OC Cultivates event fosters local food, wine and tourism businesses

By College Relations | November 21, 2023

Collage of images showing wine, chefs, mountains and highlighting food, wine and tourism activities.

New event series kick-off hosts panel of local experts, facilitated by CBC’s Sarah Penton

You’ve heard of the iconic Okanagan Champagne powder or our four-season playgrounds, but did you know the Okanagan is also leading the way in innovation in food and beverage and tourism?

A new Okanagan College event series, OC Cultivates, aims to celebrate and explore Okanagan’s unique and exciting food, beverage and tourism industries with a kick-off event featuring local experts and a panel discussion hosted by CBC Radio West host, Sarah Penton.

The first OC Cultivates will feature a dynamic panel of industry leaders, including wine, spirits and beverage makers, hospitality leaders, tourism experts and more to explore the unique characteristics of the Okanagan’s food and beverage businesses.

•    When: Tuesday, Nov. 28

•    Time: Networking reception 6 – 7 p.m., Panel discussion 7- 8:30 p.m. 

•    Where: OC’s Kelowna campus, Student Services (“S”) building – lobby and theatre

•    Cost: The event is free to attend, but pre-registration is required for entry. Register for tickets online at okanagan.bc.ca/oc-cultivates

“Our connection to industry is what allows us to create programming to support the needs of the communities across the Okanagan Valley,” said OC President Neil Fassina. “To be able to bring experts from food, beverage and tourism to Okanagan College and have this event will be an incredible gathering of minds. As a region and a community, we all have an opportunity to be part of this transformation.” 

Panel experts joining in the discussion include: Kyle Nixon, President of the Nixon Hospitality Group; Binny Gill of Farming Karma Fruit; Tyler Dyck: CEO of Okanagan Spirits Distillery; David Paterson, General Manager and Winemaker at Tantalus Vineyards; Lisanne Ballantyne, CEO and President of Tourism Kelowna and OC School of Business professor, and Ruth Wigman, Former “Top Chef” Canada, and Executive Chef at Infusions Restaurant at OC. 

“This is going to be an amazing evening to be a part of and I look forward to the discussion with so many talented people across the food, beverage and tourism sector,” said Tyler Dyck. “Our business takes inspiration from what is unique about the valley and I’m looking forward to the benefits that will come from sharing wisdom and ideas across this group.” 

Okanagan College’s own EnactusOC will be at the event reception before the panel, sharing about their experiences launching the successful Unusually Good Apple Juice and pouring samples of their new hard cider. 

The evening will include a reception before the panel, with a handful of tasting tables from beverage makers around the Okanagan. 


Tags: Food, Wine & Tourism



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