Visiting wine professional Caroline Brange (right) and John Szabo, Master Sommelier, (middle) during a B.C. Wine BootCamp session at Laughing Stock Winery on the Naramata Bench on Tuesday.                                Kristi Patton/Western News
Bad Video Embed Code

Visiting wine professional Caroline Brange (right) and John Szabo, Master Sommelier, (middle) during a B.C. Wine BootCamp session at Laughing Stock Winery on the Naramata Bench on Tuesday. Kristi Patton/Western News

Video: International showcase of the Okanagan wine industry

Wine professionals spent the past four days touring and learning about the Okanagan wine industry

Wine professionals from around the world were invited to to gain knowledge of the industry in this region and to help raise the international profile of Okanagan wines at the inaugural Wine B.C. BootCamp.

The B.C. Wine Institute had 30 sommeliers, media and wine professionals soak in more than 200 B.C. wines from 70 wineries during the four day event that wrapped up on Wednesday.

Master of Wine Rhys Pender said around 95 per cent of Okanagan wine is purchased by consumers within the province. However, he added, to be considered among the top wine producers in the world, the Okanagan wine industry needs to make sure people outside the provincial borders know about what is being created here.

“People don’t get that much access to our wine, but when we do take our wine into these international markets, or they come here and try our wine, they are generally blown away by the quality because we have this amazing climate. There is nowhere else like it in the world. The summers we have the heat, the warmth, ripeness in the fruit but then we get these really cool nights preserving the freshness and acidity so the wines have this elegance and freshness and just really not like anywhere else in the world,” said Pender. “People love that because that is what the world is evolving to, these wines that have freshness and elegance.”

Pender said Okanagan wineries are not competing against neighbouring wineries, they are on a shelf up against wines from around the world. Having professionals from around the world visiting and understanding the terroir and what the industry is creating gives it validation.

“The benefit is really reputation,” he said. “It is about the wines being known and respected around the world and that builds value back home. That builds the reputation, means there is more demand, the winery business may be more profitable at the end of the day, land values — all that stuff can benefit from it.”

The event also hoped to open new markets around the world. Pender, who is also the owner of a winery in Cawston, said receiving the exposure and feedback from key influencers from around the globe is beneficial to winemakers so they can hear how their wines stand up to other regions.

“We need to do that because we think the wines are at that serious of a level that they deserve to be side-by-side on wine lists around the world.”

It also gives the visiting wine professionals a behind the scenes, in-depth look at the Okanagan wine industry. Over the course of four days they networked with B.C. masters of wine, master sommeliers, winemakers, viticulturists, wine educators and esteemed B.C. chefs. The bootcamp also featured educational masterclasses, regional tastings and dinners, discussions, interactive wine and food pairings and keynote presentations focusing on the history, progress and future of B.C.’s wine industry.

Visiting wine professional, Caroline Brange, originally from France, spent five years working as a Sommelier in London before working in trade sales — selling wine to restaurants and shops.

“It is a perfect opportunity to get to know more of the area and understand a bit more of the wines so I can be able to translate that back to Europe. Wines from Canada, the Okanagan, are really unknown. There are very, very few wines (sold) outside of your area. So it is nice to come here, taste and meet the people.”

She said there are Okanagan wineries that want to break on to wine lists overseas, however it will take motivated businesses to do that. Brange said she will return to the UK with a better knowledge of what the region offers that she can share with her clients.

“No one has a clue there are some brilliant Syrah’s, Cab Franc and some Rieslings and all the variety and diversity that is available in the area. The quality of the wine is quite impressive,” said Brange.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

C.E. “Ned” Bentley owned a garage on Shaughnessy Avenue, now Lakeshore Drive in Summerland. Bentley later went on to serve on Summerland’s council and was recognized with the Good Citizen Award in 1939. (Summerland Museum photo)
Former Summerland reeve once ran garage

C.E. “Ned” Bentley was a prominent figure in Summerland’s past.

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is offering home compost bins at reduced prices until March 25. (Contributed)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen offers compost bins at wholesale costs

Pricing offer at participating stores in place until March 25

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The City of Vernon is looking for input into its Climate Action Plan. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon taking steps towards climate action

Community engagement sought on city plan

Paramjit Bogarh, connected to the murder of his wife in Vernon 35 years ago, has been relerased on full parole, one year after he was sentenced to five years in prison for accessory after the fact. (Contributed)
Full parole for ex-Okanagan man who helped wife’s alleged killer escape

Paramjit Bogarh pleaded guilty to accessory to murder after helping brother flee Canada

Most Read