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Eventbrite - Registration for 2014 Okanagan Food & Wine Writers' Workshop


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.


"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 Thóraninsdóttir (wearing her Order of the Falcon pin) gave us the background of the deal-making that went into the largest exhibit of Thóraninsdóttir'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. 


Joy Road Catering opens container kitchen at Black Hills Winery

Joy Road Catering Kitchen at Black Hills Winery, Oliver, BC: Summer hours 11 am to 6 pm Wednesdays through Sundays

Joy Road dinners, up at God's Mountain B & B and at special events up and down the Okanagan Valley, are mostly sold-out affairs. So they should be...the dinners are built around of-the-day seasonal, local ingredients and premium regional wine. The menus are thoughtful and memorable culinary moments in time that you never forget. I wrote about one of these dinners in a recent issue of Western Living Magazine.

But sometimes, you just want a damn fine pizza, some cold-smoked sockeye, or a salad to go with a really great glass (or two) of wine mid-day. This is why Joy Road Catering's container kitchen at Black Hills Winery has created such a buzz.

Yesterday, I was among the food and wine writers invited to the unveiling, and indeed the second day of operation of JRC's container kitchen at Black Hills Winery in Oliver, South Okanagan.

Here are the photos:

The Ribbon-cutting of the new Joy Road Catering container kitchen at Black Hills Winery, Oliver, BCBlack Hills Estate Winery president Glenn Fawcett (R), winemaker Graham Pierce, and Joy Road Catering's Dana Ewart (L)Container Kitchen's window herbs

Joy Road Catering's Cameron Smith

The JRC team prepping the charcuterie boards for our lunchHousemade charcuterie and seasonal veg and picklesJoy Road Catering beets, burrata and local hazelnutsJoy Road Catering basil pesto pizzaJoy Road Catering sausage and arugula pizzaJoy Road Catering cold-smoked salmon and asparagusJoy Road Catering menu at Black Hills WineryWhat we DRANK: I guess I was a bit overly obessed about the food, as I didn't actually take any photos of the wines...but Black Hills Estate Winery DOES produces extraordinary wine. We paired fresh oysters on the half-shell with rhubarb-mingonette (not pictured) with the 2013 Alibi (a sauv blanc/semillion). I drank the 2012 Chardonnay with the beet and burrata with hazelnuts, as well as the cold-smoked salmon (and I think this was the intended pairing too). But it was also great with the basil-pesto pizza with thinly sliced potatoes and mozza. Then we finished with the 2012 Nota Bene, Black Hill's signature wine, which is a cab sauv, merlot and teeny splash of cab franc. The Nota Bene was delish for the heartier sausage and arugula pizza, the meatballs (not pictured) and the dark chocolate cookie with a dark chocolate ganache filling.

Worth the stop? Definitely.

Black Hills Estate Winery (and Joy Road Catering's on-site kitchen) is at the corner of Black Sage Road and Black Hills Road. As the sign says, "Stop."


Media Release: Food and wine writers arrive in Kelowna on Friday for Wordsmithing and World Premiers!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                       May 5, 2014

Media Contact: Jennifer Cockrall-King

tel:780-242-3663 / Email Jennifer         Images and interviews available upon request


Food & Wine Writers from Across Canada Gather in Kelowna this Weekend for Wordsmithing Workshops and World Premiers

KELOWNA, BC –  “This is the UN International Year of the Family Farm, so it’s fitting that we’re kicking off our 5th annual Okanagan Food & Wine Writers’ Workshop at Paynter’s Fruit Market for a family-style feast by Kelowna Chef Martin Laprise of The Chef In Stead and featuring products from family farms in the Kelowna region,” says Workshop producer and local food writer Jennifer Cockrall-King. “We’ll be tasting newly released vintages from new wineries in Kelowna, like 50th Parallel Estate Winery, and we’re even screening the world premier of the movie trailer for Springhammer, featuring Kevin Kent, owner of Knifewear Kelowna!”

The food and wine writers, editors, bloggers, and cookbook authors arrive at The Cove Lakeside Resort on Friday, May 9, from across Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC to experience Kelowna’s world-class food and wine scene. Over the weekend, they’ll put pen to paper through a series of professional workshop seminars led by Canada’s top food, wine and cookbook editors. Seminar topics range from cookbook writing and self-publishing, to social media strategies for freelance writers, food photography for blogs and books, and how to break into magazines. Headline instructors are:

·      Anita Stewart, creator of Food Day Canada, University of Guelph food laureate (a first in Canada), author of 14 books on Canadian food and wines, and senior editor at Taste and Travel magazine;

·      Neal McLennan is an award-winning writer, food and travel editor at Western Living magazine, and spirits columnist at Vancouver magazine;

·      And cookbook author, blogger at and, food television host, CBC Radio personality and food photographer Julie Van Rosendaal.

 “At its core, this workshop is about bringing writers together in an environment where they can learn from the fantastic instructors and experts, and from one another,” says Cockrall-King. “It’s essential to me that writers leave the workshop empowered and inspired to finally dive into that food or wine writing project that has been simmering in their brains for so long.” Many alumni of the Okanagan Food & Wine Writers’ Workshop have gone on to launch cookbook and blog projects, as well as getting published in major publications.

 Okanagan Food & Wine Writers’ Workshop gratefully acknowledges the support of its partners at Tourism Kelowna, Distinctly Kelowna Tours, The Cove Lakeside Resort, BC Tree Fruits and Knifewear.

-30- /


Okanagan News: Black Hills Winery announced a Vineyard Kitchen by Joy Road Catering

From the newsire today:

Media Advisory for immediate release - April 23, 2014

First-of-its kind Vineyard Kitchen to be opened in eco-friendly Shipping Container in new partnership between Black Hills Estate Winery and Joy Road.

