What does Burgundy, France, have in common with the Okanagan?
If you said they’re both great wine growing regions, you would be right, but that is only part of the answer.
The Okanagan, Burgundy, Champagne and 17 other of the world’s greatest wine regions are vying to be named to the top 10 wine regions to visit in a poll sponsored by USA Today.
With a little more than a week to run in the contest, Penticton has a solid hold on second place, trying to overtake Alentejo, Portugal for first, and leading traditional wine destinations like Burgundy or Moselle, Germany.
Chris Bower, the new executive director at Tourism Penticton, said he isn’t surprised.
“If you look at Penticton … we have about 150 wineries surrounding us, at both ends. Over the last few years, the Okanagan has really become well known for its wine,” said Bower.
“When I look at it, I am saying this is the best place to live and to visit; we are so fortunate to have the wine here.”
The importance of the Okanagan as a wine-producing region, and the resulting importance of that to tourism, has grown substantially over the last few decades, according to Bower.
“There has been a big switch over the last 30 years in the consumption of wine. Before, it was the cheap wine, boxed wine, and now we have a higher quality wine,” he said.
“The product we have here, the wine being produced is world-class wine. Look at all the awards we have been winning over the years here.
“One day we are going to be known as one of the major international regions to come to.”
As with similar online user poll-type contests, you can vote once a day, every day for your favourite destination. The contest runs until Aug. 4, leaving lots of time to get more votes in at www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-wine-region-to-visit/.
“The most important thing is for everyone to vote,” said Bower.
Placing high in the top 10, or better yet, first, will be a marketing bonus for the region according to Bower.
“There are people that are going to come and write stories about Penticton and the area,” said Bower.
“That’s just part of it. We are able to use it on our website and through social media.
“You always need that hook, something to get it out there and then we will be able to show what else we have to offer.”