As spring arrives, wineries dust off tasting rooms and patios to greet visitors with the latest wine releases. In addition to rolling out welcome mats, members of the Naramata Bench Wineries Association (NBWA) hit the road to take their wine to the people. March 4th marks the 5th Vertical & Vintages at Apex Mountain Resort, where winter activities are rewarded with après wine tasting, appetizers and live music. The NBWA is delighted to be invited back by Vancouver City College, March 9th, to “Flourish” – a food and wine tasting event to raise scholarship and bursary funds for VCC students. Along with delectable food creations from high profile VCC Culinary alumni chefs, a selection of NBWA wineries offer tastes of latest releases – online: vcc.ca/gala. April 11th, NBWA wines complement dishes by Vancouver Island chefs in Victoria at “Colour Your Palate.” This event is a culinary competition with a colourful twist. All proceeds support high quality visual and performing arts training for young children regardless of their financial means. Check it out online: artsreach.ca/colour-your-palate
“It is part of the NBWA mandate is to give to our own community and the communities we visit,” says Tina Baird, NBWA. “The charitable component is a commitment we make for each event.” For example, it is the fourth year to join Ocean Wise at the Four Seasons Hotel, April 28th, in Vancouver for “Wine for Waves.” This annual Spring Wine Release Gala features Vancouver and Naramata chefs’ fresh new seafood creations with wines from NBWA wineries, and all the proceeds supporting Ocean Wise sustainable seafood program. Online: vanaqua.org/wineforwaves
For the Victoria and Vancouver events, trade tastings are held in the afternoon. Looking forward, ticket sales begin in April for the NBWA’s annual harvest celebration event, the perennially sold-out Tailgate Party on September 9th, at D’Angelo Estate Winery. For details on all tasting, dining and event activities, check naramatabench.com frequently and click links to the wineries’ individual websites.

– Roslyne Buchanan

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