Photos for Battle of the Wines were take by Jeremy Spruston.

Battle of the Wines back for another year in the Okanagan

West Kelowna winery, Off the grid was crowned champion of the first event

It takes place in a secret location where wine lovers come together to sip and savour a specific varietal. Started in 2019 by ‘Do the Okanagan’, Battle of the Wines is back for another year, but with some changes in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The host of Battle of the Wines, Brand Little, said he didn’t think the event would be possible this year.

“We had big plans but because of social distancing and business closures, we were stopped in our tracks, sort of, but things seem to be getting better and luckily we are an industrious group,” he explained.

The first event took place on June 17, and was a Chardonnay taste-off that saw six wines paired with lobster rolls from the food truck Lobster Pot.

The battle is a blind tasting event that focuses on certain grape varieties, with a mix of judges ranging from certified wine geeks to average Joes/Josephine’s.

“This year we’re scoring the wines in four categories, aroma, taste, finish (each worth five points) and our new addition of pairing,” said Little. “We’ve introduced food this year to enhance the flavours and also our theme, Okanagan lifestyle.”

Ten judges attended the event along with Little and resident judge Wade Tywoniuk, who has his WSET level 3.

“We realized halfway through last year’s event, that the first bottle always scored lower, which was skewed by unprimed taste buds. So this year, we’re adding a benchmark bottle to warm up with and give the first competitor something to compare against. For this round, we’re using the winner of last year’s Battle of the Wines, Chardonnay – The 2016 Black Swift, Oak Street Vineyard from the Hatch,” Little said.

And, the wine declared champion at the end of the event was 2018 Off the grid, Organic Winery, Unoaked Chardonnay. Off the grid winery has been operating in West Kelowna since 2015.

There are three battles left which will take place over the next three months (Wonderful Whites, Rose, and Riesling).

Do The Okanagan was created in November 2018 by a group of people who wanted to showcase all the valley had to offer from outdoor adventure to food and wine.

“When I was asked to look after the wine section of Do The Okanagan, I was excited to say the least, and immediately asked myself, what is the biggest thing we can do to attract readers to the website,” explained Little.

“How about an Okanagan wide, wine competition? But we would make it a friendly competition, and use a mix of judges who know a thing or two about wine as well as those who like to drink wine and then create an average score. Not everyone can afford to spend $30 on a bottle, so the blog is supposed to be fun and enjoyable for everyone to read.”

For more information on Battle of the Wines click here.

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