Tim Pawsey, (a.k.a. The Hired Belly) writes and shoots at hiredbelly.com as well as for the North Shore News, WHERE Vancouver, Quench, BCLS Taste, Montecristo magazines and others. He’s an original judge for The BC Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Wine, has judged many years at the BC Wine Awards, and is a founding member of the British Columbia Hospitality Industry Foundation.
Rhys Pender is a Similkameen Valley based Master of Wine who writes, consults and judges about wine under Wine Plus+ and is the co-owner of Little Farm Winery.
Mark Shipway grew up on England’s south coast where his interest for wine arose at an early age on the regular family holidays to France. A wine enthusiast for many years, it was after living and traveling in New Zealand that he finally decided to convert this passion into a serious vocation.
Mark returned to his native home and to full-time study at the University of Brighton - the UK’s only school for viticulture and oenology. During this time, he cut his teeth in the retail trade, working part-time for a local specialist wine merchant St Martin Vintners where he was introduced to the fine wine trade.
After graduation, the opportunity to travel arose once more taking Mark to the winelands of South Africa’s Western Cape. Living in the picturesque town of Stellenbosch and working as a wine steward and cellar guide for various wine farms gave him a lasting love for South African wine and culture.
Mark’s wine education continued and he achieved the WSET Diploma with Distinction in 1999 and was awarded one of the very few industry scholarships available to Diploma graduates. As part of this award, Mark served internship in the wine buying department of leading supermarket Waitrose Ltd where he worked alongside some of the UK’s most respected Masters of Wine.
On completion of his internship Mark made a move to the country and into the head office of influential retailer Direct Wines. Here he continued to pursue the business side of wine, working as both a wine consultant and in the sales & marketing department. His belief in the positive benefits of a formal wine education saw him entering the field of wine instruction, teaching WSET courses to work colleagues and running Diploma tutorials in his spare time.
Mark moved to Canada in 2004 and for the last 12 years has worked as the program coordinator and instructor of both the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and French Wine Scholar programs at The Art Institute of Vancouver. He has been a regular contributor to both Vendor and The Publican magazines and a judge for both the International Wine and Spirit Competition and the Vancouver Magazine Wine Awards. He is member of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers and was recently passed the Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Sommelier exam, one step before the coveted Master Sommelier designation..
Alistair Veen's first job involved cooking at a restaurant in Langley at the tender age of 15. A few years later, he used his culinary skills to help pay his way through university. When he found academic life unsatisfying, he embarked on a six-year tour of duty through corporate kitchens. By the end of this time he had established that he loved cooking, but knew that he wanted more control over where he wielded his chef’s knife. To this end he ran his own restaurant, Karv, in Kitsilano. He also formalized his culinary training, earning the top spot in his Red Seal Chef class. In 2006 he opened Tap Restaurant, offering outstanding Pacific Northwest cuisine in an accessible South Surrey location.
Veen is not only the owner and Executive Chef at Tap, he also serves as the restaurant’s Sommelier. In 2015 his exceptional wine knowledge led to him being named Best Sommelier of BC by the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, BC Chapter. His rise to the top of the formidable local competition is all the more remarkable because Veen became interested in wine only about ten years ago. At that time he enrolled in an International Sommelier Guild course (ISG1) with his then-girlfriend, who is now his wife and the mother of his son and daughter. After completing ISG1 and 2, Veen transferred to the WSET program. He furthered his education by completing the first Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) course (earning the Champagne award along the way) and successfully challenging the certified exam the following day.
Veen has since earned distinction in the French Wine Scholar program and became one of the 5% of candidates to pass the Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced certification on his first try. He plans to write the Master Sommelier certification as soon as he is eligible and has hopes to challenge the CCC culinary program as well. In the meantime, however, he has plenty on his plate at Tap, including discovering exceptional wines from regions around the world and developing cuisine that pairs divinely with his cellar selections.
KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA – July 13, 2017: It’s that time again! While summer may have come late to the Valley, it packed a punch when...
SilverStar Mountain Resort Hosts Popular Okanagan Summer Wine & Music Festival VERNON & KELOWNA – May 25, 2017 – This summer...
MAY 4, 2017 - Penticton, British Columbia - The 2017 British Columbia Best of Varietal Wine Awards were announced tonight by the Okanagan Wine...
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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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.
British Columbia's oldest and most prestigious wine judging competition that recognizes excellence in winemaking for all British Columbia wineries.