Between the Vines Valley variety can be a puzzler

Women andWine panelists explain why region doesn’t specialize in just a handful of varietals.

By Judie Steeves C

onsumers and even wine industry professionals internationally have difficulty understanding how Okanagan Valley wines can vary so much from one end of the region to the other. In other global wine regions, generally each is known for a particular grape varietal that does especially well in that region, due to climate and soil characteristics, but in B.C., there are significant variables throughout the valley.

“Internationally, consumers find it difficult to understand why we don’t specialize in one or two particular wines, but we don’t have a consistent growing area,” explained Elaine Triggs, co-owner with husband Don of Culmina Estate Winery in Oliver. She was speaking at an event called Women and Wine, presented by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce in January. Other panel members were Ann Sperling, winegrower at both the pioneer Sperling Vineyards in Kelowna and Southbrook Winery in Niagara, Canada’s first biodynamic winery and Sandra Oldfield, chief executive officer of Tinhorn Creek Vineyards in Oliver, who was recently named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women as a Trailblazer and Trendsetter. (See story page 26) “Becoming internationally known is a challenge,” Triggs added. Moderator of the panel discussion was renowned wine writer John Schreiner, who agreed that “Consumers hardly realize what a special place the Okanagan is to make wine.”

Sperling agreed, adding that its northern latitude and wide range of land types and the economic opportunities, with consumers who

people available to work on the viticulture side of things — soil science, insects and disease. “We need thinking people out in the vineyard who will see things before we do.” Triggs agreed, noting, “France has hundreds of years of experience in viticulture.”

The new Viticulture Technician Diploma which begins in September at Okanagan College, will be a real boon to the industry, providing training for those in the industry or interested in entering the industry to manage vineyards.

Schreiner noted he tests a lot of wines to review and says he can taste the difference when a good viticulturist begins work in a vineyard.


Elaine Triggs, co-owner of Culmina Estate Winery in Oliver.

are very engaged, is a real advantage. People working in the industry here really want to make a difference, she noted. Oldfield voiced concerns though, about the politics the wine industry has to navigate its way through.

She expressed

frustration because she wants to see B.C. wines sold all across Canada, while

currently that has been stalled because of provincial cross- border sales prohibitions.

She’s also concerned about a lack of specialized trained


Ann Sperling, winegrower at Sperling Vineyards in Kelowna and Southbrook Winery in Niagara.

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Spring 2017 25

OC also offers a variety of food and wine tourism programs, from a winery assistant and a wine sales certificate to workshops and courses and a full culinary arts program.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36