Okanagan Wine Festival Society Announces New 2016 Board of Directors
Society Continues Strong Industry Participation For Upcoming 36th Year
KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA – DECEMBER 2, 2015: The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society is pleased to announce its new board of directors for the coming year. Newly appointed at the Society’s annual general meeting are: Luke Whittall with Clos du Soleil, Annika Betts from Monte Creek Ranch Winery, and U. Andy Gebert Co-Owner of St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery. The board represents a valley wide cross-section of the Okanagan’s wine, hospitality and tourism fields.
The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society operates and markets three 10 day annual Wine Festivals in Winter, Spring and Fall and a Signature Events Series year round with the goal to increase sales for wineries and tourism partners and to generate a lasting wine experience for both tourism and retail.
“I am happy to support this great organization, that has contributed so much to the success of the B.C. Wine industry,” said Andy Gebert, co-proprietor of St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery. “I hope to advise and support the Society’s varied efforts in marketing, events, sponsorship, and industry collaboration to further advance the B.C. wine tourism sector.”
Returning Society board members include: Chair Person Bruce Hibbard with Hester Creek Winery, Marketing Chair Christa-Lee McWatters Bond with Time Estate Winery, Secretary Sally Sharpe with Constellation Brands and Great Estates of the Okanagan, Signature Events Co-Chair Carolyn Nixon with Nixon Hospitality Group, Membership Chair Roger Wong with Gray Monk Estate Winery and Intrigue Wines, Judging Chair Julian Scholefield with Okanagan Crush Pad, Finance Chair Jamie Moore with Hooded Merganser, Signature Events Co-Chair Patti Ogden-Grady with Okanagan Wine Country Tours, and Jonathan Rouse, Associate Dean of Wine, Food and Tourism with Okanagan College.
Originally founded in 1980 by a small group of wineries and tourism operators, the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society’s goal was to develop a tourism event around the young wineries in existence at the time. The annual fall event was initially focused on increasing awareness of the wine industry in the Okanagan during the height of grape harvest and to pair Okanagan wines with food at a variety of culinary events during the festival. The Fall Okanagan Wine Festival's success saw an expansion of the Society’s operations in 1994 to develop seasonally inspired wine festivals in the non-traditional shoulder and off peak periods that encourage winery visits, and for visitors to stay in Okanagan hotels, and experience local food. It is recognized as a leading marketing and sales agency that is focused on the development of the British Columbia Wine Tourism industry and in 2015 was awarded Best Membership organization in the annual KelownaNow.com awards.
Indicative of the British Columbian wine industry’s remarkable progression since 1980, the Okanagan Valley was voted last year the second best wine region in the world to visit by the widest newspaper in circulation in America, USA Today; named the number one wine destination in the world to visit by Huffington Post Travel in 2014; and more recently was listed in the top 10 destinations for 2015 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Similarly, the Society’s iconic Fall Okanagan Wine Festival is regularly voted the top interior festival by BC Living Magazine, best BC wine festival by the Georgia Straight, and has been ranked among the top 100 events in North America by the influential American Bus Association for well over a decade.
Suggested Tweet: New @OKWineFests Board of Directors Announced. Continued strong #BCWine, hospitality & tourism industry support http://ow.ly/V7g8X
About The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society
The 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 two annual Okanagan Wine Festivals in spring to celebrate the bud break and in fall to celebrate the grape harvest. Its Winter Okanagan Wine Festival is run in partnership with Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops. It is also responsible for Signature Wine Events including Mile High Wine & Music at Silver Star and two annual wine judging competitions including the British Columbia Wine Awards. www.thewinefestivals.com
For media inquiries, please contact:
Lori Pike-Raffan | Public Relations Director | Okanagan Wine Festivals Society | [email protected] |604.808.6655
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