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The bad news is that Light Up The Vines, the superb single-weekend Summerland wine region open house that attracts guests by the carload and busload each Christmas, is a no-go for 2021.
Just like in 2020, COVID put the smackdown again on what is consistently one of the region's most entertaining and adventurous holiday season happenings. There's nothing quite like zipping through quirky Bottleneck Drive at night, checking out all the twinkly lights and the bonfires and the winery goodies along the way, while huge groups of other folks do exactly the same thing.
But wait. All is not lost.
Though Light Up The Vines is officially a no-go, a pandemic-friendly rejigging of the event called "The Winter Series" is full steam ahead. And tomorrow afternoon/evening is its final night for 2021.
According to Bottleneck Drive Association prez Cameron Walker, the name may be changed and the crowds lessened (the event was spread out over three weekends expressly for that purpose), but the spirit and the fun remains.
"Given COVID restrictions and crowd control," he said, "we just didn’t want to be seen as promoting something people might perceive as having big lineups and crowds.
"But The Winter Series is on for one more night and the majority of Summerland tasting rooms will be open."
And there'll be cool stuff going on too. Walker, also the general manager of Lunessence Winery, said the traditional Lunessence S'Mores campfire will be burning brightly right up to the event's 8 pm close.
"Heritage Cider is also having a campfire," added Walker, "and there's more going on too. There are lots of specials and discounts as well and great opportunities to pick up that perfect Christmas gift."
Walker was also quick to point out that The Winter Series finale also syncs up perfectly with downtown Summerland's "Shop Local Late" program, where participating downtown businesses will remain open 'til 7 pm Saturday night.
The official hours for The Winter Series are 3 pm to 8 pm, but Walker strongly suggests potential attendees check the event website in advance to find details and hours for each winery and determine if they'll need reservations.
"Because we've spread the crowd out over three weekends, the majority of wineries are accepting walk-ins right now," he said. "You'll want to check out the website in advance, but you can certainly drive around tomorrow and there's a good chance you can pop in."
For more info on The Winter Series and its wineries, hit up the website here.