Best of Varietal Wine Competition kicks off Spring


March 7, 2017 – The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society is delighted to announce the 23rd British Columbia Best of Varietal Wine Competition presented by Grant Thornton, Farm Credit Canada, ContainerWorld and TricorBraun Winepak. This provincial wine competition is held to recognize the top British Columbia wine varietals as part of the kick off to the 2017 annual Spring Okanagan Wine Festival, which celebrates the turn of seasons from the rather snowy winter – to the long-awaited spring ‘bud break’. Unique to this competition is the focus on informing consumers of the Best Varietals including Best Syrah, Best Chardonnay and over 20 other different wine varietal categories to help consumers choose their wines for the peak summer season.The Best of Varietal Wine Awards are always exciting” said Luke Whittall, Judging Chair of the Okanagan Wine Festivals, “It’s the first competition of the year and is the first chance to get a real sense of the most recent vintage. They are a great way to kick off the new season.“If you’re a fan of British Columbia wines, then you really must pay attention to the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society Best of Varietal Competition. It is a truly excellent way to discover which of the province’s wines are standing out from the crowd” expressed Shelley Boettcher, national weekend wine columnist for CBC Radio and publisher of, “if you’re a winemaker or winery owner in British Columbia, the awards are a great way to get your wines in front of some of the most dedicated restaurant sommeliers and wine critics in Western CanadaBoettcher added.This year’s judging will be on April 21st, at the Penticton Lakeside Resort, and will have the following acclaimed wine professionals:1.    Dennis Dwernychuk – BC Liquor Stores, Kelowna2.    Chef Mark Filatow – Waterfront Wines, Kelowna3.    Martin Lewis – Bad Tattoo Brewing, Penticton4.    Audrey Surrao – RauDZ Regional Table, Kelowna5.    Matt Wentzell – Experience Wine Tours, Kelowna6.    Jeannette Montgomery – Wine Writer, Penticton7.    Julianna Hayes – BC Vine Living, Kelowna8.    Shanyn Ward – Cask & Barrel, West Kelowna9.    John Schreiner – Author & Wine Critic, Vancouver10. Chef Grant de Mountreuil – The Savoy, Nelson11. Jason Guyitt – Delta Grand Okanagan, Kelowna12. Shelley Boettcher – Wine Writer and Radio Columnist, Calgary13. Blaine Oaten – Watermark Beach Resort, Osoyoos14. Samantha Rahn – Araxi, Whistler15. Troy Townsin – CBC Radio, Victoria16. Erika Steffanson – Okanagan College, KelownaWith the growing diversity of the Okanagan wine industry, the competition has expanded significantly each year – with over 560 wines entered in 2016, the expectation is that another record with be set as a result of the exceptional vintage in 2016. The British Columbia Best of Varietal Competition is open to all British Columbia wineries that use 100% BC grown fruit. A unique aspect to this particular judging competition is that the judging is done by a variety of industry professionals – ranging from sommeliers, restauranteurs and select media, from across Western Canada. This diversified mix of experienced professionals must find the true Best of Varietals, in order to award gold and silver medals to the winning wines.The truth is in the glass, and the British Columbia Best of Varietal Award winning wines will be announced on May 4th at the Best of Varietal Awards Reception and Tasting, in Penticton at the Penticton Trade and Convention Center, from 7:00-9:30 pm. Guests are welcomed to celebrate British Columbia’s best, and taste the award winning wines, while mixing and mingling amongst local winemakers and vintners. There are limited tickets available, for $55.00 at, so early booking is recommended. This is a Get Home Safe Event sponsored by Re-Max Kelowna.About The Okanagan Wine Festivals SocietyThe Okanagan Wine Festivals Society is responsible for the development of the wine tourism sector in the interior of British Columbia. It is well known for producing four seasonally inspired Okanagan Wine Festivals annually in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Its Winter Okanagan Wine Festival is run in partnership with Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops. It is also responsible for Signature Wine Events including Cropped by Valley First, the WestJet Wine Tastings and others. It also produces and runs the British Columbia Best of Varietal Wine Competition and the Province’s most prestigious and oldest wine competition – the British Columbia Wine Awards. For more information visit

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