Wine and ski: a natural pairing

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Sun Peaks Winter Wine Festival nine days of partying fun

 Revelers make their way venue to venue during the Progressive Tasting event of the Sun Peaks Winter Okanagan Wine Festival at Sun Peaks Ski Resort near Kamloops, B.C.
Photo courtesy of: Sun Peaks Tourism/Royce Sihlis

 

STEVE MACNAULL

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - For nine days every winter Sun Peaks Ski Resort near Kamloops, B.C. adopts a veritable vinous vibe.

The 16th annual Sun Peaks Winter Okanagan Wine Festival goes Jan. 11 to 19 and it will attract 1,800 people to 20 events.

“I'm not a wine person and even I recognize that the winter wine fest is extraordinary,” says Trevor Carr, the general manager at Hearthstone Lodge, which offers fest accommodation and tickets packages. It is also one of the venues for the extremely popular Progressive Tasting.

“The festival definitely draws people to Sun Peaks and during the time it's on the village takes on a different feel," says Carr. "I especially love the Friday night of the Progressive Tasting. Instead of skis and snowboards, people are carrying their wine glasses as they stroll through the streets going from venue to venue.” 

Progressive is where it's at

The Sun Peaks Progressive Tasting (Presented by WestJet) on Jan. 17 is the flagship of the whole festival and by far the most popular.

Organizers ask: Is there a better wine party anywhere?

The answer is a resounding "No."

Numerous hotels and restaurants take part by setting up wine sampling stations.

Guests wander from place to place, wine glass in hand with a blast of fresh mountain air in between every venue.

But there are other events

With nine days of partying, there are plenty of other choices.

Every night the duration of the fest, six of the on-mountain restaurants (Bella Italia, Black Garlic, Cahilty Creek, Mantles, Masa's and Sun Peaks Lodge Steakhouse) have special wine and food pairing menus.

There are also specialty dinners at eateries featuring winemaker visits: wine, appies and art, blind tastings, wine and cheese, wine and chocolate, wine and coffee, and brunches.

It's a natural

Skiing and wine at first don't seem like a natural match.

But really it combines two of British Columbia's greatest gems - outdoor winter recreation and the fine wines from the nearby Okanagan Valley.

Being winter, the idea started as an Icewine Festival, but over the 15 years has morphed into a longer more diversified shindig embracing all kinds of food, wine and activities.

“We still partner with the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society to put it on,” says Brandi Schier, the media and marketing coordinator at Sun Peaks Tourism.

“The festival has really turned into a local and guest favourite.”

 

Hearthstone Lodge, located right in the heart of Sun Peaks Village, offers accommodation and event ticket packages throughout the fest.
Photo courtesy of: Hearthstone Lodge

Package it up

Hearthstone Lodge, located right in the heart of Sun Peaks Village, offers accommodation and event ticket packages throughout the festival.

Check out HearthstoneResort.com or call 1-888-659-2211.

Packages are also available through Sun Peaks Central Reservations -  SunPeaksResort.com or 1-800-807-3257.

For one night of accommodation and tickets to the flagship Progressive Tasting and another tasting event of your choice, packages start at $165 per person based on double occupancy.

Or splurge on the three night-four event Festival Experience package starting at $399 per person based on double occupancy.

Non-wine

Take a break from wining and dining and go skiing. After all you're at a ski resort.

Sun Peaks encompasses three mountains - Tod, Sundance and Morrisey - and covers 3,678 acres of terrain serviced by 11 lifts and 124 runs.

The village is at 4,000 feet elevation, but the summit is 7,000.

Besides downhill skiing and snowboarding there's also cross-country skiing, skating, tubing, dog sledding, show-shoeing, snowmobiling and horse-drawn sleigh rides.

Check out the festival overview page for package details and more.