Are you ready to sip and savour Cowichan’s best?

Two lavish events, held on a barge at Mill Bay, highlight the excitement around this year’s 10-day Savour Cowichan event

Two lavish events, held on a barge at Mill Bay, highlight the excitement around this year’s 10-day Savour Cowichan event, which is scheduled for Sept. 24 to Oct. 3.

The sold-out Barge On In is a foodie love-in that celebrates the Valley’s vast cornucopia of locally grown and produced food and drink on a floating barge in Mill Bay, while raising money for Canucks Autism Network.

New this year is an Octoberfest on Oct. 1.

It’s officially the festival’s tapped beer, cider and spirits event, but by most people’s definition, it really is an outing worthy of a gourmet Hofbrauhaus.

At this fun-filled event, also held on the floating barge, guests will get to meet some of the Canucks alumni, taste selections from craft breweries, cidery and spirit producers and chow down on gourmet pub fare. Plus, there’s a live auction. Wear your lederhosen and gear up for a great night. Tickets are $49, available at the Duncan-Cowichan Visitors Centre or Merridale Cider, or online at the website.

Some of the events and locations featured during this wide-ranging sip and savour event include “Merridale is Buzzing” on Friday, Sept. 23.

It’s a special day to celebrate and learn about one of the most important species in our ecosystem: bees. The afternoon event starts at 4 p.m. in the farmhouse store with over 30 juried local artists’ work featuring this insect. Mingle with the artists while sipping on cocktails, a glass of Cyser made from honey at the farm, or enjoy small plates created by the Merridale kitchen. At 5:30 p.m., settle into the ciderhouse for an informative talk by the “Bee Guru,” Ted Leischner and hear what Merridale does to create a healthy environment for the bees on the farm. The art show and talk are free but registration is essential — food and drinks are extra.

• In Chemainus, Sawmill Taphouse has special features running during the festival, including Cowichan Valley lamb kebabs, with house made tzatziki and Sawmill oven smoked flatbread, with selected local drinks.

• At Blue Grouse, look for lots of excitement during the festival weekends with live music, daily tours and live painting.

• Checking out Downtown Duncan? Stop by the popular farmers market Sept. 24 and Oct. 1 for the freshest of the fresh local products as well as baking, jams and jellies, honey, crafts, clothing, pet treats, and a chance to taste locally produced wine and spirits.

• At Genoa Bay Cafe, they’re celebrating the festival by featuring a curried braised lamb shank on jasmine rice with a cashew red pepper curry and yogurt drizzle in addition to their summer menu.

• Averill Creek is offering special behind-the-scenes tours at their winery on Sept. 26 and Oct. 2 at 1 p.m.

Learn the details of how the wines are made followed by a tasting of four wines.

• Emandare Vineyard is offering a free wine tasting with the winemaker from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 at their boutique winery in North Cowichan.

This is an educational experience on the terroir driven wines of Emandare and the winemaking philosophy that enables these unique flavours to be captured in a bottle.

• In Chemainus, the Polka Dot Trail Artists Studio Tour is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1. It’s a self-guided tour in the Chemainus-Saltair area, a chance to meet the artists in their studios.

• Blue Grouse Vineyard is back again with fun Oct. 1. From noon to 5 p.m. it’s Swine and Wine featuring pulled pork sandwiches for $6, live Music by Andy McCormack (1-4 p.m.), complimentary tastings, and tours.

• Cherry Point offers its 17th annual Wine and Culinary Festival on Oct. 1 and 2 with an open house, complimentary Spanish paella and sangria.

• The second annual Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre Crab Fest is scheduled for Oct. 2, with seatings at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Support of the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre Pier Reconstruction Project. Tickets are $25 per person. Contact 250-746-4955 or

• Cheers Cowichan Tours is offering a shuttle service, with some residential pickups, as well as stops at hotels and marinas available. The cost is $20 per person for a round trip. Call 250-710-7391 to schedule.

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