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Judy Basso quips that it's been a long, dry few years without the Kamloops Wine Festival.
The fest didn't happen over the past three years because of -- what else? -- the pandemic.
But it's making its triumphant return June 1 and 3.
"I have always loved producing this event and am looking forward to presenting it once again, but with a few new twists this year," said Basso.
The fest kicks off with Cheese the Day (get it? a play on Seize the Day) on Thursday, June 1 at 6:30 pm at Colombo Lodge (the Kamloops Italian Cultural Centre).
Canadian Cheese Ambassador David Beaudoin, who's billed a comedic and passionate cheese connoisseur, will lead guests through inspired, interactive, wine-and-cheese pairings.
The highlight is expected to be the welcome glass of sparkling wine with raclette (kind of like fondue).
Tickets to Cheese the Day are $87.25 at KamloopsWineFestival.ca or by calling 250-374-5483.
On Saturday, June 3, 7 to 9 pm, also at Colombo Lodge, it's the Grand Wine Tasting Party.
Wineries from across BC will have tasting booths at the party and there will also be food and live music.
Some of the participating wineries include Privato (Kamloops), Larch Hills (Salmon Arm), Celista (Shuswap), Fort Berens (Lillooet) and The View (East Kelowna).
Tickets are $75 each or $65 each if you're booking for a group of five or more people.
Purchase at the same website and phone number listed above.
New this year, fest goers can purchase their favourite wines from the event from Lansdowne Liquor Store, which will have a booth on-site.
You fill out a form and Lansdowne will assemble the wines for you for pick up at the liquor store a week later.
The lag time is because most of the wines will have to be specially ordered in to fill the order.
The offer is for pick up only, no deliveries.
Generally, wine festivals in BC mean the huge Vancouver International Wine Festival (this year April 22-30) or the sweeping spring (June 2-11) and fall (Oct. 27-Nov.5) fests in the province's main winemaking region of the Okanagan.
However, Kamloops has had a wine festival since 1998, making this year's party the 25th anniversary (despite the three year COVID break).
Basso has been producing the fest for the past 15 years.
In fact, Kamloops had a wine festival before Kamloops even became a grape-and-wine-growing region.
That became a thing when Harper's Trail became the first winery in the city in 2013.
Monte Creek (Kamloops' largest winery), the aforementioned Privato and Sagewood followed.