Joe Anderson, with the Royal Canadian Legion Langley branch, attended the Fraser Valley Wine Festival where he was able to receive donations for Remembrance Day poppies. Picking up a poppy was Surrey’s Jenna Parker, a first time festival goer. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

More than 1,000 people take in Langley’s annual Rotary wine festival

This year’s fundraiser on Saturay evening in Willowbrook Shopping Centre sold out.

Beverages from around the world including the array available from local wineries were on offer at the 28th annual Fraser Valley Wine Festival Saturday evening.

The event hosted by local Rotary Clubs in Willowbrook Shopping Centre was sold right out which meant more than 1,000 people took in this year’s event that features wines, spirits, appetizers by local restaurants, and various music ensembles.

John Morgan co-chairs the organizing committee and said the event is expected to make more than $80,000.

“That was the biggest [festival] we’ve ever had,” he said. “It caught us a little bit by surprise.”

Technology has finally started to help. Last year about 200 tickets were sold online before the event. This year about half of the 1,000 tickets sold online.

The event has attracted a lot of new faces.

“It was a newer crowd, a younger crowd,” Morgan added.

CoBees Enterprises Inc., a distributor of South Korean alcohols, has been at the event for the past few years, wanting to not only showcase product lines but also get involved in helping the community.

Aldergrove’s Warren Elliott took the opportunity to try CoBees’ Ssal Makkoli carbonated alcohol that looks like skim milk but is made with rice.

A friend told him about the event.

“I’ll be back,” he said.

The proceeds of the festival go to Rotary community projects and charities, including the Encompass Community Services Society and hospital equipment. The organizing committee meets Wednesday morning to review the event and make improvements. Morgan noted that one issue was a lack of people to do the work due to illness. One effect was longer line-ups for people trying to get into the festival.

Fraser Valley Wine FestivalRotaryWillowbrook Shopping Centre

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Pat Zawalykut, with the Langley Fermenters Wine Club, decanted some fairly modern vintages for those wanting non-alcoholic options at the Fraser Valley Wine Fest. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

Jon and Teresa Townsley offered up the products of one of Langley’s newest wineries, Festina Lente. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

Aldergrove’s Warren Elliott tried South Korean alcohol at the CoBees booth during the Fraser Valley Wine Fest Saturday evening. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

Mike Barker tossed crunchy noodles into a spicy vegetable mix for Moxie’s lettuce wraps. Local restaurants provide gourmet goodies for the patrons. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

In addition to wine, people could try out special cocktails. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

People come from around the Lower Mainland for the annual Wine Fest. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

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