Okanagan College is enhancing their already considerable collaboration with the B.C. wine industry. (File photo)

Okanagan College strengthens ties with the wine industry

B.C. Wine Institute and Okanagan College sign co-operation agreement

  • Mar. 27, 2018 10:00 a.m.

The B.C. Wine Institute and Okanagan College signed an agreement that will guide their co-operation over the next two years.

“This Memorandum of Understanding recognizes the value of our relationship with Okanagan College and provides a framework to further our common interests in research and projects to enhance the wine and related industries,” said Miles Prodan, president and CEO of the Wine Institute. “In a time of rapid growth, this agreement gives us the direction to leverage our partnership for the benefit of the industry, and we look forward to the progress ahead.”

The memorandum outlines enhanced collaboration between the institute and the college to provide a range of opportunities for partnerships, projects and applied research in wine and related industries, designed to positively influence regional economic development and contributions.

“Okanagan College is a devoted and integral part of the wine industry here in the Okanagan Valley,” said Bill Gillett, Okanagan College dean of business. Associate deans Barry McGillivray and Jonathan Rouse, he continued, have been working closely with the institute.

The collaboration between the industry and the college is intended to further the applied research and instructional objective of the college, providing benefits to the wine industry through outcomes, improvements and discoveries.

Related: Wine industry invests in Penticton college campus

The wine institute recently hosted a forum bringing together 180 industry guests to review the current and future state of the wine industry. Svan Lembke and Lee Cartier, researchers at the Okanagan School of Business, presented outcomes from their recent research including details of a project aiming to describe how the wine habits of baby boomers and generation X differ from millennials.

“This will give the BC wine industry an understanding of how attitudes and approaches toward wine buying differ and will provide insights into how to adjust marketing practices accordingly to the needs and preferences of the next generation of consumers,” said Cartier. The research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in collaboration with the BCWI and is expected to be completed by December, 2018.

The MOU is in effect until July 2020, when the agreement may be extended subject to review and approval by both parties.

The B.C. Wine Institute represents all wineries in the province, with the goal of growing the market share for B.C. wine and expanding awareness of the industry and related tourism, valued at a $600 million annual economic impact. Okanagan College is BC’s third-largest college and annually serves more than 20,000 people with a wide variety of academic, vocational, trades and developmental programs.

Related: International showcase of the Okanagan wine industry

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