best cheeses presented by Dairy Farmers of Canada.
WINE MASTERS DINNER
7:00 PM | SERVUS ON CREEKSIDE | $120
Meet the winemakers and embark on an epic journey that will elevate your senses as you are guided through courses of gourmet food and fl ights of extraordinary wines.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 19, WORSHIPPING ICEWINES
12:00 PM | DELTA SUN PEAKS | $50
Whatever your religion, the gods have blessed the Okanagan with the distinction of making the fi nest Icewines in the world. Join one of the most respected winery hosts to sample a wide selection of grape varieties that are used to make this elixir that has placed Canada at the head of its class in the world of Icewines.
ALL THE GRAPES YOUVE WANTED TO TRY BUT HAVENT YET
3:00 PM | GLOBE CAFÉ & TAPAS BAR | $45
Hosted by renowned wine educator, Gerrit Van Staalduinen of Anderson & Co Wine Brokerage, this après ski seminar is an educational sampling of the more unusual, lesser known varietals grown in the Okanagan, paired with our famed Tapas Tester plates for sharing.
WINE MASTERS DINNER
6:00 PM | DELTA SUN PEAKS HOTEL BALLROOM | $120
Meet the winemakers and embark on an epic journey that will elevate your senses as you are guided through courses of gourmet food and fl ights of extraordinary wines. This premium event is a perennial sellout. Due to the complexity of the wine and food pairings for this dinner, we recommend that you review the menu before purchasing your tickets. With advance notice, the Chef would be pleased to accommodate guests with food allergies.
PORT & CHEESE: AFTER THE APRÈS SOCIAL
7:30 PM TO 9:30 PM | PRIVATE SUN PEAKS RESIDENCE | $45
Back by popular demand! Join us for an evening of port style wines from the Okanagan paired with fi ne Canadian cheeses made from 100% Canadian milk presented by Dairy Farmers of Canada. Experience the delicious combination of these special fortified wines with a tangy, buttery, aged cheddar, a pungent, aromatic washed rind cheese, or a creamy, zesty blue cheese. The mystery location of this event is not revealed until you board the bus to take you to a private home at Sun Peaks Resort. Space is limited to only 30 people to ensure an intimate fun evening.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, ALL YOU NEED IS CHEESE & WINE THE SEMINAR
12:00 PM | DELTA SUN PEAKS | $45
Explore and discover some of Canadas most fl avourful and unique cheeses, presented by Dairy Farmers of Canada. Soft, semi-soft, washed rind, fi rm, and hard cheeses all made from 100% Canadian milk will be featured from cheese producers across Canada as well as some winners from the 2011 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. This is a great opportunity to learn more about pairing fi ne cheese with some of the best Okanagan varietal wines.
STARBUCKS: A TASTE FOR YOUR SENSES
2:00 PM | DELTA SUN PEAKS | $45
Think coff ee. Think wine. Think creativity! Your taste buds are not complete without an education on how the experts at Starbucks learn to taste coff ee. And with a unique twist, you will discover some great wines to drink along with your favourite coff ee and also taste Rocky Mountain Chocolate! If you want to think outside the box, then this is a seminar tailor made for you! Brought to you by Starbucks Canada and the Okanagan Wine Festivals and Rocky Mountain Chocolate.
THE SUN PEAKS PROGRESSIVE TASTING
6:00 PM | SUN PEAKS VILLAGE | $60
The flagship event of the Okanagan Wine Festival, this tasting combines cool wines, crisp mountain air and good company to create warm and wonderful memories of a Canadian winter. Wander around the charming alpine village, tasting amazing wines from over 20 wineries, listening to an array of live music and enjoying a romantic winter evening. Please note that this event does not include a meal. It is recommended that you eat before you arrive.
MEDAL WINNERS TASTING
7:00 PM | DELTA SUN PEAKS | $85
A unique event that has attracted critical acclaim and permits you to taste rare wines and amazing small plates paired with each rare wine. Join Executive Chef Steve Buzak, and leading Okanagan wine experts, as award winning wines from the prestigious 2011 British Columbia Wine Awards are paired with seasonally inspired culinary treats with a liberal dash of education.
PROGRESSIVE TASTING AFTER PARTY
9:00 PM | GLOBE CAFÉ & TAPAS BAR | $35 ADULT, $20 CHILD
After your evening of tasting some of the regions best wines, come and enjoy two delicious cocktails mixed by our expert bartenders and some small bite canapés at Globe Café & Tapas Bar. Enjoy music from a live band to rock the house and keep the party going!
SATURDAY, JANUARY 21, WINTER OKANAGAN WINE FESTIVAL BRUNCH
10:00 AM | DELTA SUN PEAKS | $31
Start your day with the Winter Okanagan Wine Festival Brunch featuring a locally inspired menu certain to satisfy. Sample award winning Okanagan wines and blended creations crafted to delight your palate and lift your spirits.
M ROOM FONDUE
6:00 PM | M ROOM | $45
Join us in the casual surroundings of the M Room for a Fondue dinner with Wine Pairings that are sure to please. Executive Chef Steve Buzak will take you through the nuances of fondue etiquette, and the delights of a fondue dinner expertly paired with Okanagan wines. Please note that attendees to this dinner will be grouped into tables of four people, so be ready to experience something new, including friends!
SUN PEAKS BARTENDER MIXOLOGY FACE-OFF
7:00 PM | MACKDADDYS NIGHTCLUB | $40
If you like bar drinks, but are not that familiar with wine, then we have the event for you! Sample and vote for your favourite cocktail as bartenders compete to create a signature bar drink that must include a BC wine as an ingredient. Mixology is a growing phenomenon that introduces wine to those who like their bar drinks. Be impressed by how well wine can be used as a key ingredient and you may never want a cocktail without wine again.
Once each bartender creates their own drink, guests sample their creations and then vote for the Sun Peaks Mixology champion. Guests will also be able to sample each of the wines that form the key ingredient to each signature bar drink. And after the crowning of the champion, stay on and dance the night away at MackDaddys! Please note that this event does not include a meal, it is recommended that you eat before you arrive.
MIXOLOGY TO MUSIC
8:00 PM | POWDER HOUNDS RESTAURANT | $65
Enjoy a mouth-watering two course dinner, then romance the night away dancing to the music of a two-piece local band while sampling four of the house bartenders mixed wine cocktail concoctions. This is a great event for a date or just an evening out with friends.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 22, BELLA ITALIA BRUNCH BUFFET
10:00 AM | BELLA ITALIA RISTORANTE | $27.50
After a wonderful weekend at Sun Peaks enjoying the Winter Okanagan Wine Festival, join your hosts at Bella Italia for a glass of Okanagan bubbly and an Italian-style brunch buff et featuring a wide variety of hearty breakfast, light lunch and satisfying dessert options.
Call Sun Peaks Central Reservations at 1-877-212-7107 or visit www.sunpeaksresort.com/wine-festival for more information on any of the events listed.
For more information on deals and festival packages, download the Okanagan Wine Festival Brochure here.