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Okanagan wineries plead: We have wine, come visit us!

Admittedly, the news has been bad, bad, bad.

January's vicious cold snap damaged grape vine buds so severely that there may be no grape crop this fall.

No grapes this fall means no 2024 vintage wines.

That kind of messaging is bumming out tourists to the point where they think they'll skip buying Okanagan wines and stop visiting Okanagan wine country this spring and summer.

But, two campaigns -- one new and one annual -- are urging locals and tourists alike to do the exact opposite.

That means amp up your purchasing of Okanagan wines and most definitely plan some Okanagan wine touring this year.

<who>Photo credit: Jon Adrian</who>The #OkanagansGotItChallenge is urging people to continue to buy wine and visit wineries.

"Wineries around the valley are reminding visitors that despite the challenges facing the Okanagan wine industry, there are plenty of wines and amazing experiences awaiting them in wine country," reads the news release announcing the #OkanagansGotItChallenge.

The social media hashtag is the brainchild of Naramata's Aikins Loop Cooperative, a group of wineries (JoieFarm, Deep Roots, Van Westen and Elephant Island) supported by the Naramata Bench Wineries Association.

It's a grassroots movement inviting everyone to the Okanagan and assuring visitors that valley wineries are open and ready, willing and able to welcome guest galore.

The 2024 vintage of wines may be in jeopardy, but most wineries still have plenty of 2022 vintage and just-released 2023 vintage wines for you to taste and buy.

Plus, you can do it on-site at almost every one of the 250 wineries in the Okanagan and combine it with a valley holiday that can also include dining, hiking, cycling, golf and beach.

"We encourage and welcome visitors to come and experience firsthand what makes the Okanagan one-of-a-kind. Come visit us!" said Miranda Halladay, co-owner of Elephant Island Winery.

"Okanagan wine and hospitality producers have hit a few bumps over the last couple of years, but the inventory of Okanagan-grown wines, ciders and other delicious drinks, experiences and adventures in the Valley remains strong."

The #OkanagansGotItChallenge is all-encompassing so other wine regions can jump on the bandwagon.

For instance, wineries in Oliver, Osoyoos and Okanagan Falls are also putting out the call for visitors.

"As we prepare to unveil our 2022 Burrowing Owl red and 2023 Wild Goose whites, we are thrilled to showcase them to both locals and visitors alike," said Burrowing Owl vice-president Kerri McNolty.

"Anticipation for the exceptional wines gracing our shelves this summer is palpable."

The campaign is also spreading to West Kelowna and Kelowna.

Check out #OkanagansGotIt Universal Challenge Video and #OkanagansGotIt Initial Challenge Video

<who>Photo credit: Wine Growers British Columbia</who>Okanagan wineries are more than ready, willing and able to welcome guests this spring and summer.

Meantime, we're halfway through BC Wine Month, an annual April initiative of Wine Growers British Columbia.

The month takes on extra meaning this year because it makes clear that there's plenty of wine to go round and wineries are excited to welcome guests even though there was bad news earlier this year.

BC Wine Month urges wine lovers to safely explore this spring and summer by car, trolley (Naramata has one), tour bus or bike and pair wine with everything from the tried-and-true cheese, brunch, lunch, dinner and patio to yoga, painting and concerts.

You can plan your wine adventures at www.winebc.com and tag #BCWineMonth and #BCWine.

Wine is big business in the province with 337 wineries, 12,681 acres of vineyard, 14,200 workers and an annual economic impact of $3.75 billion.

For drinking inspiration, know that Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Riesling are the top three white wines in BC and Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon the most popular reds.

<who>Photo credit: Steve MacNaull/NowMedia Group</who>Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in 2021 at a Nk'Mip Winery vineyard in Osoyoos.Thumbnail photo from Wine Growers British Columbia



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