Island wines get the spotlight at the Galiano Wine Festival
The people of Galiano Island, located between Vancouver Island and the mainland, might not make their own wine, but they sure like to drink it. On Saturday (August 13) between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., the 27.5 kilometre-long island will host the 19th annual Galiano Wine Festival at Lions Park, which is a 20-minute walk from where the ferry docks at Sturdies Bay.
"On Galiano, maybe we're too busy tasting and drinking wine to grow grapes and build a winery," Galiano Oceanfront Inn and Spa owner and Galiano Wine Festival volunteer Conny Nordin told the Georgia Straight by phone. "But it's a good plan for next year."
The festival mainly features B.C. wines., with a focus on boutique, island winemakers, such as Alderlea Vineyards and Zanatta Winery from the Cowichan Valley, Morning Bay Vineyards from Pender Island, Saturna Island Family Estate Winery from Saturna Island, and Salt Spring Winery from Salt Spring Island. There will also be a few international labels available for tasting, including New Zealand's Oyster Bay, as well as beer from Squamish's Howe Sound Brewing Company and cider from Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse located close to Victoria.
Along with wine tasting, the festival will also feature appetizers made by local volunteers, artisan cheese and bread booths, artwork on display and for sale by Galiano artists A.J. Bell and Kenna Fair, a silent auction, and live music by Galiano classical and jazz guitarist Brad Prevedoros.
"It is an outdoor, open-air festival, so it's a very warm and casual, islander-based event unlike some of the more competitive and professional wine tastings," Nordin said. "Galiano is very islander-friendly and visitor-friendly."
The entirely volunteer-run festival serves as the biggest fundraising effort for the Galiano Health Care Centre, which provides island residents with everything from dentistry to podiatry services.
"It's a touch of small-town Canada, I think, where everybody gets involved and helps out," Nordin said. "Without this wine festival, we would not be able to provide the services that we do."
Tickets to the wine festival are $35 and can be purchased in advance or at the park entrance. In addition to the afternoon wine festival, attendees can purchase tickets ($99) to the winemaker's dinner, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Galiano Oceanfront Inn and Spa. This year's dinner, which includes a five-course meal with wine pairings, is hosted by Alderlea Vineyards' Roger and Nancy Dosman.
"It is a great opportunity for people in Victoria or Vancouver to hop on a ferry and spend a day on a beautiful location, and hop on the ferry and go home again?it's like a day trip," Nordin said. "It takes less time to get here and less stress because you're not in your car driving to come here and enjoy it."
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