British Columbia wineries gather in Kelowna to contend for prestigious awards

Professional sommeliers from across North America have gathered in Kelowna to put their senses to the test.

“We are super excited to be producing the B.C. Lieutenant Governor Wine Awards. One of the largest wine judging events in B.C.,” said Elan Morris, Okanagan Wine Festival Society’s general manager.

A panel comprised of 17 judges, who have come from as far as New York, are tasting 745 wines from more than 100 B.C. wineries.

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Morris said this year’s event is more important for some wineries than any other event in the past due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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“Peoples’ revenue and their exposure to the consumer market has been seriously mitigated this year,” Morris told Global News on Thursday.

“This event allows all of the wineries to enter their wines and get in front of the consumer.”

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One judge who travelled to the Okanagan from Quebec said this event is extremely valuable for smaller wineries.

“They’re doing everything. They grow the grapes, they farm the land, they make the sales and the marketing,” said Veronique Rivest, a professional sommelier.

“I like to consider myself the link between the winery and the consumer.”

The three-day event will have judges awarding specific batches of wine — with platinum, gold, silver and bronze prizes — capped off with a wine of the year award.

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Rivest explains what she looks for in a great wine.

“Generally, I look for balance, where nothing sticks out. A good win is a wine you want to drink,” said Rivest.

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“That’s when you put all the bottles on the table and the first one empty — that’s the best wine.”

Winning wines will be announced in October.

South Okanagan wine village on its way

South Okanagan wine village on its way

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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