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BC’s Largest and Most Prestigious Wine Competition Coming to Kelowna

For Immediate Release

Okanagan Wine Festivals Society to host an A-list of wine judges

(KELOWNA, BC) August 12, 2020 – On September 23-25, the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society will once again hold the BC Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards at Manteo Resort in Kelowna.  As the oldest, largest and most prestigious wine judging competition in BC, this event provides the opportunity for all licensed BC wineries to have their best wines judged by a highly esteemed industry panel. Presented by Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, the competition recognizes a wide variety of wine styles and had well over 700 wines judged in 2019.

Unfortunately, the inability to host large events in 2020 due to Coronavirus has greatly affected the BC events industry.  However, due to the contained scope of a judging competition, the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society is full steam ahead with this event in order to support BC wineries by giving them the opportunity to get their wines in front of an elite panel of judges.

I am thrilled to announce this year’s judging panel”, said Okanagan Wine Festivals Society General Manager, Elan Morris. “Our impressive panel speaks to the veracity of this competition.  Everyone involved in the process is excited to see this year’s wine entries--- and of course, which wine will earn the distinction of Wine of the Year. We want to see every one of our incredible BC wineries have the opportunity to show off their wines.” 

The Wine Judges for 2020:

  • Alder Yarrow - USA’s Top Wine Blogger & Author from New York, NY

  • Véronique Rivest – 2nd place World’s Best Sommelier 2013 from Gatineau, QC  

  • Gurvinder Bhatia - Quench Magazine, Writer & Editor from Edmonton, AB

  • Rhys Pender, MW – Master of Wine & Winemaker from Okanagan Valley, BC

  • Brad Royale – Kitten Swish Wine, Sommelier & Wine Judge from Calgary, AB

  • Emily Walker - Naramata Inn, Sommelier & Wine Buyer from Okanagan Valley, BC

  • Michaela Morris - Decanter, International Wine Writer & Sommelier from Vancouver, BC          

  • DJ Kearney – Terminal City Club, Sommelier & Wine Educator from Vancouver, BC

  • Sid Cross – Chefs Table Society of BC Co-founder, International Wine Writer & Judge from Vancouver, BC

  • Sebastien Le Goff – Cactus Club Canada, 2008 Sommelier of the Year from Vancouver, BC

  • Iain Philip - Taste Magazine, Writer & Sommelier from Vancouver, BC

  • Matt Landry - Stable House Bistro, 2019 BC Sommelier of the Year from Vancouver, BC

  • Tim Pawsey – HiredBelly .com, Wine & Food Writer, Wine Judge from Vancouver, BC

  • Kurtis Kolt - Top Drop Canada Founder, Sommelier & Wine Writer from Vancouver, BC

  • Sally Campa – Vino Volo Regional Manager & Sommelier from Okanagan Valley, BC

  • Mark Filatow - Waterfront Restaurant & Wine Bar, Sommelier & Executive Chef from Kelowna, BC

  • Jason Yamasaki - Joey Restaurants, 2014 BC Sommelier of the Year from Vancouver, BC

In 2019, the award Wine of the Year went to Deep Roots Winery. "Having our Syrah named Wine of the Year in 2019 was an incredible honour. We were thrilled to be recognized among all of the great wine being made in BC. For a small family-run winery the award provided us with national exposure and introduced our wine to new customers across the country." Winemaker, Will Hardman said.
This competition is certainly a driving integral factor in the building of confidence for the thriving BC wine industry.  The global recognition it is now receiving has been the credibility of these important awards. I am so excited to be invited back with even more enthusiasm than ever to seek out new BC wine discoveries", said Sid Cross, veteran BC Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards judge.
BC Wine lovers will have to wait until after the competition for the official announcement of winners.
To view the winners from 2019 

BC wineries are encouraged to register their wines at  
Read more about the wine judges 


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 four seasonally inspired Okanagan Wine Festivals in Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. It is also responsible for Signature Wine Events including the Valley First Wine Tastings, and it produces and runs the top two annual wine competitions in BC: the British Columbia Best of Varietal Wine Competition, and the province’s most prestigious and oldest wine competition, the British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards. For more information visit,

Media Contact:
Donita Dyer
Marketing and Communications Manager
The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society

[email protected]
Phone: 250.861.6654 

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