Festival-goers Dane Latimer

Festival-goers Dane Latimer

Wine and festival prove to be a great pairing

Newly launched Vine Bar proved to be a huge draw, as wine-loving patrons indulged their palates in some of the regions’ best.

Patrons at some other B.C. music festivals are into ecstasy, meth or cocaine. But that’s not the scene at the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival.

Indeed, for many patrons of this year’s Roots & Blues Festival, it was all about the vintage.

The newly launched Vine Bar at the festival proved to be a huge draw, as wine-loving patrons got to indulge their palates in some of the regions’ best.

The Vine Bar combined wine and cheese tastings of locally produced products with the opportunity to purchase wine by the glass while relaxing on couches in the shaded bar area – which also featured the cooling spray and soothing sounds of a flowing water fountain.

“It is such a nice oasis in the middle of the festival,” raved Debbie Braby, as she lounged with Cathy Braby over their glasses of Recline Ridge’s Hawk’s Haven red. “It’s a different crowd than you would get at the beer garden, just very relaxed and civilized.”

The Vine Bar offered samples from five wineries: Frequency Wines, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Kalala Organic Estate Winery and included two Shuswap wineries, Recline Ridge and Ovino. Each winery featured a red and white samplings. There was also Shuswap-made cheeses to sample from Happy Days Goat Dairy and Terroir Cheese.

The Vine Bar was open from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with tastings offered between 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.

“It really has been a huge success,” says Kathy Harder, the volunteer supervisor of the Vine Bar. “It is the first year and so we’ve been working out some kinks as we go, but the feedback has been fantastic and it’s been a very busy place. The main thing we’ve been hearing from people is that they love the cool vibe.”

Harder thinks next year, the Vine Bar will need to be expanded, and they are also hoping to include more Shuswap-area wineries.

“Some of the ones we wanted already had other commitments, but I’ll bet you when they hear about this, they are going to be on-board for next year,” says Harder.

Some of the patrons agreed – wanting to see even more of the Shuswap wines, as well as the ability to purchase bottles of wine to drink in the Vine Bar accompanied with cheese plates.

The combination of wine and the festival proved to be a win-win, as it provided a whole new element for the many wine-loving festival patrons,  well as providing exposure to the local industry.

“We’ve had a lot of tourists now planning side trips to these wineries to check them out a little more, which is terrific,” Harder added.

Ovino Winery owner Catherine Koopmans says they plan to return next year, noting her daughter Jessica Gawley, served their products over the weekend and was thrilled with the tent’s set up and ambiance, the well-organized volunteer helpers and the excellent opportunity to promote their business.

“We had someone stop in (Monday) morning with one of the menus from Roots and Blues in hand, saying they wanted to buy the Pinot Tramino, so that was super.”

Albertans Anita Holmes and Kathy Kardelis, both Roots & Blues Festival veterans, said they were really excited about this new addition.

“I’m not a beer or coolers person, so this is absolutely fabulous,” says Kardelis, “Bravo to whoever came up with this idea, it is fantabulous. We will be coming again next year.”