YEAR IN REVIEW: Region's reputation for food and wine continued to grow in 2016 - InfoNews

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YEAR IN REVIEW: Region's reputation for food and wine continued to grow in 2016

FILE PHOTO - Nicole Rich, with Khun Khun Farm in Vernon, delights patrons at the Vernon Farmers' Market with locally picked strawberries.Crops in the Thompson and Okanagan regions, for the most part, were weeks ahead of schedule this year, largely due to a warm, early spring.
Image Credit: Photo by Charlotte Helston
December 26, 2016 - 4:30 PM

When it comes to wine and food, 2016 was a very good year for the Thompson and Okanagan regions.

The awarding of VQA licenses to grocery stores was expected to provide a big local boost to the region’s wine sales, following a number of licensing debates by city councils, particularly in Kamloops and Penticton.

The announcement of Kamloops’s Sahali Save-On-Foods grocery stores' acquisition of a VQA license was welcome news to the wine industry in Kamloops as representatives said they looked forward to supplying the store’s 70,000 weekly customers with locally-produced wines.

Local wines gained more national attention in June when 12 wines were chosen to represent the best the province has to offer by making the Lieutenant Governor’s top wines list. The 12 wines were all produced by Okanagan wineries.

LONG GROWING SEASON EVEN LONGER

Growers up and down the valley took advantage of a long growing season following a warm, early spring that saw most crops harvested weeks before normal.

In the South Okanagan, the strawberry crop was gobbled up as fast as it could be produced, while producers in the North Okanagan called the spring of 2016 “the earliest season in recent memory,” with some crops three to four weeks ahead.

A return to rain and cloudier conditions in June was perfect for cherry growers; they escaped rain followed by sun and warm temperatures which often results in the berry splitting.

Craft beer continued to make inroads in Kamloops, as the B.C. Brewing Company began delivering beer in the Kamloops area in late November.

LOCAL BREWERIES, LOCAL BEER

B.C. Brewing announced plans to become one of the biggest craft brewers in the city, with the goal of producing 50 hectolitres annually. The craft brewer joins Kamloops existing ranks of craft brewers, which includes Red Collar Brewing, Noble Pig Brewhouse and Iron Road Brewery.

The debate over Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) made headlines earlier in the year when the B.C. Fruit Growers Association, at it’s annual meeting in late January,  asked the government to de-register the genetically modified Arctic Apple, pending further study of the fruit.

In February, former Osoyoos organic farm inspector Mischa Popoff headed a group intent on growing growing the world’s first certified organic GMO crop, calling the resistance to GMOs, “shameful.”

The sophistication and excellence of the region’s restaurants was highlighted In November, as Okanagan Chefs Mark Filatow and Rob Walker competed in the provincial Gold Plates competition.

Filatow, with 20 years’ experience, is Executive Chef & Sommelier at the Waterfront Restaurant and Wine Bar, while Walker is Executive chef at Big White Ski Resort, having graduated from Okanagan Culinary Arts program prior to spending most of his career in the valley.


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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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