Julian Scholefield

Okanagan near top in wine region survey

A survey by USA Today rates the Okanagan Valley as one of the world’s top wine producing regions.

A survey by USA Today rates the Okanagan Valley as one of the world’s top wine producing regions.

The valley took the second-place position in USA Today Readers’ Choice for Best Wine Region.

For those in the wine industry, the report is cause for celebration.

“It’s very exciting to see that we’re getting recognition at such a young stage,” said Julian Scholefield, president of the Bottleneck Drive group of Summerland wineries. “To get that kind of recognition as a region is really exciting.”

Bottleneck Drive has 14 member wineries, many of them with short histories. Only two have been in place for more than 20 years.

Christine Coletta, co-owner of Okanagan Crush Pad and a member of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce board of directors, said the international recognition will benefit the wineries and the region.

“It’s always exciting and flattering when publications from outside Canada take notice of what we have to offer here in the Okanagan,” she said. “Of course we here at home have known all along what a gem we have, and we look forward to welcoming more people to visit and see what the valley offers as a result of this wide coverage.”

Christine Petkau, manager of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce, said the recognition will help in marketing the Okanagan Valley.

“This is a fantastic and much deserved recognition for Okanagan wineries and will definitely contribute to a greater awareness of our region around the world,” she said. “Here in Summerland, the 14 wineries of Bottleneck Drive offer not only award winning wines, they also have amazing experiences to delight visitors.”

Ellen Walker-Matthews, marketing chair for the Okanagan Wine Festivals, said the second-place finish is an honour for the region’s wineries.

“This will continue to build the incredible momentum we have seen in our wine region over the past several years,” she said.

The top rated wine region in the USA Today survey was Alentjo, Portugal.

Others in the top 10 are Maipo, Chile; Marlborough, New Zealand; Croatia; Napa Valley, California; Tuscany, Italy; Oregon; Hunter Valley, Australia and Virginia.