We want to recognize and celebrate some of the award wins and highlight notable news from our local tourism industry that occurred over the past few months.
WineAlign 2021 National Wine Awards of Canada
The 20th National Wine Awards of Canada, which included more than 2,000 entries from over 260 wineries, were announced over the past several weeks. The following wineries were included in the Top 25 Wineries in Canada List:
- #7: Quails' Gate Estate Winery
- #8: Mission Hill Family Estate
- #13: SpearHead Winery
- #18: 50th Parallel Estate Winery
- #19: Peak Cellars
- #20: CedarCreek Estate Winery
Quails Gate (#4), Mission Hill (#5), and SpearHead (#9) were also included in the Top 10 Wineries in BC list, while SpearHead was also listed as #4 on the Top 10 Small Wineries in Canada list.
To view the entire list of winners from each of the 21 varietal categories, visit the WineAlign website.
2021 British Columbia Lieutenant Governor's Wine Awards
This year's awards, which were announced in early October, had more BC wineries than ever before, with 812 entries submitted.
Of these entries, Kelowna's Tantalus Vineyards took home the top honours, winning 2021 Wine of the Year for its 2018 Old Vine Riesling, along with a Platinum award for its 2018 Chardonnay.
Fourteen highly-respected judges from across North America gathered from September 8-10 at Eldorado Resort to award winners in 28 categories. Other Kelowna wineries that took home awards in the Platinum, Gold, and Silver categories (listed alphabetically) were:
- 50th Parallel Estate Winery - 4 Gold, 2 Silver
- Arrowleaf Cellars - 1 Platinum, 1 Gold, 4 Silver
- CedarCreek Estate Winery - 1 Platinum, 5 Gold, 2 Silver
- Ex Nihilo Vineyards - 1 Gold, 3 Silver
- Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards - 1 Silver
- Frind Estate Winery - 1 Gold, 4 Silver
- Gray Monk Estate Winery - 1 Gold, 2 Silver
- Indigenous World Winery - 1 Silver
- Intrigue Wines - 2 Silver
- Meadow Vista Honey Wines - 1 Gold, 1 Silver
- Mission Hill Family Estate - 2 Platinum, 5 Gold, 7 Silver
- Mt. Boucherie Winery - 2 Platinum, 1 Silver
- Peak Cellars - 1 Gold, 3 Silver
- Peller Estates Winery Okanagan - 1 Silver
- Sandhill Winery - 5 Silver
- SpearHead Winery - 3 Platinum, 1 Gold, 2 Silver
- Sperling Vineyards - 1 Silver
- St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery - 1 Gold
- The View Winery - 3 Silver
- Volcanic Hills Estate Winery - 1 Silver
- Wayne Gretzky Estates Okanagan - 1 Gold
Sip Magazine 2021 Best of the Northwest
This fall, Sip Magazine announced the winners in its Best of the Northwest awards, which included several winners from in and around Kelowna:
- Forbidden Spirits Distilling was awarded Double Gold in the Vodka category for its Rebel Vodka.
- Upside Cider took home four awards, including Platinum in the Heritage category for its Winter Banana cider.
- Gray Monk Estate Winery won three awards in total, including Platinum in the Unoaked Chardonnay and Proprietary Red Blend categories for its 2020 Unwooded Chardonnay and 2019 Monk's Blend respectively.
- Peller Estates Okanagan won Gold in the Proprietary Red Blend category for its 2019 Family Reserve Winemaker's Red while Sandhill Winery won Silver in the Rosé Blend category for its 2020 Rosé Terroir Driven Wine.
Muscat Du Monde
The 21st Annual Muscats Du Monde international wine competition took place in early September, with 182 wines from 19 countries tasted by 55 judges from around the world. Kelowna's Summerhill Pyramid Winery's 2020 Estate Grown Biodynamic Muscat was awarded Gold and also included in the Top 10 Best Muscats du Monde for 2021.
Kelowna Chamber 2021 Top 40 Over 40
The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce recently held a community celebration to honour this year's recipients in its Top 40 Over 40 program. Tourism Kelowna's President & CEO, Lisanne Ballantyne, as well as Tourism Kelowna Board Members, Kelly Watt, Regional Director for Sandman Hotel Group, and Nataley Nagy, Executive Director of the Kelowna Art Gallery, were among the 2021 list. A video of the community celebration can be found on the Chamber's YouTube channel, while profiles on each of the honourees can be found on the Okanagan Edge website.
- Big White Ski Resort was recently voted second-best ski resort in Canada, and placed in the 12th position on the Best Ski Resorts in the U.S. and Canada list, in Condé Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards 2021.
- The Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC) won two International Economic Development Council (IEDC) awards—Gold in the Magazine and Newsletter category and Silver in the Special Purpose Website category—for the OKGo marketing campaign, which was produced by local creative firm, CREW Food & Beverage Marketing Partners, and launched through a partnership between the COEDC, Accelerate Okanagan, and Tourism Kelowna.
- On September 28, Orchard Park Shopping Centre, which is the largest shopping centre in Interior BC with more than 160 retailers, celebrated its 50th anniversary.
- In early October, RauDZ Regional Table hosted a sold-out, multi-course dinner to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The well-known restaurant, which was originally named Fresco Restaurant & Lounge, was the first opened by award-winning Chef Rod Butters and restaurateur, Audrey Surrao.
- At the end of October, Kelowna Pride celebrated its 25th year, in person, with this year's theme, "25 Years of the Pride Movement—The Work is Not Done," which was a nod to Kelowna Pride’s beginnings.
- Kelowna International Airport recently announced that it will regain its international flight status as of November 30.
- On November 6, the Kelowna Downtown Library, a branch of the Okanagan Regional Library, celebrated its 25th Anniversary. The library welcomes all members of the community to access its free programming and services. It also offers cost-effective room rentals for meetings of 50 people or less.
- The Vibrant Vine Winery and Don-o-Ray Farm Adventure both made the Top 10 in Tripadvisor's Things to do in British Columbia; the list ranks the highest-rated attractions on the platform based on traveller reviews.
- Leopold's Tavern, which first started in Saskatchewan, has taken over the Fernando's Pub space in downtown Kelowna; the new establishment is set to open in early 2022.
Recently Opened Tourism-Related Businesses
- TAMM Mexican Restaurant, which also has a Latin market, opened its 80-seat space on Harvey Avenue this summer.
- True Art Kelowna opened during the summer, offering a variety of products from local artisans.
- Hooligans Ales & Eats, self-described as a "fun and funky eatery," is set to open next week along Bernard Avenue in downtown Kelowna.
Join us in congratulating and recognizing all those who achieving great things and delivering exceptional experiences to visitors!
Have an award win, achievement, or notable news to share? Email us all the details so we can include the information in our next roundup.