Wine Education 101: Learning at Kelowna’s Wineries

A vineyard in Kelowna with a serene lake and mountain range in the background under a blue sky.

Kelowna's wineries are centres for learning where novices and connoisseurs alike can deepen their understanding of viticulture and enology. From the basics of grape cultivation to the subtleties of wine tasting, Kelowna offers a variety of educational experiences that are as enriching as they are enjoyable.

Fine Vintage Wine Courses

Imagine immersing yourself in a world where wine is not just a beverage, but a subject of academic study. Fine Vintage, a North American leader in wine education, offers this experience in Kelowna. Their courses, accredited by the prestigious Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), span from beginner to advanced levels. Held in downtown Kelowna at the Prestige Beach House, these sessions combine convenience with an elegant learning environment.

Fine Vintage's offerings are diverse, including specialized courses focusing on wine regions like France, Italy, and America, alongside their WSET Level 1, 2, and 3 Award in Wines. These courses are designed not just to educate but to engage, led by industry-leading professionals who bring both passion and expertise to the classroom. Each course is a blend of outstanding wine tastings and instruction, aiming to achieve high pass rates among its students. Additionally, enrollees gain access to exclusive online resources, enhancing their learning journey.

Specialization and Masterclasses

For those looking to explore more into specific areas of wine expertise, Fine Vintage's Sensory and Tasting Masterclasses are a perfect choice. These classes are designed to sharpen your senses, helping you identify the nuances in different wine varieties. The Sensory Masterclass is a look into the world of aromas and flavours, transforming participants from casual wine drinkers to discerning tasters.

Meanwhile, the Tasting Masterclasses focus on specific grape varieties or wine regions, greatly enhancing your ability to taste, describe, and identify wines. These masterclasses are a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, leaving you with a wealth of knowledge and a newfound appreciation for wine. The Canadian Wine 101 course, in particular, offers a unique opportunity to explore the dynamic Canadian wine industry, showcasing the regional uniqueness of Canadian wines.

Okanagan College's Viticulture and Wine Studies

Okanagan College stands at the forefront of wine education, offering programs that reflect the growing significance of wine and wine tourism in the region. Their certificate programs in Viticulture, Wine Sales, and Winery Assistance cater to a range of interests and career aspirations. If you're considering a career in the industry or keen on learning more about the wine-making process, these programs offer a comprehensive education.

The college's Vineyard Establishment and Sustainability Micro-Credential is particularly noteworthy. It provides hands-on learning about sustainable viticulture practices, covering everything from vineyard planning to integrated pest management. This program is not only about acquiring skills but also about understanding the environmental impact and sustainability of viticulture.

Urban Distilleries and Winery Workshops

Urban Distilleries & Winery in West Kelowna brings a unique twist to wine education with its cocktail and distilling workshops. Their hand-crafted cocktail workshop is an interactive experience where participants learn to mix their own drinks. It's a blend of fun and learning, ideal for those who appreciate the art of cocktail making.

For a more in-depth experience, the Master Distiller Workshop is a four-day look into the art and science of distilling, with a focus on Gin. Participants get hands-on experience in crafting their own Gin recipe, gaining insights that turn them from enthusiasts into connoisseurs. These workshops are an example of the evolving and diverse nature of Kelowna's wine and spirits education scene.

Wine Tasting Ability (WTA) Program at UBC's Okanagan Campus

The University of British Columbia's Okanagan Campus offers the Wine Tasting Ability (WTA) Level One program, a foundational course in wine and wine tasting. This program, a collaboration between UBC and the University of Bordeaux, is a unique opportunity to learn from world-renowned experts. Covering everything from tasting principles to the characteristics of major wine regions, it's an immersive experience for anyone interested in the multifaceted world of wine.

Designed for a wide range of participants, from industry professionals to wine enthusiasts, the program includes presentations, tastings, and group discussions. The 8-hour course culminates in a certification jointly awarded by UBC Okanagan and the University of Bordeaux, marking a significant achievement in wine education.


Kelowna’s wineries offer more than just scenic views and exquisite wines; they are gateways to a world of learning and discovery. Kelowna offers a unique and comprehensive educational landscape. Each course, workshop, and program invites you into the world of wine, blending theory with practical experience. In Kelowna, every lesson is an adventure in taste, aroma, and knowledge, providing an unforgettable journey through the world of wines.