Oliver, BC – Few things could be better than tasting a stunning wine in a beautiful Okanagan setting. Well actually there will be soon: the opportunity to enjoy a glass paired with fresh, handmade food made with the freshest ingredients from local producers. Starting in mid-June, Black Hills Estate Winery’s new Joy Road Vineyard Kitchen will let you do just that.

Opening on June 13, 2014 at Black Hills' acclaimed Wine Experience Centre, the new Vineyard Kitchen will be operated in a partnership with Joy Road. Renowned in the Okanagan Valley for their successful catering of hundreds of world-class events and their passionate creation of “Cuisine du Terroir”, Joy Road works carefully with regional farmers and producers to ensure the freshest, in-season ingredients.

The partnership will feature a unique “Shipping Container Kitchen” that has been newly repurposed for this patio restaurant. Equipped with a full kitchen including a pizza oven, the recycled shipping container will be permanently located beside the patio in the vineyard, thus the name “Joy Road Vineyard Kitchen”.  As a creative and environmentally-minded addition to the Okanagan Wine scene, Black Hills President Glenn Fawcett looks forward to the new Vineyard Kitchen. “The opportunity to partner with Joy Road on this innovative concept is a thrill for us, and we look forward to creating many special memories for visitors to our winery this spring, summer and fall.”

Joy Road co-owner Dana Ewart agrees, “With Joy Road Catering, we have been very fortunate to have had the success that we have had in the Okanagan Valley. This new partnership with Black Hills enables us to continue that catering business while growing a daily food service operation in one specific location. We are very impressed with how innovative and customer-centric Black Hills is with their wine experiences, and feel that our terroir-centric cuisine will be a perfect wine-pairing complement to what they are doing.”

Stay tuned for menus and photos!

The Joy Road Vineyard Kitchen will be offering dining guests an array of menu choices including hand-tossed pizzas featuring the best of house cured salumi, local cheese, and produce, paired perfectly with Black Hills wines. With the best possible ingredients of the season in mind, the menu will change often as Joy Road mixes it up to adapt to the ever-changing bounty from local farmers and suppliers. The Joy Road Vineyard Kitchen will have the following operating hours:

June 14 – 29, 2014: 11:30 am to 5:00 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday

July 3- Sept. 1, 2014: 11:30 to 5:00 pm on Thursday to Monday

Sept. 4- Oct. 12, 2014: 11:30 to 5:00 pm on Thursday to Sunday.

Further, the Wine Experience Centre will be launching a new “Sunset Happy Hour” series of special events every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night during the summer. From 4 pm to 7 pm starting from July 1 to Labor Day a guest DJ will be on hand spinning the Discs by the poolside Cabanas. While soaking up the “sunset inspired vibe” Guests will enjoy basking in the late afternoon sun with a glass of wine in hand. Special “2 for 1” wine tasting experiences will be offered to guests along with some special afternoon food offerings. This will be a fun, relaxing and new way to end your day of touring the wineries, golf courses or the beaches of the Okanagan this summer.

Media Contact Information
Glenn Fawcett, President, Black Hills Estate Winery at 403-710-1667 or

About Black Hills Estate Winery
Black Hills Estate Winery was established in 1996 and proudly presents wines that have been carefully hand-crafted from vineyard to bottle. The terroir on its 40-acre vineyard on Black Sage Road is some of the most exceptional in Canada. A combination of rugged desert earth, long sunlight hours and cool nights yields the intensely flavoured grapes and wines for which the winery is renowned. The deep sand and intense heat of this micro-climate enable the growth of exceptional Bordeaux grapes which are carefully hand-picked by the Black Hills team. Please visit for more information.

About Joy Road
From our inception selling pastries at the farmers' markets, Joy Road has primarily used local ingredients for the simple reason that fresh tastes better. And while socially-responsible food sourcing allows our customers to enjoy the Okanagan bounty at the height of ripeness, it also sustains the farmers and artisans who represent the agricultural heritage of this region. At Joy Road, we proudly showcase the wealth of delicious food and wine options available in this region the best way we know how: creating unique dining experiences that feature premium seasonal ingredients.

Joy Road is excited to expand and enhancing their repertoire and learn more about the harmonious relationship between food and wine. Further information on Joy Road Catering can be found at


Award-winning photographer Bruce Kemp's Digital Boot Camp course, Vernon, Apr 25-27

Copyright Bruce Kemp Photography 2014. Used with Permission.Bruce Kemp is an award-winning photographer and writer in Kelowna. I was lucky enough to have him at the 2012 Okanagan Food & Wine Writers' Workshop for a 2-hr photography basics seminar with the writers. I STILL run through his instructions in my head as I shoot, and I have to say that I'm a better photographer for having spent such a short time with him.

He runs photography courses, and his next one is coming up. There's still room. Here's the information.

(From Bruce:)

We have our spring Digital Boot Camp taking place in Vernon on April 25, 26 & 27th. This is a fun weekend designed to give you new digital photography skills or hone your existing ones. The curriculum is designed to provide the maximum amount of information and fun over the three days. On our first day (Friday night) we’ll go over the theory of photography, composition and try to answer any of those questions that you’ve had since you first picked up a camera. Day two is our "in-the-field-day". We spend the entire day at various locations practicing what we have learned by taking photos under different conditions and of different subjects. Our third and final day is the review day. We meet back in the classroom to project your pictures and determine what you did right or wrong as well as to answer those questions that remain. It’s always been a fun-packed weekend for Okanagan College Continuing Studies students and all level of experience are welcome.

There’s still room for you in the class. For more information or to enrol, contact: or call: 250-545-7291 ext. 2850 or 1-800-289-8993.

You can also contact instructor Bruce Kemp at 1-250-768-7399 or through and his professional work is available for your enjoyment at: