Wineries, cideries, brewery and distillery are opening their doors with special events during the eighth annual Light Up the Vines.
The promotion is organized by Summerland’s Bottleneck Drive. The association consists of 20 wineries, three cideries, a brewery and a distillery in Summerland.
Tasting events were held on Saturday, Nov. 24 and will continue on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1 and 2.
Bottleneck Drive members will also be pouring wines in downtown Summerland on Friday evening during the Festival of Lights. Tasting fees will be collected as a donation for the Summerland Food Bank.
“It’s exciting to have so many guests come out to see our vineyards, orchards and tasting rooms — all lit up for the holidays,” said Julian Scholefield, president of Bottleneck Drive. “We urge people to taste responsibly and pre-plan their evening by booking a tour company in advance or using a designated driver.”
In addition, Danny Evanishen of Thornhaven Estates Winery has compiled a guide to wine shop etiquette during wine tasting events.
1. Do not wear perfume or cologne or other scents, which can mask the odours and flavours of the wine. Doing so will negatively affect not only your experience, but that of others around you. Perfumes and scents might make you feel better about yourself, but they really are a detriment to everyone’s enjoyment of the wine, which is the main reason you are there.
2. Do not show up chewing gum, eating ice cream or drinking coffee. While you may enjoy these things, they wreck the taste of the wine.
3. Do not throw your leftover wine on the floor, unless you are outside on the grass. The spit bucket, also known as a wine discard jug, is there for a purpose.
4. Do not be afraid to taste the wine and then spit it out. Spitting is a part of keeping sober while you are tasting wine.
5. Drink lots of water while wine-tasting. Alcohol is a desiccant, and you will feel better if you are properly hydrated.
6. Swirling wine is a good thing to do. It might look pretentious, especially if someone has a glass of water and they swirl it (it does happen!), but swirling mixes air into the wine, which helps to release the true flavours. The only wine you don’t swirl is an effervescent wine, like a champagne or a frizzante, unless you don’t like bubbles. Swirling makes them disappear. Forever.
7. Choose the wines you want to taste. Unless a particular wine is especially recommended by the server, taste only the wines you think you will like. Drinking everything set in front of you may get you drunk, but it will not likely enhance your enjoyment of the wine. However, tasting wines you are not familiar with can introduce you to new favourites.
8. Taste wines along with the group if the server is pouring flights. Wait for the ones you want and then enter the fray.
9. Unless the winery has a play pen or a basket of toys, leave your children elsewhere. They can be easily bored, and can be an annoyance to everyone.
10. Limit your number of wineries per day. After three or four, all the wines tend to run together in taste.
11. Taste the wines you want to, keep track of your favourites, and then purchase your selections once you have done tasting. This makes life easier for the servers.
12. Employ a designated driver. DDs keep our guests alive.
13. Be prepared for tasting fees. Some wineries charge for wine tasting, some don’t. Some have a donation jar for a local charity, some don’t. In a day, any winery can go through many bottles of tasters. Who pays for that?
14. Ask the server anything you like. There are no stupid questions and you might even know something the server does not.
15. Do you taste the red wines first, or the whites? It’s up to you. Some think that it is easier on your palate to go from dry reds to sweeter whites than the other way around.
Bottom line: Enjoy!
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