Winemaker & Wine Party Planner Sweep Oliver

South Okanagan Division

Celebrity Winner Severine Pinte with Audience Winner Tanja Martell 

April 24, 2019, Oliver, BC: Winemaker Severine Pinte and wine party host Tanja Martell took home the divisional trophies at the first Tasting Games event in Oliver on April 23, 2019.

Pinte, the winemaker at Le Vieux Pin and La Stella wineries, was the top scoring celebrity competitor on stage. She tasted blind, head to head with David Paterson, general manager and winemaker and Tantalus, as well as Wes Hunter, the beverage manager from Raudz Creative Concepts

Pinte spoke humbly about her win: “It was a real team effort for the Tasting Games celebrity competitors: David, Wes and I. We didn’t really compete with each other, we all worked together to get the answers. The difference in the end were small details like vintage and price points.”

The three celebrity wine pros tasted five mystery wines, decoding at the wine’s country, grape variety, age and other details. They were awarded points based on accurate guesses.

At the same, the audience tasted the same wines blind and submitted their answers based on the same criteria. At the end of the night, the top scoring audience winner, Tanja Martell, also took home a trophy.

“I was stunned when they announced my name,” commented Martell, who is the co-founder of Red Lips Wine Sips, a custom wine experience provider based out of Kelowna. “I’ve always had confidence in my palate, but to achieve top score in the sport of wine tasting amongst my wine industry peers is phenomenal.”

Both Pinte and Martell will be competing on stage at the Tasting Games Finale (May 21), along with the celebrity and audience winners from the upcoming Kelowna (May 7) and Penticton (May 14) divisional events.

The Tasting Games, organized by the wine researchers at Terroir Consulting and wine educators at WinePlus+, are meant to build a sense of community and raise the collective tasting game of the local wine industry.

Pinte explained that to make top quality wine in the Okanagan, “tasting international wines is an essential part of our work. Our taste buds can get used to a simple profile. Our brains can get used to one path, and tasting wine from around the world keeps us on our toes and keeping us in the right the direction.”

Martell commented that she mainly drinks Okanagan wine. “My experience with international wines is limited to my WinePlus+ Wine and Spirit Education Trust training, plus the occasional bottle. To prepare for the finale, I’m going to be training my palate to compete on stage. I’ve got my eye on the prize.”

The Tasting Games event in Oliver was the first of three divisional events. The North Okanagan divisional event in Kelowna on May 7 at the East Kelowna Hall will feature legendary winemaker Howard Soon, BC’s top sommelier Matthew Landry and sommelier educator DJ Kearney on stage. In Penticton on May 14 at the Shatford Centre for the Arts, award-winning chef Mark Filatow will take on winemaker Sandra Oldfield and top sommelier Christina Hartigan for the Central Okanagan division win. The winning celebrity, as well as the top scoring audience member from each division, will taste live on stage at the Tasting Games Finale May 21 in Kelowna. The ultimate Tasting Games winner will be awarded the “Best Wine Taster in B.C.” trophy.