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First time to the Okanagan Wine Festival

Guzzle as much as you like or sip it slowly, this was Oliver’s Cornucopia

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The Okanagan Wine Festival is a trip you can do in a few days or the entire week. Guzzle as much as you like or sip it slowly because it won’t bleed your wallet dry.

Our next event the following day was Oliver’s own Festival of the Grape. For only $20 this was Oliver’s Cornucopia. It was during the afternoon and positioned as a family event (family spelled with caps in the brochure). The Kids Zone kept the little ones busy with face painting, crafts, and entertainment, allowing parents to swirl and taste their way through the wine tents. Everyone received three tickets for wine and food sampling upon entering. If you required more they were $2 and all the sampling ceased at 5 p.m.

Over 39 wineries, 15 food vendors, an Okanagan farmers-style market (with lots and lots of homemade preserves of every flavour you can imagine under an Okanagan summer sun), a concert stage and a grape stomp were all buzzing in high gear that afternoon at The Festival of the Grape.

As we made our way past the winery tables I picked up snippets of conversations: "…I’ll check it out on your Web site" and "Did you taste that new blend?" and "This has been our best year yet" – and it made me believe that this little town of Oliver, once known only for fruit growing orchards, has found an industry that’s envied worldwide.

Next year will be the 25 th anniversary for the Okanagan Wine Festival. It’s bound to be in everyone’s day timer, especially with many hotels offering package deals including West Jet flights to Kelowna. With so much to choose from, set your eyes south to Oliver, "The Wine Capitol of Canada", and try not to miss the community spirited but cosmopolitan flavour at The Festival of the Grape.

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