Here Comes The Sun


If your idea of the perfect pairing includes fresh powder, fine food, and world-class wines from one of the world’s youngest wine regions, the Winter Okanagan Sun Peaks Wine Festival in British Columbia has got your ticket to ride. Organized by the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society in partnership with Sun Peaks Resorts, the 10-day alpine wine and food festival is cleverly designed so that visitors can weave tasting events into their daily activities. At your leisure, you can ski, sniff, sip, and nibble your way through some of the best terrain and terroir B.C. has to offer.

imagerGrab your gear in the morning and glide into town directly from your lodgings. Sun Peaks is a ski-in, ski-out village. As Canada’s second largest ski area, this family-friendly resort boasts 4,270 acres of ski terrain, including two alpine bowls, a snowboarding park, and cross-country trails. Advanced skiers will be jazzed by the expert runs—be sure to take a spin around the Washing Machine.

If you time it right, you may even get to do a run with Olympic champion, Canadian senator and Sun Peaks’ director of skiing, Nancy Greene Raine, who is often on the slopes leading skiers of all ages and abilities around the trails.

When you’re ready to take a break from the mountain, indulge your inner oenophile. The festival spotlights more than 100 wines from 30 of the Okanagan Valley’s top wineries. The wine region has grown to nearly 300 wineries over the last 30 years and has come into its own. Emboldened winemakers are embracing their terroir by experimenting with varietals and winemaking styles and carving out an identity for this region. “We’re recognizing that we can make wines that are globally relevant, that are Okanagan,” says Val Tait, general manager, viticulturist, and winemaker at Bench 1775.

Don’t miss out on the many opportunities to pair these distinctive wines with delicious local cuisine and gourmet specialty items. Many of the local restaurants host seminars, tastings, and wine-pairing dinners during the festival. You’ll glean intimate knowledge about pairing creamy, nutty, and smoked Canadian cheeses with brambly, peppery British Columbian syrahs from experts like David Beaudoin of the Dairy Farmers of Canada and wine journalist Tim Pawsey. The festival’s Explorer Series hosted by the Voyageur Bistro is not to be missed.It’s a five-course Canadian-themed dinner prepared by head chef Annie Campbellwith Okanagan wine pairings presented by Gerrit Van Staalduinen of the BC Wine Shop. Between courses, proprietor Kevin Tessier spins colorful tales about the fascinating history of the Canadian fur trade.


Finally, grab a glass and wend your way through the snowy village during The Sun Peaks Progressive Tasting. The festival’s signature event sets up tastings in lodges, lounges, and restaurants all along the village’s main strip. Pop in and out, tasting a sip of merlot and cab franc here, some pinot gris and ice wine over there,and then wind down in the hot tub with a bottle of sparkling brut Bella or Sperlingunder the stars, and enjoy the long finish.

jen laskey authorAuthor: Jen Laskey

Jen Laskey is the author of Jen’s Candy Jar: Artisanal Candy Recipes for Holidays and Special Occasions, silver medal winner in the “Cookbooks” category of the2015 eLit Book Awards. She is a New York City-based writer, but her work and wanderlust often lead her away to other cities, villages, and vineyards around the world, and sometimes, even to remote caves and reefs deep under the sea. Jen has written hundreds of articles on many different subjects, but it was while she was living in Italy from 2005-2007 that she discovered her passion for writing about food, wine, and travel.

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