Four Okanagan College School of Business students sparked an idea to bring Canadiana flair to the wildly popular Okanagan Wine Festivals Signature Events by pairing B.C.’s stellar pinot wines with the iconic poutine. Tickets to the upcoming Feb. 20 Poutine and Pinot event sold out within 14 days of launching its digital marketing campaign.
As part of their Events Management and Marketing course, College students Tim Allgaier, an international exchange student from Germany, alongside his peers Yuan Wang from China, Patrick Martin from Ottawa, and Nick Naylor from Calgary worked with client Dairy Farmers of Canada to creatively come up with the concept and develop a business plan for activation.
“It was exciting to start the semester with a real-life business project,” said Allgaier, who was on exchange in Kelowna for the Fall 2015 semester. “As a student, to work with a real client who wants to invest real money and time into an event that you are creating is an entirely different learning experience.”
Under the guidance of Business Professor Dr. Blair Baldwin, who is also the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society General Manager, the students’ idea came to fruition.
“Poutine and Pinot is a first across Canada and demonstrates both student creativity and consumer interest in supporting local. I am delighted that students tested their imaginative skills and then built a sound business plan,” said Baldwin. “It is encouraging to see how partnering our students with industry helps generate innovative ideas. The progressive thinking resonates and the public was quick to pick up on it. ”
Over the course of the semester, the project ran parallel to the course curriculum allowing a unique applied-learning example to in-class content. Students conversed with their peers, also working on varied industry projects, to share best practices, trouble-shoot challenges, and receive positive reinforcement for ingenious ideas.
“The collaboration was reflective of what students must expect in a job environment upon graduation, where projects have a number of moving pieces and players,” said Baldwin. “Using our creative skills to solve problems is the key to a knowledge based services economy.”
“We didn’t just start writing a business plan and then hand it in,” said Allgaier. “I learned a lot about working in teams, how much details matter in a business idea, and the common rules of business. What the project was really about was turning an idea into reality.”
He added that it was humbling to learn the event sold out so quickly.
“It feels so good to learn that something like that is possible if you put in the careful thinking and hard work.”
The 100 ticket-holders who had the foresight to sign up early will feast on seven gourmet poutines created by Hotel Eldorado Chef Vince Van Wieringen. A brie and apricot turkey demi-glace, a pork belly with cherry veal demi-glace, and a smoked salmon with Bearnaise are just some of the options that will entice the taste buds. Each will be expertly paired with a series of British Columbia pinot varietals including Sparkling Pinot, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Auxerrois, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Blanc Icewine. The event is sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada and McCain Foods.
To learn more, visit www.thewinefestivals.com/poutine-pinot.