New business

The new Great Estates Okanagan Wine Experience Centre at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

The Great Estates Okanagan Wine Experience Centre is now open for business.

Set on Lakeshore Drive in the new wing of the Penticton Lakeside Resort, the centre, which serves as a sort of satellite tasting room for a group of South Okanagan wineries, celebrated its grand opening last week.

A preview event saw wine flowing and chefs preparing appetizers throughout the centre, which boasts three tasting rooms and the option of hosting private events.

Great Estate Wineries include Black Sage Vineyard, Inniskillin, Nk’Mip Cellars, Jackson-Triggs, Sunrock Vineyards, Dark Horse, Steller’s Jay, See Ya Later Ranch, and Sumac Ridge.

Josie Tyabji, senior director of the Great Estates Okanagan, was present at the celebrations and spoke on her excitement for the new hub in Penticton.

“The wine experience centre (is) really a part of the thought process of evolution, (of how) do we get people to really understand what the South Okanagan has to offer in terms of a region,” Tyabji said.

Tyabji has 34 years of experience in the industry, having started with a family winery in Oliver that is now where Dark Horse sits after being acquired by Inniskillin in 1996.

Jim Wickinson, the assistant manager of Jackson-Triggs winery, was at the event Friday offering tastings. He believes the centre will help “centralize” the wineries to the south of Penticton.

“What we can do here is we can bring five wineries (to one place),” he said.

When asked whether or not he believes having accessibility to wineries and purchases in one convenient location in Penticton will discourage tourism to the physical winery, Wickinson disagreed, stating that he believes it will encourage quite the opposite and it will see a flow of tourism to the southern region.

“Almost everything we produce is here … so you really get the feel for what we do. I really think this is great,” he added.

The centre is open for daily tastings, wine purchases, as well as educational seminars throughout the year.

The tastings bar will change each day and educational seminars will cover a variety of topics ranging, including the history of the South Okanagan and we will even bring in guest educators.

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