LIGHT UP THE VINES 2019
By Monique Tamminga.
There really isn’t anything cozier to get you in the holiday mood than late night sipping under the stars and by twinkling Christmas lights at Light Up the Vines this weekend in Summerland.
This unique experience of touring Bottleneck Drive’s wineries and cideries by night elevates the tasting experience into something truly memorable.
Only into its ninth year, Light Up the Vines has become one of the Okanagan’s premier wine events.
Thousands are expected to visit on Saturday, Nov. 30, and Sunday, Dec. 1 when Summerland’s 18 wineries, three cideries, a brewery, and distillery will open their doors and turn on the holiday lights from 3 to 8 p.m.
Visitors get to enjoy tastings, live music, holiday lights, nibbles and special discounts on some of the region’s best wines, ciders, beer, and spirits. Most tasting rooms will offer special treats like warm spiced cider or mulled wine, bonfires, and food pairings like crepes or bratwurst and DIY s’mores to name a few.
For example, 8th Generation Winery invites you to a cozy up beside the fire and enjoy fire roasted sausages made by Bogners Restaurant of Penticton. Warm up in their farmhouse tasting room and see what their elves put under the Christmas tree for you.
Last year, Sumac Ridge Winery knocked it out of the park with their Light Up the Vines tasting experience.
Our tasting experience at Sumac began in the wine cellar with popcorn drizzled in truffle oil paired with their famous Steller’s Jay sparkling wine. Last year’s Light Up saw temperatures dip below freezing. There was something so magical about seeing our breath while we were sipping and nibbling among huge oak and French barrels full of wine.
Next, we moved inside and upstairs where we enjoyed a delicious pumpkin spice soup (my mouth is watering just remembering it) with their private reserve gewürztraminer.
The pairings just went on from there with mini blue cheese burger sliders paired with their Black Sage Vineyard series Cab Sav to finishing the experience with a dark chocolate brownie and their Christmas-in-a-bottle port called ‘Pipe.’
Okanagan Crush Pad will be pairing one of its wines with Local on the Lakeshore’s baked mac n’ cheese.
Most wineries are charging a fee for the experience which makes sense for all they are offering.
Not everyone on the Drive goes all out, but the vibe of Light Up is so good, you just roll with it and move on to the next tasting room.
Light Up the Vines is one of those events every adult who enjoys libations and holiday spirit should experience. Just bring your Christmas cheer, a designated driver and enjoy every sip of the season.
In fact, Summerland is the place to be all weekend long starting with ‘Light Up Summerland’ festivities on Friday, Nov. 29 from 4-9 p.m. along Main Street.
Tens of thousands of people pack the streets of downtown Summerland for activities, entertainment and fireworks (at 7 p.m.) Bottleneck Drive has a “Hospitality Zone” which is open from 5-9 p.m. and is selling local beverages by the glass.
For a map and info go to https://bottleneckdrive.com/events/light-up-the-vines/.
Featured photo: Monique Tamminga at Sumac Ridge 2018.