Bustling wine festival a success for Rotary Half of the proceeds will go towards PolioPlus programme, while the other half will be utilised for various projects of the club.

Lorena Austin of Saxon Estate Winery pours a sampling of wine for Claire Jackson during Wine Fest hosted by the Rotary Club of Nakusp. The festival is one of the larger fundraisers for the club.
Lorena Austin of Saxon Estate Winery pours a sampling of wine for Claire Jackson during Wine Fest hosted by the Rotary Club of Nakusp. The festival is one of the larger fundraisers for the club.

The dining areas and lounge of the K2 Rotor Lodge were packed as residents from up and down the Arrow Lakes came out for a good time, good laughs, and good wine during the fourth annual Wine Fest, hosted by the Rotary Club of Nakusp (Canada, District 5080).

The sold-out event is one of the bigger fundraisers for the Rotary Club. Half the proceeds will go toward Rotary’s PolioPlus programme, which focuses on ending polio around the world. The other half will be going toward various projects Rotary is working on in the community.

Over the last three years the event has raised over $10,000 for PolioPlus. Rotary International has also partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. For every donation made to PolioPlus, the foundation will match it two-to-one.

This was their first festival for some in attendance.

“This is neat,” said Ron Balske. “There’s a nice selection of wines to sample and it opens your eyes to what’s available on the market.”

Upon entering the K2, attendees are given a wine glass emblazoned with the words ‘Nakusp Rotary’ and the Rotary International symbol. They’re also given a pamphlet with the names of each of the wineries and vineyards throughout the Kootenays and the Okanagan region at the festival.

Along with wine tasting, attendees could also bid on items in the silent auction. Around 92 items were up for bid this year, from gift baskets, wine, to hotel stays in Castlegar and Cranbrook. So many items were up for bid that four rounds of auctions were done.

Some residents think having Wine Fest is a great opportunity for the Rotary.

“The Rotary Club does so many amazing things for our community,” said Leslie Leitch. “I like that they’re always helping all the different age groups, and it’s amazing that so few people get so much done.”

While some would like to see Wine Fest expand to a larger venue, there is no plan to change the location.

“What I’ve heard is that they like the noise, they like the intimacy, they love the wine, and they love the fact that they can get dressed up, and you can see that tonight,” said Kees van der Pol, District Governor for the Rotary Club. “I think they come because they know Rotary puts on a good show.”

Van der Pol thinks having something like this in a community is important, no matter the size or location of that community. 

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