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The 2014 workshop wouldn't exist without the support of the following partners.

We thank our main partner in the Okanagan Food & Wine Writers' Workshop, Tourism Kelowna.

Visit Tourism Kelowna's website. Follow @Tourism_Kelowna on Twitter. Like Tourism Kelowna on Facebook.


Guided, narrated and custom tours in the Okanagan.

Visit Distinctly Kelowna's Website. Follow @KelownaWineTour on Twitter. Like Distinctly Kelowna Tours on Facebook.


Conference rates coming soon.

Our 2014 host resort! Visit The Cove Lakeside Resort's Website. Follow @Covelakeside on Twitter. Like The Cove Lakeside Resort  on Facebook.

Visit BC Tree Fruit's Website. Follow @bctreefruits on Twitter. Like BC Tree Fruits on Facebook.


Visit Knifewear online. Follow @KelownaKnife @Knifenerd @KnifewearYOW and @KnifewearYEG on Twitter.

Our other event-based partners are recognized in our schedule notes.


Taste Canada announces Food Blog Award category for 2015 - Call for Submissions

From Press Release received February 27, 2015:

New Food Blog Writing Award

For the first time, excellence in food blog writing to be honoured by Taste CanadaThe Food Writing Awards

Toronto, February 24, 2015--Taste Canada–The Food Writing Awards (, presenting the highest honour for food writing in the countryhas announced a new award category celebrating the very best in writing for a food blog.
In partnership with Food Bloggers of Canada, which represents over 1,700 Canadian food bloggers from coast to coast, the new award, 2015 Food Blog Category: Best Post will honour the best independent food-related blog post written by a Canadian writer (or writers) (one in English and one in French). This adds to four existing book award categories: General Cookbooks, Single-Subject Cookbooks, Regional/Cultural Cookbooks, and Culinary Narratives (English and French). Taste Canada also presents an annual Hall of Fame Award, bestowed upon an individual who has made a significant contribution to Canada’s culinary literature.
“Since 1998, Taste Canada has been recognizing and celebrating superior culinary writing and publishing in Canada,” says Donna Dooher, Taste Canada’s National Chairchef, cookbook author, restaurateur and industry champion. “The new Food Blog Category recognizes that some of Canada’s best food writers are publishing brilliant material that celebrates food in wonderful and unique ways – using an online platform, instead of paper.”
Well-read blogs incorporate additional elements unique to the blogging platform, for example, how best to integrate writing for a digital medium with beautiful photography. The new award, the first of its kind in Canada, whose criteria were carefully constructed by Taste Canada and Food Bloggers of Canada, also acknowledges that food bloggers often wear many hats: writer, editor, publisher, recipe tester, photographer, social media manager, web designer and technical support.
“Canadian food bloggers are multi-talented in and out of the kitchen and they each bring their unique ability to share their stories about food with their readers,” says Ethan Adeland, co-founder and managing director, Food Bloggers of Canada. “Their blogs are written as a labour of love and outcome of Canada’s culinary and cultural diversity.”
Ethan adds, “Over the last few years, book publishers have been tapping into the rich talent pool of many of the best food bloggers and giving them book deals. The online and
printed worlds are overlapping, so the partnership with Taste Canada is an evolution of that.”
The Food Blog Category: Best Post may be general, or it may be focused on specific Canadian topics or regions, and/or target a very specific audience, such as an ethnic group (in terms of race, nationality, or religious heritage) in Canada or around the world. This category may also explore culinary history, politics, or social awareness.
More details on the submission process, eligibility and criteria are available at The submission deadline for blog entries is March 20, 2015. The shortlist will be announced in July 2015. 2015 winners will be announced at the Award Ceremony and Gala Reception in Toronto, with additional details to be announced soon.
About Taste Canada–The Food Writing Awards
Taste Canada—The Food Writing Awards is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1998 that recognizes and celebrates superior writing and publishing throughout Canada’s culinary world, both English and French. The Taste Canada Awards are the highest honour for food writing in the country. Presented in Toronto each fall, these awards are a unique cultural, social and gastronomic highlight. Taste Canada also hosts ‘Taste Canada Cooks the Books,’ a competition that invites culinary students from across the country to make a dish from a Canadian cookbook—with the author on stage. Their goal: to impress the panel of judges and create a dish worthy of earning them the title of Canada’s Best New Student Chef.Please visit for details.
About Food Bloggers of Canada
Food Bloggers of Canada (FBC) represents over 1,700 Canadian food bloggers from coast to coast to coast. FBC works to promote and showcase the incredible work by Canadian food bloggers in their own respective space while also providing resources to improve their blogs and social media influence. FBC also organizes and hosts Canada’s only National Food Blogger conference. FBC2015 will be in Montreal at Le Westin from Oct. 23-25, 2015.

