The Wine Festival is in full swing up at SilverStar Mountain Resort, and there’s still plenty to see, do and taste before organizers put a cork in the festivities on Sunday.
The Wine Festival kicked off Thursday, Aug. 10, with a reception at Gallery Odin — Canada’s highest art gallery — followed by a paint-and-sip night with Vaz Art. White wine seminars took place Friday followed by two wine dinners. Saturday started off with a Naramata Bench seminar featuring choice Naramata wines, followed by an exotic grape seminar, a Polson pop-up artisan market, a red wine seminar and live music throughout the afternoon and evening.
The festival will wrap up Sunday with some signature events. A drag wine brunch will take place at Black Pine from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., thanks to a partnership between Destination Silver Star and the Vernon Pride Society, which is also celebrating the last day of Vernon’s Pride Week on Sunday. Tickets for the drag brunch are almost sold out.
A B.C. Bubbles seminar will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
In the afternoon, there will be live music for everyone to enjoy for free. Local Losers is putting together a lineup of musicians from 1-4 p.m. An opening act will take place from 1-2 p.m. and Sister Speak will perform from 2-4 p.m., fresh off her European tour. Sister Speak grew up in Vernon and performed for SilverStar last summer.
This year’s wine fest is the first to be organized by Dana Lee Consulting, which has brought products from 30 B.C. wineries to the event.
The wine fest comes at a good time for wineries in B.C. whose crops were hit hard by a cold snap in December. Cassandra Zerebeski, executive director of Destination Silver Star, also sits on the board of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association and says the industry has had a lot to overcome in the past year.
“The wineries are suffering a bit, I think between obviously the lost grapes, difficulty with staffing and then some of the hot and cold, they’re wanting to make sure they’re coming out to support the people that love their wine and show that love back,” Zerebeski said.
A highlight of this year’s wine fest is the inclusion of renowned chef Bernard Casavant, a member of the B.C. Restaurant Hall of Fame and the culinary director of Lakehouse Kitchens Cooking School in Kelowna, which opened doors in December. Casavant led the signature walk-about tasting event on Saturday.
Casavant has over four decades of experience and was one of the pioneers of the farm-to-fork movement in the 1980s.
“I love my wines, I’ve been involved for years going around the world highlighting B.C. food and wine,” Casavant said Friday. “We’re looking forward to a beautiful event with some great food and wine pairings.”