Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
10.04.2013  
 

Wine Sensory Lab Receives Funding

Facility at Okanagan College intended for professional tasting education

 
by Peter Mitham
 
 
Okanagan College sensory tasting lab
 
Keith Bevington, Sara Harker, Jonathan Rouse, Jim Hamilton, Harry McWatters and Alf Kempf (from left) toast the B.C. Wine Information Society’s $300,000 donation to help build a new sensory tasting lab at Okanagan College. Photo by Christine Ulmer/Okanagan College
Penticton, B.C.—A new sensory tasting lab at Okanagan College is expected to bolster research in British Columbia’s premier wine region and offer wine industry workers opportunities to hone their tasting skills.

This week the B.C. Wine Information Society donated $300,000 to back the new 15,000-square-foot facility, set to open in January 2014. The amount is the single-largest donation to the college’s wine-studies program and follows a $150,000 donation the society made to the college in 2010.

The gift is the result of proceeds from sales at the Penticton-based BC VQA Wine Information Centre, which the society operates. The site provides information about the industry and sells wine, which in turn generates cash for donations such as the new lab. This latest gift will cover approximately two-thirds of the cost of the new lab, priced at $480,000.

Sensory training invaluable for B.C. wine industry
Winemaker Sara Harker of Cawston, B.C.’s Rustic Roots Winery hopes to send her six staff members to the lab for training. “Right now there isn’t a lot of training out there on a sensory analysis perspective that teaches people where the smells and flavors come from and how to fix them,” she said. “From a wine industry perspective it’s very important, because the more that winemakers and sommeliers and servers and wine shop staff know about sensory analysis, the better they can represent the B.C. wine industry to its full potential.”

Harker, who graduated from Okanagan College with an enology certificate in 2008, said her own training in sensory analysis has been invaluable.

While she didn’t have access to the new lab, Harker did participate in a one-day sensory workshop with Dr. Margaret Cliff of the sensory evaluation lab at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in Summerland, B.C. Harker was also picked to attend a three-day workshop for the B.C. VQA wine assessors, who identify faults in grape wines that exclude them from bearing the B.C. VQA mark (reserved for fault-free wines made entirely from B.C. grapes).

Harker has participated in the panel since 2007, and said the experience has been good for her, even though Rustic Roots focuses on fruit wines.

“It’s made me a better winemaker,” she said. “As you train your palate, your sensory threshold gets lower, and so you can detect things before other people. The lower the thresholds are for winemakers, the better the wine that will come out of the industry.”

Harker’s plans for her staff are in line with the vision Jonathan Rouse (Okanagan College’s director of wine, food and tourism) has for the new facility.

With the industry continuing to rack up accolades at home and abroad—this week, the Decanter World Wine Awards gave its top trophy to Mission Hill Family Estate’s 2011 Martin’s Lane Pinot Noir—Rouse said it’s important to continue to invest in education and training facilities.

“We want to make sure we have the right kind of facilities, the right kind of labs and the right kinds of opportunities for that next generation to acquire the skills (and) the knowledge to take this industry to grow it and make it strong, and this lab is part of that equation,” he said. “This now becomes part of that beacon in terms of attracting students and industry to the college to engage in wine studies.”

Full-time enrolment in Okanagan College’s wine program typically ranges between 18 and 22 students.

Lab will also feature a kitchen
The new lab includes a kitchen for analytical food and wine pairings. The kitchen also will facilitate industry training events in the space, unlike similar sensory facilities at the federal research station in Summerland or Brock University in St. Catharines Ontario.

Harker, whose family also operates a farm that supplies 30 restaurants in the Okanagan with produce, pointed out that the kitchen would help not just wineries but the region’s entire agri-food industry.

“It’s important to make that connection between wine and food, and how each can benefit each other,” she said. This “gives people the opportunity to see the interaction between food and wine.”

Elsewhere in the Northwest, work is progressing on the Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center in Prosser, Wash. The project is on track for completion later this year.

Meanwhile, in Richland, Wash., groundbreaking occurred last week on a $23 million Wine Science Center at Washington State University’s Tri-Cities campus. That project is set to complete in 2015.

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
June 2014 $562 million
5%
$7,549 million
6%
June 2013 $535 million $7,094 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
June 2014 $87 million
17%
$1,669 million
11%
June 2013 $74 million $1,510 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
June 2014 300
34%
220
21%
June 2013 224 182
     
 
MORE » Released on 07.15.2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wines & Vines
Packaging Conference
 
Learn More »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2014
 
Download full report »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • July 30
     
    Sweet and Fortified Wine Association Meeting
     
  • July 30 - August 1
     
    Indy International Wine Competition
     
  • August 1-3
     
    West of West Festival
     
  • August 2
     
    Urban Wine Xperience
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Wineries May Lose Internet Domain Dispute »
 
All these arguments could be levied by any industry associated with any gTLD, new or...
Reader: Doug Barnett
 
Article: Wineries May Lose Internet Domain Dispute »
 
Do brands get hijacked now? Even though .wine does not yet exist, are there false...
Reader: Larry Chandler
 
Article: Resistant Weeds Threaten Vineyards »
 
Roundup is not benign. It does not always break down in a day or two...
Reader: Robert Rex
 
Article: Resistant Weeds Threaten Vineyards »
 
Mitigating water use in the vineyard in the first place is also an applicable tactic....
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Resistant Weeds Threaten Vineyards »
 
Having managed vineyards that have used both approaches, I would say that a diverse approach...
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2014 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Tasting Room Sales Ass...
 Healdsburg, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Wine Technician, Stags...
 Napa, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Sales Representative -...
 San Francisco, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Packaging Coordinator ...
 Napa, CA
General Administration and
 Banshee Wines Tasting ...
 Healdsburg, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Estate House Host (Sea...
 St. Helena, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Marketing Coordinator
 Santa Rosa, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Sales Representative -...
 South Bay, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Sales Representative -...
 Westside, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Sales / Administrative...
 Napa, CA
General Administration and
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2014 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.