Media Contact:
Saskia Brussaard, Crave Public Relations


Blog Your Way to Kelowna in 2015!

Celebrate food, drink and culinary travel in Canada and you could win airfare (from a major Canadian airport), accommodations and a spot at the 2015 Okanagan Food & Wine Writers Workshop!
We’re excited to announce a blog contest collaboration between Food Bloggers of Canada, Okanagan Food & Wine Writers’ Workshop and Tourism Kelowna. Prize includes travel for the winner to and from the Okanagan Food & Wine Writers Workshop 2015 (Sept 11-13, 2015), registration fees and hotel accommodation during the workshop! Airfare from a major Canadian airport is courtesy of Tourism Kelowna and the workshop pass & two nights accommodations are compliments of the Okanagan Food & Wine Writers’ Workshop.

Contest Theme: Canadian Tastemakers

Share your story of a local food or drink champion or favorite spot to grab a bite to eat or have a drink, whether in your neighbourhood or on a memorable trip somewhere in Canada.  We’re calling out to all FBC members to celebrate a culinary experience they’ve encountered in their own hometown or somewhere along the road. Blog posts should celebrate/discuss/educate the reader about one or more local food champions in the Canadian food community or a culinary product or products grown/made/harvested in Canada.

Kelowna, BC is one of the most beautiful cities in Canada with a wonderful culinary scene that focuses on farm to table eating. FBC members experienced everything Kelowna had to offer recently, we offer their stories as inspiration.


The jury will be composed of published authors, well-known food bloggers and professionals in the publishing industry.

Anita Stewart, Food Day Canada
Robert McCullough, Publisher of Appetite
Dianne Jacob, author Will Write for Food.
Jennifer Cockrall-King, Okanagan Food & Wine Writers’ Workshop
Ethan Adeland / Melissa Hartfiel, Food Bloggers of Canada

A note from the judges

Tell us a story about a tastemaker in your community or a tastemaker that you have encountered recently. While we’re interested in how you integrate beautiful photographs and recipes into your blog post entry, what we want is a well-told culinary travel story, in an authentic voice that addresses the question of why the subject – person or ingredient – is important in the Canadian culinary scene. Moreover, the winning blog post will take us along on this journey and put us right in the kitchen/bar/market/bakeshop with you. It will even inspire us to seek out the same tasty adventure. Make us laugh — or cry — and include your personal connection to this story.

Some of Canada’s best food writers, editors and cookbook publishers will be reading your writing.  Be funny, be authentic, be interesting, be yourself. Good luck.

Submission Criteria

A single-entry blog post, max 800 words. May include photos, recipe and video but it is not mandatory, nor will the recipe count towards the maximum word count. The blog post shall be original material, previously unpublished, and posted between Jan 1, 2014 and January 31, 2015 (11:59 pm). Only one entry per URL (blog). There is no cost to entry. All decisions by the judges are final. Submission links to be entered by emailing with subject heading “Blog Your Way to Kelowna in 2015!”

Contest Timelines

The contest and contest details will be launched during FBC2014.

Contest Closes, 11:59 pm (Pacific Time) January 31, 2015.

Long List will be announced March 1, 2015

Short List will be announced April 15, 2015

Winner will be announced May 1, 2015

About the Okanagan Food and Wine Writers’ Workshop

In 2015 from Sept. 11-13, the Okanagan Food & Wine Writers’ Workshop will be celebrating its 6th year. Imgine three days of eating, drinking, learning and networking with North America’s top food & wine writers and editors, and you get the idea. Held in beautiful Kelowna, British Columbia within the Okanagan Valley, it’s a weekend of professional development and gastronomic experiences within one of the most celebrated food and wine regions within North America. In 2015, it will e held at Hotel Eldorado and Manteo Resort.

The workshop is open to writers of all levels, and is designed to inform, inspire, and motivate writers as they move their careers forward through professional development workshops.

About Tourism Kelowna

Free your Spirit in Kelowna: Every inch a city, and yet every bit as scenic and abundant as wine country can be. Kelowna is the perfect balance for the travler in search of boutique experience. Beaches and fruit stands, wineries and fairways, hiking trails and “boulderfields”, and miles of singletrack encircle the city. Lakeside, even the main street ends at a beach.

Blog Your Way to Kelowna in 2015! is also supported by the Wines of British Columbia.



Thanks to all of our partners in food and wine writing.



Calling All Food Bloggers to Food Bloggers of Canada 2014, Oct 17-19, Vancouver, BC

#FBC2014Our friends over at Food Bloggers of Canada (@foodbloggersCA and on here on Facebook) have an amazing conference organized. And it kicks off on Friday!

We wish we could be there because our friends Julie Van Rosendaal of Dinner with Julie, Dianne Jacob author of of Will Write for Food and Michelle Peters-Jones of The Tiffin Box will be hanging out in the fabulous Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and schmoozing with chef Ned Bell. Sob.

