Sharing wines is a wonderful experience.

Coming on Oct. 23, here in Whitehorse, is an opportunity to gather with friends, try many new wines and make a contribution to the local community … all at the same time.

The Rendezvous Rotary Club is holding its 17th Annual Wine and Fine Food Festival at the High Country Inn Convention Centre.

This year will see the biggest show that has been held yet, with 20 wine vendors offering more than 150 wines to taste.

And local fine food establishments will be offering tastes of their specialities to complement the wines.

For readers who have been before, I can only say that I expect there will be 30 per cent more wines to taste than a year ago. I hope that you will make it as big of a success as it was last year.

For new attendees, let me tell you what you can expect: The two-and-a-half-hour event will begin at 7 p.m. Twenty wine vendors will each have a table, where they will be pouring a selection of different wines, often from a variety of countries.

Many are not currently offered in the Yukon, so it will be an opportunity to taste new and perhaps unfamiliar wines. If you like them, they will be for sale at the wine show, so you can bring home some stock of particular favourites that you find.

In addition, there will be live music, a selection of fine foods to sample and a silent auction. All proceeds from the evening go to local, national and international projects that the Rotary organization supports.

Tickets are $50 each (the same price as last year) and are available at Arts Underground, Coffee, Tea and Spice and M & M Meat Shops.

Each attendee will be given a souvenir tasting glass to use for the evening and can be taken home afterwards. (A word to the wise, don’t lose it. It’s a limited edition.)

Try as many wines as you like, but I would suggest several approaches to make sure the evening is a fun and successful one:

1) Go with a friend. This is a social event and an opportunity to not only try new things, but also to share and ask them what they think. You may find you have similar palates or very different ones … remember, there’s no right answer on what makes a good wine.

2) Taste small portions. Most of what you taste will actually be what you smell as you take the wine into you mouth, so make sure to leave at least two thirds of the glass filled with air so that you taste the full bouquet … plus, it IS alcohol.

3) Cleanse your glass and palate. There will be pitchers of water as well as bread. The water is great to rinse your glass a little and to drink a little after tasting one or several wines. It prepares your tongue for the next wine. Nibble on some bread (and the other tasty treats) both to give your tongue a break between wines and to get something solid in your stomach.

4) Try new stuff. And if you find something that you really like, buy a bottle of two at the in-show wine store. Each bottle purchased is a vote for a particular new wine and helps the Yukon Liquor Corporation decide which wines to order for its stores.

5) Make sure you and your friends make it home safely. I want my readership to grow and my greatest pleasure in writing these columns is imagining the happiness of friends as they open and share wines. I wish for you, readers and wine explorers, many years of happy tastings, so arrange for a ride home ahead of time, book an evening at a hotel within walking distance or have Rotary volunteers help arrange for a taxi afterwards.

Cheers.