Taste of the Okanagan at See Ya Later Ranch was a smashing success!

The Wines of British Columbia, a non-profit organization that promotes BC VQA wines, put together an exceptional event. The Chef meets BC Grape Okanagan Wine and Food ExperienceTaste of the Okanagan held on Saturday, August 26th was a huge success.

The day started with a VIP Reception held on the patio adjoining the See Ya Later Ranch tasting room. An hour to take in the sights and mingle with other guests and the attending chefs.


See Ya Later Ranch Sparkling Brut
Oyster and Caviar from Codfather’s
BC Cheese
Tasty bites
More tasty bites
Proscuitto and mango bites.
Sumac Ridge Stellar’s Jay Pinnacle

The day included tastings from over 40 BC wineries, master class wine education seminars with Rhys Pender, chef demonstrations, food and wine pairings, and food stations prepared by the country’s top chefs.The vast expanse of the See Ya Later Ranch became the site of the most incredible wine and food tasting event to grace the Okanagan this year.

Most impressive were the number of food and wine stations that dotted the extensive grounds of See Ya Later Ranch. The vistas were outstanding and the venue couldn’t have been better placed.

Grilled Tuna – Nicole Gomes – Cluck N’ Cleaver


Roasted pork lettuce wrap – Wesley Young, Pidgin


Paella – Trevor Bird – Fable Kitchen


Grilled Octopus – Rod Butters – RauDZ


Oops, it was delicious. I should have spent more time taking notes, less time enjoying myself. I know it was delicious.

I never encountered a lineup more than 5 or 6 people and many times almost no lineups at many of the food and wine stations because there were so many stations. This event was so different from many crazing events I’ve attended, and in the best way. The food was amazing.

Food Network stars including Chefs Mark McEwan, Nicole Gomes, Trevor Bird and Connie DeSousa, as well as top BC Chefs from the Okanagan and Vancouver, were on hand throughout the afternoon along with winery owners and their principals or representatives. There were many opportunities to talk with the chefs and the winery representatives as we strolled among the tents set up throughout the grounds.

We spent the majority of our time sipping and munching our way around the grounds but did take time for a few of the seminars. Unfortunately, the cooking demos and the wine seminars were held simultaneously which meant you had to choose between learning about wine or sampling a delectable dish. Of course, the upside was, even more, opportunities to chat with chefs and winery types in the tents during this time while many of the guests were occupied with seminars and demos.

The weather was its usual Okanagan spectacular and it did get fairly warm as the day wore on. The tents shielded guests from the sun and there were a number of relaxing areas furnished with chairs or lounges where you could take a break from the action.

I attended the wine and cheese pairing seminar conducted by David Beaudoin. It was informative and a bit of a hoot. Beaudoin is as gregarious as he is knowledgeable and everyone had a great time learning about which BC cheeses go well with which BC VQA wines.

David Beaudoin
Selection of BC VQA wines paired with cheese at the wine and cheese seminar

The cooking demos by Chef Mark McEwan were very popular and it was standing room only for about half the people who attended. I managed to fit in the Ricotta Gnocchi cooking demo which I really enjoyed. Chef McEwan is a consummate showman and kept everyone entertained.

Chef Mark McEwan at the Cooking Demo stage
photo MyVanCity


Ricotta Gnocchi Chef Mark McEwan
photo MyVanCity

The wine seminars were limited to 30 guests and not surprisingly the Bubbles and Rosé seminars were the most popular, filling up well ahead of the start time. The Gamay seminar I attended was informative and it was interesting to discover which BC wineries produce this “next big thing” wine.

Gamay wine seminar with Rhys Pender

The event ran from 11:00 a.m. (for VIP guests) until 4:30 p.m. I started my day at 10:30 in order to take photographs before the crowds arrived so by 3:30 I was ready to call it a day. Kudos to those with the stamina to handle five and a half hours of food, wine, and the sunshine.

Overall it was one great day in the vineyards.

VIP Tickets included an exclusive VIP Welcome Reception, with wines and canapés, meet and greet and photo opportunities with Food Network celebrity chefs as well as early access to the festival grounds, and parking.  VIP tickets were limited. Cost $155.00 including taxes.

General admission tickets included complimentary shuttle bus transport from downtown Okanagan Falls to the festival site.  Cost $115.00 including taxes.

Fingers crossed that Chef meets BC Grape Okanagan Wine and Food Experience and Taste of the Okanagan returns next year. It was just too good not to be back.





Mark McEwan – The McEwan Group

Matthew Stowe  – Joseph Richard Group

Matthias Fong – River Café

Duncan Ly & Jinhee Lee – Foreign Concept

David Beaudoin – The Canadian Cheese Poet

Dirty Laundry Vineyard

Hillside Winery

House of Rose Winery

Howling Bluff Estate Winery

Inniskillin Okanagan Vineyards Estate

Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate

Kismet Estate Winery

Kraze Legz Vineyard and Winery

Little Straw Vineyards Estate Winery



Ryan O’Flynn – The Guild

Rod Butters – RauDZ Regional Kitchen

Trevor Bird – Fable Kitchen

Bench 1775 Winery

Black Hills Estate Winery

Black Sage Vineyard

Bordertown Vineyards & Estate Winery

C.C. Jentsch Cellars

Clos du Soleil Winery

Crescent Hill Winery

Culmina Family Estate Winery

Hester Creek Estate Winery



Connie DeSousa & John Jackson- Charcut

Shane Chartrand- Sage at River Cree Resort

Moon Curser Vineyards                               –

Mt. Boucherie Family Estate Winery

Nighthawk Vineyards

Nk’Mip Cellars

Osoyoos Larose Estate Winery

Painted Rock Estate Winery

Pentâge Winery

Perseus Winery



Nicole Gomes – Cluck N’ Cleaver

Wesley Young – Pidgin

Quails’ Gate Winery

River Stone Estate Winery

Savard Vines

See Ya Later Ranch

St Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery

Steller’s Jay

vinAmité Cellars



12:15 pm    David Beaudoin: Wine & Cheese Pairing Seminar

1:15 pm      Mark McEwan: Gnocchi Demo

2:15 pm      Nicole Gomes: Tuna & Tomato Consommé  Demo

3:15 pm      Mark McEwan: Heirloom Tomato Sauce Demo



12:15 pm     BC Bubbles—Celebrate every day with BC Bubbles.

1:15 pm     Rosé—Rosés are trending… elegant, sophisticated and dry.

2:15 pm    Gamay—Ga-what? Rhys will convince you it is the next big thing.

3:15 pm    Vertical—Examine how well BC wines age.




Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to attend this event. Travel and accommodation for the weekend were at my own expense. All opinions are my own.


2 thoughts on “Taste of the Okanagan at See Ya Later Ranch was a smashing success!”

  1. Hi Valerie, fun meeting you at the dinner at Burrowing Owl. I see we attended the same cooking demos the next day as well. I too hope they come back next year. It was a fabulous food and wine event in the perfect setting.


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