Get a Taste of Summerland in Vancouver at the Bottleneck Drive Wine in the Garden Party

Photo Credit: Lionel Trudel

Photo Credit: Lionel Trudel

Wineries from the Okanagan’s Summerland region are heading to Vancouver to raise funds for the VanDusen Botanical Garden on May 28th when the Bottleneck Drive Winery Association hosts their Wine in the Garden party. More than 75 wines will be poured at the event, alongside food pairings from Truffles Fine Foods, music from Summerlander, Ari Neufeld, and a silent auction with goodies from local companies including the Summerland Waterfront Spa & Resort and True Grain Bread up for grabs.

Tickets for the annual event (now in its second year) are $46 and can be purchased online, with proceeds benefiting VanDusen Botanical Garden‘s Education Program. We spoke with the Bottleneck Drive’s president Julian Scholefield, to find out more.

What can people expect from the event this year?

The Bottleneck Drive is sending 15 members down including one cidery and some of our associate members, so people can have an authentic Summerland experience right here in Vancouver.

bottleneckA cidery in a winery group?

Yes! It’s unusual but we want people to come to Summerland and have a fantastic tasting experience, so we think Summerland Heritage Cider is a great addition and helps give a snapshot of what Summerland has to offer. We are a fruit growing region after all, with tons of peaches, apricots and, of course apples. We like to partner with other local businesses to make sure touring guests in the region get the whole experience. We work with Good Omens Coffee House, for instance, and we’ll be bringing them and others including My Chocolate Crush, so people can taste all that Summerland has to offer.

What are the stand out varietals of the region?

We are 15 members strong and there’s everything from big producers like Sumac Ridge to small family operations with just 10 acres, Summerland is about the diversity of what the Okanagan has to offer. We have three organic wineries too, Summer Gate, Sage Hills and Saxon Estate, all producing organically grown fruit. The Okanagan Crush Pad is transitioning over to organic at the moment too. There is a strong organic approach to winemaking here.

Photo Credit: VanDeusen Botanical Garden/Facebook

Photo Credit: VanDeusen Botanical Garden/Facebook

Will the wineries be bringing any new releases?

Many will be pouring their new release wines, 2014 was a stellar year, with a really good harvest, we had the right weather that we needed to ripen the grapes and everything came in brilliantly. When harvest goes smoothly, you’re able to really focus on making wines, and those great whites and lighter style reds will be available to try.

And are there any special releases to look out for?

Yes, we’ll have some of the 2015 Okanagan Wine Festivals ‘Best of Varietal’ finalists including Heaven’s Gate Gamay Noir 2012, Heaven’s Gate Merlot Malbec 2012, Silkscarf Saignee 2014 and Silkscarf Viognier 2014. Plus we’ll have wines from the brand new winery Evolve Cellars (McWatters Family) which just opened this past weekend. VanDusen Gardens is a spectacular venue; it’s a bit of a hidden gem in the city and we’re thrilled to be able to invite people into the gardens again to taste Summerland.

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