A guide to our favourite top-notch food and wine festivals in Western Canadian resort destinations.
For all you food and wine connoisseurs, we've got you covered. The West Coast and Rocky Mountains provide picturesque views and deliver spectacular food and wine festivals that will keep you coming back year after year. Whether you're planning a romantic weekend for two, a group event with friends or an adventurous family outing, the following festivals are located in some of our most stunning mountain destinations, and will definitely not disappoint.
The Okanagan Fall Wine Festival has been named one of Canada's best small festivals, and just gets better year after year. This 10-day festival takes place in October during the grape harvest and is perhaps one of the most well known wine festivals throughout the Okanagan region. With well over 165 events, there is a little something for everyone. Attendees can participate in a grape stomping event, a vineyard tour, culinary demonstrations with celebrity chefs and, of course, delicious classic and contemporary tastings.
This festival engages many of the wineries across the region and offers a number of company package tours that will target your specific interests, manage the bookings and get you safely from one spot to the next. All you need to do is breathe in the breathtaking views, taste BC's finest varietals and enjoy the experience with friends and family.
The Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival is one of the largest wine and food events in Alberta, taking place this October in Calgary, with an additional festival occurring the next month in Edmonton. Only an hour and a half drive away from beautiful Banff, the Calgary festival is the perfect escape for those who want to take a break from hiking and exploring the wilderness to sit back and enjoy a little bit of luxury. Located at Stampede Park BMO Centre, your ticket grants you entrance to the Grand Tasting Hall where you can pick up sampling coupons for the rest of your weekend. Participating local restaurants and chefs showcase world-class cuisine, with tastings of international and local wines, spirits, malts and beers that will keep you busy for hours.
Cornucopia, Whistler’s celebration of food and drink, is a festival held annually in November, and caters in equal measure to the foodies and wine aficionados in the crowd. Within the last couple of years, the festival has doubled in length to 11 wine-filled days to accommodate its increased popularity, giving you two full weekends to choose from for your getaway.
Chefs table lunches and cooking demonstrations are scheduled between tastings and wine seminars to keep you engaged. In true Whistler style, Cornucopia has also added a focus on health and wellness that includes healthy eating seminars, yoga and meditation. Start your day with informative and creative seminars, and end with cocktails and chocolate, or a silent disco – your choice.
Already ahead of the game, and planning your winter vacation for the new year? We don't blame you! With The Sun Peaks Winter Okanagan Wine Festival taking place for one week in mid-January, ski bunnies and mountain lovers flock to this annual celebration of recreation and wine. Located at Sun Peaks Resort in Sun Peaks, BC, visitors can expect to be wowed by pairings of locally sourced creations with some of the best wines in British Columbia. The festival also features hugely popular après ski events that will replenish and revive you after a long day on the slopes. Some events include blind tasting, a moonlight snowshoe activity, and much more!
Interested in food and wine festivals, but more of a brew buff yourself? Check out some of the exceptional craft breweries in the region at the annual Okanagan Fest-of-Ale in Penticton. Taking place during the first weekend of April, this festival is a charitable event with all proceeds going to non-profit community organizations. In addition to beer, a few cideries have jumped on board alongside BC's famous brewers. Showcasing another of the regions plentiful fruits – the apple – fans of ciders will not be left out of the mix. The Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is a full weekend event featuring delicious tastings and great entertainment, and also just so happens to be one of the oldest and largest festivals of its kind.
Located within the lush Tofino Botanical Gardens, this year's Tofino Food and Wine Festival takes place during the Grazing the Gardens 15th anniversary. What began as a small event now attracts guests seeking a fantastic (and delicious) weekend getaway. An event that brings together artists in the area and supports non-profit organizations, the festival combines the town's love of nature with appreciation for local cuisine and BC wine. If guests to the area are searching for the perfect spring holiday in June, the Food and Wine Festival offers enticing pairing events to enjoy after a day on the beach or hiking through Tofino's trails.
Another festival option for those planning their summer vacations, Vancouver Island's Feastival event takes place in June over two days, complete with celebrity chefs, locally-sourced products, food trucks and samplings. With their slogan “Celebrating the Island's Culinary Culture,” you know you're in for an authentic and appetizing weekend! The festival includes the 3rd annual seafood chowder cook-off – an exciting event decided by the audience – as well as cooking classes, craft beverage sampling, and a great selection of the island's best food trucks. Nanaimo is located only half an hour from our fantastic Parksville accommodations for those seeking a truly fun-filled island vacation.