The week spanning the end of April and beginning of May sees the many fine wineries of the Naramata Bench returning to the coast for their annual spring release events in Victoria and Vancouver. Both of these events, “Uncork Your Palate” in Victoria, and “Wine for Waves” in Vancouver represent superb value and opportunity. For a price similar to that of an evening at the Vancouver International Wine Festival ($95) you get to sample from nearly two dozen local wineries (and more wines than you could possibly try in one night), plus another couple of dozen celebrated restaurants. Even better, both events serve to support cherished local initiatives in the arts and environment, via direct ticket sales as well as from the exciting and bountiful silent auctions.
In Victoria on Wednesday, April 30, visit the recently renewed Crystal Garden in the heart of downtown to join 19 Naramata Bench wineries and their winemakers while 22 local restaurants and eateries serve up complementary cuisine. The focus of this event is a musical one, with proceeds benefiting the music education and outreach of the Victoria Conservatory of Music – celebrating their 50th Anniversary this year. The live musical performances during the evening will no doubt serve to inspire and entertain while you learn about what the wineries have been up to over the winter – you can expect plenty of fresh new 2013 releases!
Wine joins with ocean preservation in Vancouver just two days later, when the Four Seasons Hotel hosts “Wine for Waves” in concert with the Vancouver Aquarium on May 2. Twenty-three Naramata Bench wineries will be matching their best wines with sustainable seafood at the home of celebrated restaurant YEW, joined by a dozen more restaurants and partners such as the BC Shellfish Growers Association and Upper Bench Creamery. Proceeds will help to expand the Aquarium’s very successful Ocean Wise program that designates responsibly harvested seafood, in partnership with over 500 restaurants and retailers across Canada.
These well organized events are a valuable opportunity to “visit” wine country in your own backyard, while providing the chance to better plan your next trip to the region as well! Expectations are that both events will be fully attended, so be sure to obtain tickets well in advance – like right now!