A new wine festival comes to Harrison Hot Springs this spring.

Wine festival brings the best

New event focuses on regional wineries, pairing local foods with vino

Perhaps you’d like a light merlot to go with your mushroom pasta.

Or maybe a silky and elegant pinot noir along with that rack of lamb?

If your mouth is watering at those suggestions, then Erin Goosen has a pairing that should appeal even more.

Tourism Harrison is serving up some of the province’s most renowned wineries along with local culinary personalities in Harrison Hot Springs this spring for an inaugural two-day destination wine and food event.

“We do want to focus on B.C. wineries, that’s our main focus unlike the Vancouver wine festival where it’s across the world,” said Goosen, event coordinator for Tourism Harrison. “We want to keep it small and focus on the B.C. wineries, with a particular interest on the wineries that are here in the Fraser Valley.”

Those local wineries might be small, but they are increasingly packing a larger punch, winning accolades and becoming well-known in the industry according to Goosen.

The event was sparked by the success of the Harrison craft beer festival when people started asking as early as year-one when wine was going to follow.

With craft beers under their belt, the tourism group now feels comfortable enough to attempt a new festival, but this time targeted at the vino crowd.

Tourism Harrison is keeping it small this year with just a tasting event on the Saturday afternoon.

But they are doing something differently than the festival’s beer peer: the event is encouraging local restaurants to match up with attending wineries to provide their own wine-pairing dinners the night before.

Goosen said if there’s enough interest generated they will also offer it on the Saturday night.

“So we’ll do Friday night first to kick off the event, have people stay over night and enjoy,” she said. “Then Saturday afternoon get to talk to the winemakers a bit more one-on-one and taste their wide selection as opposed to just what they can offer with the meal.”

Since the wine festival is earlier in the year it’s intended as a kick off to the season, according to Goosen.

She and the tourism organization are hoping the festival will help local businesses, whether accommodation providers, or other restaurants in the quieter tourism time.

“We’re just introducing people to the area in April and what we can offer at that time,” Goosen said.

And it’s a great time for the winemakers themselves, as they’re just getting their spring collections out and looking to start promoting.

Whatcom Wine and Spirits will offer a pop-up wine shop during the Saturday tasting, providing attending wineries’ bottles for purchase.

Then there’s the food on Friday night.

Supported by chefs from local Harrison hotspots, such as Morgan’s Bistro, River’s Edge Restaurant, the Red Fort and the Copper Room, guests will enjoy gourmet entrées, with ingredients sourced from local farms, paired with hand-crafted local wines.

Those menu details will be available soon, coming on March 1.

And during the Saturday tasting event, Muddy Waters Café will prepare appetizers and charcuterie for attendees as they sample the wines.

“It’s an opportunity to have more one-on-one time to talk with the winemakers or a representative of the B.C. Winery,” Goosen said. “You don’t have to travel to the Okanagan to do it.

“They’re coming out to your back door.”

 

The restaurant pairings Uncorked by Night, are on April 22 followed by Uncorked by Day on April 23 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Memorial Hall on Esplanade Avenue. An adult-only event it features wine tastings from 15 wineries with samples from local Circle Farm tour members. Tickets cost $35 in advance, $40 at the door and include entrance to the event, all tastings and food samples. Spots are limited and are on sale now. For more information, visit www.tourismharrison.com.

 

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