Toasting the announcement of the new Okanagan College sensory lab are (left to right) .Jonathan Rouse

Toasting the announcement of the new Okanagan College sensory lab are (left to right) .Jonathan Rouse

Wine industry invests in Penticton college campus

Okanagan College to play host to $480,000 sensory lab, one of just a handful in Canada

Okanagan College toasted the B.C. Wine Information Society on Wednesday for a $300,000 donation to build a new sensory lab in Penticton.

This will be the first educational facility of its type in the valley and one of only a handful in the country. Jonathan Rouse, director of wine, food and tourism at Okanagan College agreed the campus could become the leading facility for wine instruction in the country.

“This is a big part of leading us to that direction. It is a very significant asset that we can bring for not only the college, but the community and it will help us build that reputation,” said Rouse.

“We are working on a vision right now. Already we have pastry arts in Kelowna, now this sensory lab and a few other initiatives rolling out in the near future mainly in the Penticton and Kelowna campuses.”

The sensory lab provides an array of potential courses for students interested in winemaking, those pursuing viticulture and those aiming to work in the hospitality industry with a focus on food and wine.

“The tourism industry will benefit greatly, particularly on the culinary side.  The intent is to also open it up to the public and to industry as much as possible,” said Rouse.

The Okanagan College Foundation received the $300,000 donation from the B.C. Wine Information Society, to provide the bulk of the funding for this $480,000 project.

The society operates the B.C. VQA Wine Information Centre as a non-profit entity.

Proceeds from the store help deliver their goal of increasing awareness and growth of B.C. wines.

“We wanted to partner with Okanagan College because they have already been instrumental in educating so many of our exceptional winemakers in this region,” said Keith Bevington, president of the B.C. Wine Information Society.

“This sensory lab will attract new students to the industry right in the heart of B.C.’s wine country.”

Bevington said it’s vital to the future of the industry that students understand how an individual wine merges through the particular mix of the varietal, the vintage, the region it is grown and the producer itself.

He added by bringing educational opportunities to Penticton it could eliminate the need for talented winemakers to leave for other countries to study, or to bring in someone from another country to the vineyard.

“The instructors at Okanagan College come straight from industry, they’re producing award-winning wines now and passing their knowledge down to these students.

This lab will help them create a controlled environment so students can learn more about what ends up in the glass,” said Bevington.

The B.C. Wine Information Centre Sensory Lab concept was brought forward by consultant Rhys Pender. Local industry leaders confirmed it would be of benefit to the area.

“I am excited that the classroom could be used for much more than just wine tasting as it would led itself to sensory evaluation of food as well, and could also be used for research purposes,” said Renee Martin, past-president of the B.C. Grapegrowers Association.

It will have 24 seats in a 120 square metre space, and keeping with the college’s commitment to sustainability it will be designed to meet the Living Building Challenge standards.

The lab, which is outfitted with a complete kitchen and multimedia facilities that can broadcast instructional materials worldwide, is expected to be open and available for students in January 2014.


Just Posted

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Goosebumps helped scare off predators

Your morning start for Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Sue Birds captured this sunset photo that took place in between the rain and thunder Monday night, June 15, 2021. (Sue Birds)
Stormy sunsets over Okanagan Valley

Monday night had thunder, rain and stunning sunsets

Owner Daren McWhinney is really excited about the new location of Angry Vegan which just opened up at 536 Main Street. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton’s Main Street turns into foodie heaven

Angry Vegan, Wild Ginger, Twisted Chopsticks and Gratify recently opened

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

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

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-month-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

Vernon Elks Lodge secretary-treasurer Maureen Sather says special relief funding for the organization courtesy of Community Futures North Okanagan has been just that: a relief. (Photo submitted)
Zero funding for Vernon Elks club

Once-in-100-years grant denied after back and forth with city for support

Lyndsay Fillier and Braden Taylor have been living the van life for four years and they've detailed the first year of their adventures in a new book. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Okanagan couple details first year of van life in new book

Lyndsay Fillier and Braden Taylor have been living the van life for four years

A young child was taken to hospital after being struck by a vehicle on 30th Avenue in Vernon Friday, June 11, 2021. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Child OK after being hit by car in Vernon

Father says daughter was back home by supper time

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

Most Read