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Our Team

Okanagan Wine Festival Logo

Have comments or questions? We would love to hear from you!

Okanagan Wine Festivals Society
1527 Ellis Street
Kelowna, British Columbia
Canada, V1Y 2A7

Phone: (250) 861-6654
Fax: (250) 861-3942
[email protected]

OUR OKANAGAN WINE FESTIVALS SOCIETY TEAM

Blair Baldwin, General Manager
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What drew you to the wine industry?  Growing up in Montreal, we had wines – always import and Canadian - on the table so when I actually became legal, I already loved wine. Not that I ever went to a bar underage of course. While I have always viewed wine as food, my dad had a great influence. He believed in the Canadian wine industry long before its time. So when Allen Tozer asked me to assist to develop a vision and business model to promote wines through festivals and events, it was too good to resist. Of course, I didn’t know it was pro bono at the time.

What is your favorite event that we produce and why?  Drinking wine outdoors is a Canadian tradition (ever go camping?) So Mile High Wine at Silver Star is a truly authentic British Columbia outdoors party. Being at Mile High in August with wine, the scenery and people is something I recommend on anyone’s bucket list.

It's Friday night and you're ready for a glass of wine, what would you pour yourself?  I would not be the designated driver, vraiment! Anything 100% British Columbian in an 8 ounce pour will do. 

If you could be any grape varietal which would you be?  Peter the Pinotage. It has a ring to it.

Allen Tozer, Controller and Finance
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What drew you to the wine industry?  My grandfather was the first president of Calona Wines and I was in the hotel business. The OWFS needed to take a new direction in order to continue, so a sense of curiosity about the industry, a requirement of my career and the love of a good challenge!

 What is your favorite event that we produce and why?  I like the atmosphere at Sun Peaks Resort of the Winter Okanagan Wine Festival and the feeling of harvest time around the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival; so events in both those times are my favourite.

It's Friday night and you're ready for a glass of wine, what would you pour yourself?  I would be the designated driver if we were out…social responsibility is important to me. 

If you could be any grape varietal which would you be?  I would be a blend…a Red Meritage

Patricia Husk, Special Projects
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What drew you to the wine industry? Certainly the opportunity to be involved with such an evolving and exciting industry with growing success in the Okanagan and British Columbia as a whole was a factor for me.

What is your favorite event we produce and why? That's tough!  But I still have to say that the Blind Wine & Cheese for me is a favorite. I thoroughly enjoy the interaction of this event and the necessity for our customer to be involved in making informed decisions and not just an event that is about how much wine I can drink tonight!

It's Friday night and you're ready for a glass of wine, what would you pour yourself? I just recently enjoyed a bottle of the 2011 Gehringer Brothers Dry Rock Merlot and loved it!

If you could be any grape varietal which would you be? Gewurztraminer, always a favorite of mine :)

 

Tom Whittaker, Operations Director
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What drew you to the wine industry? The money! Ok, it is a great level playing field where there is always something new to learn.

What is your favorite event that we produce and why? The Blind Wine and Cheese presented by Valley First.  Did I mention level playing field?

It's Friday night and you're ready for a glass of wine, what would you pour yourself? Depends, cold winter day something robust like a Meritage, quiet mid-afternoon Pinot Noir probably from Cedar Creek, hot summer Blue Mountain Pinot Blanc, or just before dinner Quail's Gate Chard.

If you could be any grape varietal which would you be? Gewertestnimer because no one likes to try to pronouce or speel it, chuckle.

Marjorie King, Judging Competitions
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What drew you to the wine industry? Through my work in sensory research at the Pacific Agri- Food Research Center, I facilitated the VQA Sensory Program and Wine Festival judging events.  I married a grape grower and so learned more about that part of the business.   I stay involved because the industry is exciting, ever changing, and full of interesting dynamic people.

What is your favorite event that we produce and why? My favorite event is the Best of Varietal and British Columbia Wine Awards.  I like to watch the faces of the medal winners.

