By BRANDON LITTLE
Welcome to The Battle of the Okanagan …
A fun and unique new competition that compares wines from all over the Okanagan Valley, from Lake Country to Osoyoos. The wines were selected because we’ve had them and liked them, or heard good things and always wanted to try them. Invitations went to 65 wineries, and 32 are participating. A fantastic turnout for our first event!
I’d like to extend a massive thank you to all the wineries who accepted our invitation, because this is going to be a lot of fun! We hope they get the exposure they deserve, AND that we can do it again next year.
Here’s the gist. We created seven different categories: Pinot Gris, Riesling, Viognier, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Bordeaux Blends. Each category will contain five to nine wines, and those wines will be tasted against each other … blind. No, not with a blindfold. They’ll be covered using the ol’ trusty brown paper bag trick. Why? Well, from my experience, people can easily be influenced by price, reputation, and whether they’ve had a wine before (and liked or disliked it).
By using a brown paper bag and hiding the label, tasters become more objective. It becomes even more interesting when you don’t know the wines before tasting (which the guest judges will not). The competition is supposed to be fun and not overly complicated. Wines will be scored in three categories: Aroma, Taste, and Finish (5 points each for a max total of 15). There will be one overall winner in each category, but we’ll be taking notes along the way, and each wine will get their own Coles Notes. We’ll also be traveling all over the valley, because we’re not only promoting the wines, but also the regions the wines came from, so we expect to have some pretty good photo-ops.
The judges will be Brandon and a friend, who we’ll call Wade. Wade comes from the wine industry. He has his WSET 3 certification and has been in the industry for six years. He’s worked for a number of different Okanagan wineries, including Mission Hill, Cedar Creek, and Summerhill, so he knows his stuff. We’re also including a guest judge for each category, someone outside the industry with no certifications. Basically, someone we like to call our “average Joe or Josephine”. For the most part they’ll be a friend or family member, because who else would give us their brutally honest opinion about our choices??
The event will begin in July and results will published every two-to-three weeks until all the categories have been completed. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram accounts, because that’s where we’ll be promoting the event, releasing key dates, and sharing a few teaser photos.