Building is the heart of wine country

On Nov. 15, wine lovers will have a chance to raise a glass to toast an industry that has put the Okanagan on the vintner world stage.

Manager Laura Kowalchuk of the BC VQA Wine Information Centre works on one of the displays at the Penticton location this week. The centre

Manager Laura Kowalchuk of the BC VQA Wine Information Centre works on one of the displays at the Penticton location this week. The centre

On Nov. 15, wine lovers will have a chance to raise a glass to toast an industry that has put the Okanagan on the vintner world stage.

The celebration is the 18th anniversary of the Penticton location of the B.C. VQA Information Centre, which will include the annual open house at 552 Vees Drive (Channel Parkway and Eckhardt Avenue West). The free to the public event begins at 11:30 a.m. and runs until 5:30 p.m.

What we’re really doing here is showcasing the very best we have to offer and this is the perfect place being where we are, right here in the heart of wine country,” said centre manager Laura Kowalchuk who began holding the open houses five years ago as a way of getting locals to pay a visit. “It just seemed that people were thinking, ‘oh yeah I live here so I can’t shop here,’ which is just sort of odd but all that has changed and it (open house) has just become awesome.”

She added the event is perfectly timed because it gives people an opportunity to discover some “fantastic” local wines they were not aware of and pick up some unique Christmas gifts that highlight the flavours of the region.

Penticton was actually the birthplace of the VQA store concept in B.C., which appropriately stands for Vintners Quality Alliance, a certification of the high quality standards met by the wineries and its products.

It’s also a guarantee the wine is 100 per cent B.C. The centre was started in 1990.

BC VQA is an “appellation of origin” system that guarantees authenticity of origin and stipulates minimum quality standards.

Kowalchuk noted the B.C. concept was similar to one in California and was spearheaded by Valley winery pioneer Harry McWatters, who at one time owned the Summerland Sumac Ridge Estate Winery. There are currently 21 of the stores in the rest of the province.

The novel concept of the local VQA outlet is the fact it is paired up with the Wine Country Visitors Information Centre.

Even though we are totally separate businesses we complement each other here,” said Kowalchuk. “It can be intimidating for people visiting because there’s so many wineries, they can’t get to them all and they don’t know where to start and we can help them.”

The centre’s staff can also assist with everything from tour advice, maps and an introduction to tasting. There are also over 700 VQA wines in stock. Operated by the BC Wine Information Society, profits go back into the local community supporting the wine industry.

A recent donation was made to the Okanagan College Centre of Excellence in the amount of $300,000. In addition, two scholarships of $3,000 are given annually to viticulture students.

During the open house, visitors can talk to winery owners and winemakers (the 2014 grape harvest has reportedly been one of the best) and try samples. Food treats from the Taste of Okanagan will be available as well as a chance to speak with author James Nevison who will be signing his book, Had a Glass 2015. Live music will be provided by the John Rousseau Duo.

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

(Facebook)
New trial date set in Penticton for Thomas Kruger-Allen’s triple assault charges

May trial was delayed after Crown witnesses failed to show up

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

Scales of Justice
Acquittal in Okanagan crash that killed vacationing dentist

Daerio Romeo, 29, was charged with dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm

Renderings of what the skating rink could look like beside City Hall between Martin and Main in downtown Penticton. (Activate Penticton image)
Penticton to get outdoor ice rink this winter

It’s hoped the rink will be ready to host 2022 BCHL’s 60th year celebration

The fate of Skaha Marina and its operations will be decided Saturday, June 19 on general election day. (File photo)
Penticton city hosted last forum before voters decide on fate of Skaha Marina

Residents share concerns about length of operations agreement, parking and control of park

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Orange ribbons are tied to the fence outside Vernon’s Gateway Homeless Shelter on 33rd Street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
POLL: Low-key Canada Day in the works for Vernon

Councillor calling for Indigenous recognition for 2022

A conceptual design of Vernon’s new Active Living Centre, which will go to referendum Oct. 15, 2022. (Rendering)
Active living centre 2022 referendum planned in Vernon

City hoping to get Coldstream and Areas B and C back on board

Closure of the 2900 block of 30th Avenue will allow restaurants and other businesses to extend their patios onto the street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Green light given to downtown Vernon road closure

Single block of 30th Avenue to close over summer months to boost business

Graduating Grade 12 student Savannah Lamb has been awarded an approximate $40,000 scholarship from the Beedie Luminaries foundation. (Contributed)
Dedicated Salmon Arm student earns scholarship to pursue post-secondary education

Savannah Lamb is graduating from Salmon Arm Secondary with a $40,000 scholarship

A provided photo of the suspect. (Kelowna RCMP/Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP investigating after business robbed

An undisclosed amount of money and merchandise were taken from the business

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Grace (left), a caribou that was born in a maternal pen north of Revelstoke, is alive and well said the province. It appears she even has a calf. Maternity pens aim to increase caribou calf survival by protecting them from predation until they are older and less vulnerable. (Contributed)
For the first time in years, caribou numbers increasing near Revelstoke

North herd growing but south herd still concerning

Most Read