It’s Friday night and you’re ready for a glass of wine, what would you pour yourself? My Friday night wine would be a good Pinot Noir (my favorite was Peller Reserve) or a red blend with lots of rich dark red fruit produced from fully ripe grapes.

If you could be any grape varietal which would you be? I think I would be Merlot.  It is one of the easier varieties to grow, adaptable to many different viticulture sites, and when grown well produces a very drinkable fruit forward wine.   I like the fact that it is not trendy, sneaks under the radar a little, and delivers good value without a big ego.

Katia Plotnikoff, Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator
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What drew you to the wine industry? As a kid I grew up on an orchard in the Kootenays' so I have always valued the hard work it takes to get food from farm to table. I love wine, so when I moved to the beautiful Okanagan Valley I knew the wine industry was where I needed to be. The stars aligned and here I am - excited to share my passion of the Okanagan wine industry with people from all over the world.

What is your favorite event that we produce and why? Anyone who knows me will tell you - I love cheese. So without a doubt my favorite event has to be the Blind Wine & Cheese Social. I also love the fact that this event is so playful, it evens out the playing field from beginner to oenophile so it's fun for everyone.

It's Friday night and you're ready for a glass of wine, what would you pour yourself? Anything red! I am a big red wine fan, although I haven't been known to pass up any good glass of wine. 

If you could be any grape varietal which would you be? I would be Pinot Noir. It is fresh, elegant, and complex, like me. I am always up for the challenge.

 

Richelle Ferguson, Administrator and Online Manager
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What drew you to the wine industry? I grew up in Kelowna and have always been surrounded by passionate winemakers and even better wines. As a recently graduated business student, I can't think of another industry in the Okanagan that I would want to start my career in.

What is your favorite event that we produce and why? My favourite event has to be the Comforts of Grilled Cheese & Wine. I love the events in partnership with the Dairy Farmers of Canada. It is always an incredible atmosphere with delicious cheeses and pairings.

It's Friday night and you're ready for a glass of wine, what would you pour yourself? Maybe I am not quite sweet enough because I am always turning to sweeter whites! 

If you could be any grape varietal which would you be? Moscato- because I am crisp, bright, and stand out. And, like Moscato, I do well in the heat!

 

Spring Celebrations to Kick-off the Season, 23rd Annual Spring Okanagan Wine Festival
March 30 2017
Spring Celebrations to Kick-off the Season, 23rd Annual Spring Okanagan Wine Festival

KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA – March 30, 2017: Grey skies can’t keep the excitement away! The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society is thrilled...


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Announcing the 2017 British Columbia Best of Varietal Competition & Awards
March 7 2017
Announcing the 2017 British Columbia Best of Varietal Competition & Awards

March 7, 2017 - The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society is delighted to announce the 23rd British Columbia Best of Varietal Wine Competition presented...


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Okanagan Wine Festivals Society reels in a new partnership
January 26 2017
Okanagan Wine Festivals Society reels in a new partnership

Kelowna, Canada - January 26, 2017 The cast has been thrown and the catch is in, The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society (OWFS) is proud to announce...


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Okanagan Wine Festival Society Announces New 2017 Board of Directors
December 5 2016
Okanagan Wine Festival Society Announces New 2017 Board of Directors

NOVEMBER 28, 2016: TheOkanagan Wine Festivals Societyis pleased to announce its new board of directors for the coming year. Newly appointed at the...


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Are you a wine enthusiast? Do you love going to events to enjoy wine, food and friends? If so, please signup for our quarterly newsletter and be the first to know when our festivals' tickets go on sale!


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Meet our Members

The Okanagan Wine Festival Society is made up of a number of Okanagan wineries and tourism related businesses. Every member is recognized as an outstanding service or product supplier in their related industry.


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British Columbia Wine Awards

British Columbia's oldest and most prestigious wine judging competition that recognizes excellence in winemaking for all British Columbia wineries.


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