(The only reason I'm not there, is that I'll be in Edmonton at LitFest: Edmonton's Nonfiction Festival, of which I'm the president of the board of directors and the festival's main groupie.)

There are still a few spots left. The program is bloody amazing. Take a peek and get food blogging. I'll be following the action on social media. The event hashtag is #FBC2014.




Press Release: Mary McDermott Joins Township 7 Vineyards & Winery As Winemaker:

For the full press release and Mary McDermott's bio click here.

NARAMATA BENCH, BC – AUGUST 25, 2014 – Township 7 Vineyards & Winery is delighted to announce Mary McDermott as the winery’s new winemaker.  Mary joins Township 7 from Trius Winery at Hillebrand and Thirty Bench Winery, which are Peller Estates premium Niagara wine brands.  Township 7 Vineyards & Winery has two locations in British Columbia, on the celebrated Naramata Bench and in picturesque south Langley.  The winery has a built a reputation for its small production wines that reflect the unique elegance and character of the Naramata Bench and boldness of the south Okanagan’s Black Sage Bench.
“We are just about quality wine and Mary has demonstrated her prowess in producing excellent wines from a variety of classic vinifera grapes in often very challenging growing conditions,” said Mike Raffan, general manager, Township 7 Vineyards & Winery.  “She’s a rising star with impeccable credentials and extensive expertise in premium wines.  She’ll be a great fit for ramping up our 7 Stars Sparkling Wine program.  Her relentless focus on continuous improvement will help steer us as we evolve in the coming months, particularly with her plans to enhance our Bordeaux reds program at a world-class level.”
Her winemaking finesse is backed by the accolades to prove it. Many of her wines have achieved national and international acclaim, including numerous gold medals.  Most recently the Chardonnays were honoured at the All Canadian Wine Awards 2014, Decanter World Wine Awards 2014, International Wine & Spirit Competition 2014, L.A. International Wine Competition 2014, and Chardonnay du Monde 2014.
“I’m thrilled to start working within a tight knit community and pursue my lifelong dream of crafting small production wines in the Okanagan Valley.  I feel like all the stars have aligned to bring me the opportunity to work on the prestigious Naramata Bench at Township 7,” said Mary McDermott, winemaker, Township 7 Vineyards & Winery.  “It’s exciting to fully leverage everything I’ve learned in my winemaking skillset over the years and combine that with the fresh and creative approach of the west coast.  I believe this can really make a positive impact at an up-and-coming winery like Township 7.”
Mary’s  first fully realized her passion for wine on Canada’s west coast as Sommelier at the popular Monk McQueen’s Fresh Seafood & Oyster Bar.  This was shortly followed by a return home to the Niagara region to expand her wine expertise with a Bachelor of Science in Oenology and Viticulture at Brock University’s prestigious winemaking program.  Obtaining her first taste of winemaking, she landed at Niagara-on-the-Lake’s celebrated Stratus Vineyards as cellarhand and then assistant cellarmaster at Cave Spring Cellars.  Soon thereafter in 2010, Mary joined Niagara’s premier winery family, Peller Estates premium wineries; Trius Winery at Hillebrand and Thirty Bench.  As winemaker, her responsibilities covered the gamut of skills from directing cellar staff, to monitoring vineyards, supervising the facility, to public relations, to her favourite roll of actually crafting fine wine.  One of her largest roles was in their sparkling wine program, where she was responsible for Canada’s most extensive production of premium sparkling wines, overseeing everything from managing grapes on the crush pad to the tirage and disgorging.
At Township 7, Mary’s vision for the winery entails boosting the sparkling wine production and expanding the small lot, fine wine program with additional single vineyard designate offerings, where she will be working closely with the viticulture team on the estate vineyards and with their long time growers on the Black Sage Bench, in Okanagan Falls, and in the Similkameen Valley.  In the cellar she will augment the premium oak barrel program with upgrades to large oak barrique fermenters for the 2014 harvest. With more improvements planned in the vineyard and winery on the horizon.
Founded in 2000, the winery has had two previous award-winning winemakers; Michael Bartier and Bradley Cooper.  Club SEVEN members, friends and guests are invited to meet our new winemaker.  Join Mary at Township 7’s Naramata Bench winery at several upcoming events including: the Anniversary Party on September 7 and “Be a Winemaker”: Meritage Barrel Blending Seminars Oct. 4 and 11th, or at the south Langley winery’s annual Grape Stomp on October 26.  More details are available at
We have a singular focus.  It’s just about quality wine and nothing else!  No trinkets, no shoes, no food, just wine. We believe premium winemaking starts in the vineyard. We carefully select specific sites throughout the south Okanagan for their unique characteristics.  Our fine wines reflect the special terroir of each vineyard and this is expressed in the bold flavours of the wine.  Handcrafted to cellar, we hope you enjoy our robust reds and aromatic whites with loved ones.


