Wine writer Dave McIntyre is one of two main speakers at the fifth annual Wine Talks at Okanagan College in Penticton. (Contributed)

Wine experts featured at Okanagan College Penticton

Speaker series brings wine discussions back to Penticton campus

Two internationally-known wine experts are coming to Okanagan College’s Penticton campus at the end of the month to share their thoughts on the Okanagan wine industry.

Steven Spurrier and Dave McIntyre will speaking at the fifth annual Wine Talks in the campus’ Centre of Excellence on Oct. 28.

Spurrier, who organized the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, also known as the Judgement of Paris, brings a breadth of knowledge specific to French wine.

Spurrier became a household name in the world of wine after the Paris Tasting unexpectedly skyrocketed the status of California wine and helped to shine greater attention on North and South American wine regions.

Prior to settling in the U.K., he opened L’Academie du Vin, the first private wine school in France. Spurrier has spent the better part of his life travelling as a wine merchant, sharing knowledge as a writer and speaker and serving as a consultant editor for the magazine Decanter. He and his wife Arabella are the proprietors of Bride Valley Vineyard in Dorset, England.

Dave McIntyre is a freelance wine and food writer as well as wine columnist for The Washington Post, where he writes a mix of reviews, interviews and recommendations based on first-hand experience. Not only does McIntyre share his knowledge of wine, introducing novices and experts alike to the lexicon of wine terminology, but he is also a frequent blogger. Dubbed Drink Local Wine, his website serves as a place of learning about “wines from here, wherever ‘here’ happens to be.”

In a recent story article, McIntyre highlighted the Okanagan as “the most exciting wine region you’ve never heard of – but you will.” As a wine journalist, he brings to Wine Talks nearly two decades of combining passion for writing and food into edible food for thought.

“Sharing knowledge and inspiring collaboration is at the heart of what we do as a college,” said Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton. “With every iteration of Wine Talks, it’s been heartening for us to witness industry experts and the public come together to spark questions and discussions that may yield new insights for the Okanagan wine industry.”

Wine Talks is presented by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Wine Initiative. Tickets are $20 on Eventbrite and the event is open to the public.

“The industry is growing and constantly evolving,” said event co-host Ian MacDonald, owner of Liquidity Wines and one of the founders of the Okanagan Wine Initiative. “Forecasts for the industry are not solely limited to what goes into the bottle but can be reflective of demographics, economy, and consumer demand.

“It’s crucial to reflect on where we’ve been, not only what we’ve done right but also what needs work. If we can put a pulse on what’s happening both globally and locally, we can navigate what we can do better in the future.”

Following the keynotes by Spurrier and McIntyre, there will be a question and answer period facilitated by John Skinner, proprietor of Painted Rock Estate Winery and another founding member of the Okanagan Wine Initiative.

“I’m looking forward to a lively Q and A, given the well-travelled expertise our two speakers bring to the table,” said Skinner. “I think this format offers a wonderful candid opportunity for open, honest and, hopefully, creative discussion. It’s going to be a great opportunity to talk about what we’re doing well in the Okanagan, what we can learn from other regions, while situating that discussion within the very unique challenges and opportunities of the Okanagan.

“I think it’s a discussion that should interest those of us who make wine and those who simply love to drink and love supporting the local industry and hear where we’re going.”


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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