Kamloops business leaders raised a glass Wednesday to the first bottles of locally branded wine produced from a pioneering vineyard.
More than 100 people gathered under tents in the afternoon sunshine to celebrate and taste the Harper's Trail Riesling and rose.
"We want Kamloops to get on the map," said Ed Collett, who along with wife Vicki planted the first vines in 2008. "We want the world to know this is a wine region. It's a huge opportunity."
More than seven hectares on the north side of the Thompson River, just west of the Lafarge plant, are now producing grapes at Thadd Springs Vineyard. Varieties include pinot gris, gewurztraminer and Riesling.
This year is the first for bottling under the Harper's Trail name. Grapes last year were bottled under the name of a Shuswap winery.
Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar, whose private liquor store in Aberdeen is among the first to sell Harper's Trail wines, called the vineyard "the last piece of the tourist puzzle for the City and surrounding region.
"Congratulations for taking a leap of faith that no one else has done before," he told the gathering at the vineyard.
Harper's Trail wines are bottled at a Summerland winemaking facility.
About 580 cases of Harper's Trail wine will be bottled this year. That's expected to increase to between 2,300 and 3,000 next year.
Harper's Trail wines are available at private liquor stores in Kamloops, including Stag's Head, Sahali, Lansdowne and Tumbleweeds.