"Encounters with Iceland" at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, Kelowna, BC

"Encounters with Iceland" sculpture exhibit, Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, Kelowna, BC (image provided by Mission Hill Family Estates)

On Saturday, June 21, I was among the guests at Mission Hill's official opening of its new sculpture exhibit, "Encounters With Iceland." I hadn't been to Mission Hill in a while. Keeping up with all the new boutique wineries, distilleries, cideries, meaderies and eateries in the Okanagan Valley seems to be a losing battle, frankly, so I'm not prone to repeat visits to places I've already been several times over. But I'm grateful that I was on the guest-list.

Grateful? Yes, actually, which is funny because as I said, it's been a busy 2014 already. Launches! Openings! Special Events! And other Must-Attend happenings had me a little road-weary by the first day of summer. Pathetic, but true. And in true journalistic fashion, I was verging on becoming jaded, the writer's equivalent of being a snivelling whiner.

Mission Hill, however, knows how to create an occasion, and with the invite-only cachet -- a small gathering of journalists and Mission Hill Family Estate Wine Club members, plus a few other friends of the winery, I suspect -- plus it was a major international sculpture exhibition opening right here, in the valley. Furthermore, the sculptor of the 42 pieces, Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, would be in attendance from Reykavik, Iceland. Iceland seems to be punching well above its weight class drawing half of Western Canada to its geysers and Nordic-chic cultural coolness these days. Why would I not go?

"Place" sculpture in aluminum by Steinunn Thorarinsdottir at Mission Hill, Kelowna, BC (image provided by Mission Hill)As I walked through the keystone arch and into the loggia-framed courtyard, I was handed a handed a glass of the Terroir Collection 2013 Rosé. (More on this in a second.) Although I've seen it a million times, I stopped involuntarily and tipped back on my heels as I stared at the bell tower. Mission Hill's architecture never fails to impress me with its ambition and self-assurredness. It's the kind of winery that few Canadians would ever dare build, but Anthony von Mandl did. And it has been a significant part of why the Okanagan has reached the heights it has.

We were ushered into the Chagall Room, where proprietor Anthony von Mandl (wearing his Order of Canada pin) and Thórarinsdóttir (wearing her Order of the Falcon pin) gave us the background of the deal-making that went into the largest exhibit of Thórarinsdóttir's sculptures to date in North America, from just an initial meeting and conversation in summer of 2013, to having crates arriving at the winery less than a year later.

Mission Hill's Terroir Collection 2013 Rosé, against the Chagall tapestry, Mission Hill Winery, Kelowna, BCThórarinsdóttir, somewhat statuesque herself, was warm and charming. She spoke about how her son has been the model for all of her sculptures. While he has had to sit for countless hours (albeit as a paid model), he likes that his image might outlast a future catastrophy or calamity, and be found by people who assume that he was worshipped as a god. She also spoke of the reality of living in Iceland, with its extreme light and darkness, and its elemental landscape that dictates the rhythms of Icelanders lives.

Our group was then taken on a tour of the sculptures in the courtyard and in the cellar by Thóraninsdóttir. The occasion seemed to be a good time to launch its first new collection in 8 years, so we sipped barrel samples from the as-yet unreleased Terroir Collection collection. Again, why would I not? (The Terroir Collection is limited in its production. The 2012 sauv blanc: 19 barrels produced. The 2012 merlot: 13 barrels produced. The 2012 chardonnay: 19 barrels produced. The 2011 syrah: 13 barrels produced. The 2013 rosé: 223 cases produced. These wines are only available from the winery.)

Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, image supplied by Mission HillNow it will get very boring if I try to describe the sculptures, their subtle particularieties, and their specific settings here. Instead I just urge you to visit the winery. Take in the exhibit. Drink in the views. Eat at the restaurant and savour the wines. In this current fashion -- at least in food and wine journalism -- of celebrating the micro, the obscure and the fleeting, it's a nice palate cleanser to just let yourself be blown away by scale and magnitude. And that is what Mission Hill does very, very well.

"Journey" by Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, image supplied by Mission Hill


Many of the sculptures looked very much at home at Mission Hill. Von Mandl mentioned "Gate" more than once. It's a cast iron and glass form, standing in a wide stance, with hands clasped behind his back, head bowed andslightly casting a look over the vineyards and lake from the north loggia of the winery. He mentioned that he often stands like that. And that he intended to purchase "one, two, or three" of Thórarinsdóttir's pieces to remain at Mission Hill. My money is on "Gate."

"Gate" - image by Jennifer Cockrall-King

Encounters with Iceland exhibit runs from June 22, 2014 to October 2014 at Mission Hill Winery, British Columbia, Canada.