Pauline Gagnon of Black Hills Estate Winery pours a sample Sunday during the annual Festival-of-the-Grape in Oliver. The popular event attracted more than 2,000 people from as far away as Saskatchewan.
Add a sunny fall day to the mix and you have complete success - pretty much like Sunday's 17th annual Festival-of-the-Grape in Oliver.
More than 2,000 wine enthusiasts turned out next to the Oliver Community Centre to enjoy tastings from close to 50 Okanagan-Similkameen wineries.
Glenn Fawcett, president of Black Hills Estate Winery near Oliver, said the festival helps promote the South Okanagan as a key component of the B.C. wine industry.
"It's just another way to keep that positive chemistry going on," he said. "A lot of the locals tell their visiting friends from other parts of the country."
Fawcett said the festival offers an opportunity for local wineries to show their appreciation to the community.
"We just feel it's a great way of giving back to the community that is an important part of the infrastructure of the wine industry," he said. "It's all part of the goodwill, being part of an exciting event."
The weather was ideal for the festival on Sunday. Fawcett noted it has only rained once in the nine years that Black Hills has been involved.
Linda Smith and Rick Nathorst travelled to Oliver from Kelowna for the festival. Smith credited the outdoor venue for much of its allure.
"It's just fun and casual. It's not a snobby event," Smith said. "I love the feel of this. It's outside, it's great."
Nathorst said they first learned of the festival from friends in Victoria who convinced them to attend two years ago.
"We just really had a great time and sampled some great wines," he said.
Now they're back on their own.
Sunday's festival, sponsored by the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce, included the always-popular grape stomp, entertainment, an art show, children's activities and more.
Many of the teams participating in the grape stomp were not only from outside the Okanagan, but outside the province. One heat included four teams from Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Main stage entertainment had a Latin flavour this year, with the band Rumba Calzada from Vancouver. The 30th annual Oliver Fall Art Show was also held inside the community centre.