Mayor Andrew Jakubeit (left) and Penticton MLA Dan Ashton hold the ribbon as Rod King, chairman of the BC Wine Information Society and store manager Laura Kowalchuk do the cutting to officially open the new British Columbia Information Centre, Thursday. Mark Brett/Western News

New digs for wine info centre

B.C.’s first and only non-profit VQA wine store is back in business

B.C.’s first and only non-profit VQA wine store has launched a new location and ready to move into its next chapter.

Since late last spring the British Columbia Wine Information Centre has been operating out of portable at the west end of the South Okanagan Events Centre parking lot.

On Thursday the official ribbon cutting ceremonies took place at the new, expanded retail location at 553 Vees Dr., just a stone’s throw from it’s original site in the same building as Cascades Casino.

“Here we are after 20 years in business and having given back over $500,000 to the community and we’re in this beautiful new facility which is the gateway to the Okanagan wine community,” said store manager Laura Kowalchuk. “There is so much vibrancy in this neighbourhood, we’re just thrilled to be here.”

The celebration of the opening carried over into Friday and into Saturday morning with special tastings, music and much more.

“In this new, bigger space we can offer more wine, we have sit down tastings that people can come in and enjoy,” said Kowalchuk. “We’ll have wine education, making wine very fun, very approachable and they can learn about the wine region.”

Rod King, board chair of the B.C. Wine Information Centre, which operates the facility added: “It’s the collaborative effort and ongoing support of local citizens, wineries and our staff that help us succeed.”

The 4,500 square foot retail store carries hundreds of B.C. VQA wines from around the province and offers unique specialty wine giftware.

Among the donations the society has made is a $300,000 contribution to Okanagan College to assist with the construction of a wine sensory centre.

The new store is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

“With this as a flagship B.C. VQA wine store in the province, we have reached our place of arrival,” said Kowalchuk. “We are so grateful for the support of our community these last 20 years. We’re looking forward to the next 20 and more.”


A large crowd was on hand Thursday for the official opening of the new BC Wine Information Centre not far from its original location. The new retail facility is 4,500 square feet in size. Mark Brett/Western News