Sipping the good stuff

Castlegar News bi-weekly columnist touts the oncoming, annual Rotary Wine Festival

Gord Turner

Gord Turner

It’s been a while since all the Christmas and New Year’s partying and the holiday joy of hoisting glasses of wine and champagne.  Apart from an occasional glass with a friend or two, since then I’ve had a bit of a dry winter.  But despair not—the wine sipping extravaganza coming to the Complex on April 5 will get us all back into our cups.

I’ve been told by a whisperer at my ear that it is indeed a wine “sipping” event.  It is a classy event where you can try out a variety of wines from the Okanagan, the Shuswaps, the Creston Valley, and the local area. However, here’s the caveat—each winery will be pouring only a few millilitres into your glass so you can get a sense of their wines. You are not in fact drinking glasses of wine at this event.

But you can sample three or four wines from each of 34 wineries that are coming to display and show off their new vintages.  If you work at it during the evening, you can sip, for example, all the Merlots or Rieslings they are bringing. It would take you a week or so of steady driving to get around to all these wineries and taste their offerings at the wine gates in the Okanagan Valley.

The organizers, the Castlegar Sunrise 2000 Rotary Club, have staged this remarkable event for 15 years.  And they do it so well that the wineries and their agents line up to be part of the evening. The Rotary Club treats the winery personnel extremely well, so all of them want to come to Castlegar to show us the newest blends and celebrate the joy of wine.

You’ll enjoy the winery personnel as you make your way around the hall. They will help you to sip selections of their wines, and they will discuss each wine with you—its age and its particular taste. Indeed, they will engage you with both their wines and their stories. That’s part of the attraction at a wine sipping event.

It’s probably important to have a light dinner before attending, enough anyway to prepare your stomach for the wine intake. But once the evening gets going full-force, various appetizers and food items will appear. Some of these like salmon tidbits, chicken kebab, and chocolate strawberries will appear magically carried to you by lightsome waiters.

Other foods associated with wine-sipping such as breads and cheeses will be placed strategically around the hall. You’ll never go hungry while you’re determining which wines you’d like to know more about.

At this smart-casual dress event, you’ll love to wander over to the astonishing array of silent auction items that Rotary has amassed for this evening. There are trips galore and hotels and packages to die for, some with sumptuous dinners thrown in.

One of a kind auction items abound from named t-shirts to restaurant certificates to the latest gadgets. Indeed, you will appreciate the quality of the assembled gifts they have gathered for your perusal.

You may have to put your sip of wine down for a second while you make your bid, but then on to the next table—or back to the winery booths.

During the evening, you can buy a ticket on a scintillating 14 carat gold diamond pendant with a brilliant-cut Canadian diamond. This beauty comes with a matching set of earrings.  If while you’re waiting to have your name chosen for the diamond pendant, you find too many wines to sip, a safe ride home is readily available.

This once-a-year gala begins at 7:00 pm, Saturday, April 5th at the Castlegar Complex. Tickets are at Oglow’s Paints or Bubblee’s.