Torch Relay goes through Wine Country

terry-mulligan-torch
Legendary broadcaster Terry David Mulligan carries the torch through Penticton this week

A story that hasn't quite penetrated the consciousness of most of us out here on the mellow "Wet Coast" is the fact that communities across Canada have been lit up with excitement by the Olympic Torch Relay. Very soon that flame will be trekked across Metro Vancouver and Whistler. It's been winding its way around BC since last week, and on Monday it was carried north through the Okanagan Valley, the heart of BC wine country.

When I can spare a few minutes away from work & blogging, I like to enjoy a fine glass of wine. My wife and I have been BC wine devotees for many years, and make regular trips to the Okanagan, as well as visiting other appellations such as the Similkameen Valley, the Gulf Islands and the Fraser Valley where BC wine is produced.

It was exciting to see the Torch getting some of BC's wine industry fired up. We noted that several of the wineries who use social networking such as Nk'Mip Winery, Tinhorn Creek Winery and Hester Creek Vineyard were letting their followers know that the Olympic flame was passing through their communities.

BC's wine is going to be one of the great selling points of the 2010 experience, especially for visitors who might not know a lot about it. Warming summers and temperate winters have made the Okanagan one of the world's great grape growing regions, albeit in much smaller quantities. The "official" vintners of the 2010 Games are Jackson Triggs, who have produced reasonably priced and very yummy VQA (Vintner's Quality Assurance, a Canadian wine standards body) labels.

Inniskillin Okanagan, another label from the same parent company, will be holding the Inniskillin "Ice Gate" at Richmond's O-Zone. There you'll be able to sip – for a pricey $5 per shot – the delicious nectar that is BC ice wine from the south Okanagan.

Someone who I've known for many years is legendary Canadian broadcaster Terry David Mulligan (Good Rockin' Tonight, Much Music, Hollywood & Wine). "TDM" moved from the Lower Mainland (aka Metro Vancouver) a few years back to "retire" near Naramata, BC, one of the great BC wine micro-climates. Instead of sitting around, Terry decided to pursue his passion for wine, beginning with the TV wine show he started with actor Jason Priestley (also a BC native).

Terry now produces a great little wine broadcast/podcast called Tasting Room Radio. It was great to see Terry's lifetime of work as a broadcaster was honoured by a chance to carry the Torch.

– cross-posted to CityCaucus.com