September 30, 2015 - 10:30 AM
KELOWNA - It's been a stellar year for Okanagan vineyards and it will continue with a ten-day celebration of all things wine, which is expected to attract more than 20,000 visitors.
Many local wineries are picking grapes earlier than ever before this year, according to Lori Pike-Raffan, the public relations director for Okanagan Wine Festivals Society.
“The record early beginning to the grape harvest on Aug. 12, with the first pick of wine grapes, bodes well for another stellar vintage,” she says in a media release. “The extra-long, hot growing season with an unprecedented early start, weeks ahead of the customary picking time, saw one of the warmest and driest springs and summers in the Okanagan.”
Bench 1775 general manager Val Tait says both red and white varietals will benefit from the unusual weather this year.
“Moderate temperatures in the fall slowed fruit development yielding balanced acids and sugars. Wines have the potential to be exceptional where fruit was not picked too early.”
Pike-Raffan says some experts predict a surpassing of last year’s record tonnage, with more than 38,000 tonnes expected from the 305 wineries in the province for the 2015 vintage.
The festival, which begins Thursday, Oct. 1, starts with the oldest and largest B.C. wine competition in the province followed by two nights of tastings. The festival includes two new signature events.
The Valley First 'Cropped' is Canada’s largest public tasting of B.C. wines and includes an authentic farmer’s market in Penticton followed by a farm-to-table Sparkling Brunch at Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos.
Cropped is described as a sensory and visual experience where guests experience the sights, sounds and tastes of a farmer’s market with a crafts, buskers, live music, fresh food and of course, wine.
“Naturally there will be over 70 B.C. grape, fruit and mead wineries from across the province, stretching from the Okanagan to the Kootenays,” Pike Raffan says.
The 35th annual Fall Okanagan Wine Festival runs Thursday, Oct. 1 through Oct. 11 and will feature more than 125 events throughout the valley.
Event and ticket information is available at the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival website.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015