Thursday 6 December 2012

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Light Up the Vines

Summerland light up vinesI'm a big fan of Christmas light displays. Not the actual assembling of them...I think I've made it clear that I have no talent at all when it comes to putting the Christmas lights up...but I love looking at the houses that go all out to drain their local power grid and ensure that nobody on their block sleeps before midnight. That's probably why the event "Light up the Vines" appealed to me. The concept, at least as I understood it, was that all the wineries along Bottleneck Drive in Summerland (about 20 minutes south of Kelowna), were going to string Christmas lights around their vineyards, and for two nights the public would be welcome to make the rounds among the wineries to see the displays and, of course, to visit the gift shops for some late night wine tasting and Christmas shopping. It sounded like a fun evening out.

What happened though, is that I became a victim of my overactive imagination. I had visions of running through the orchards with lights strung along the sides and overhead. A kind of light tunnel if you will, almost like the launch tube at Space Mountain

Bell Canyon Theaters Phoenix
Kind of like this, only with grapes....and no carpet.
Why I thought this would be feasible for wineries is beyond me, but needless to say the reality of the evening was quite different from how I pictured it. While each location did make a little nod to the Christmas season, saying that they "Lit up the Vines" would be a drastic overstatement. Most wineries simply hung a single string of lights along the closest row of vines to the driveway, then ushered you in to their gift shops. A couple of places put in a little more effort. Saxon winery for example, only lit up one row of vines, but it went on forever, right up and over the hillside, making for a very interesting visual when approaching. Generally however, what the night amounted to was extended operating hours for the gift shops. Not a terrible idea during the Christmas season, but not really worth mounting a large advertising campaign around. 

bottle in lights thornhill winery

There was one thing that worked in our favor however. Since the outside light displays were somewhat underwhelming, everybody crammed their way inside the wineries to do a little wine tasting. This left Lori and I with the outside areas of the wineries to ourselves. Unsupervised....

light bottle thornhill winery

giant clothespin dirty laundry winery

little red wagon dirty laundry winery

Winery Summerland Dirty Laundry

Summerland Dirty Laundry winery

It was only the second year of Light up the Vines, so there's definitely potential for it to get better. All it would take is for one winery to really go all out creating a great display and this would become a must see event. For now though, it's not going to satisfy my urge to see fancy Christmas light displays. Maybe next year. We'll probably be back as long as they don't add outdoor supervision to the program. 

Written by Steve Pratt