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OUR MISSION is to provide visitors to Oliver, the Wine Capital of Canada, with a one-stop wine, food, and cultural experience in a manner that is informative, friendly and entertaining. 

 

Opened in 2003, the Wine Country Welcome Centre is a privately owned and operated business venture situated in Oliver, BC.  Its purpose is to present destination cuisine & wine hospitality right here in the heart of British Columbia's Okanagan Valley.

 

Featuring BC wine is our primary focus, matched with local wine country cuisine at our contemporary Toasted Oak Wine Bar & GrillIt is not uncommon to have winemakers drop by for a casual drink, a light lunch, or a hearty dinner.  We also own and manage Oliver’s only VQA Wine Store and Gift Shoppe right here at our facility - a landmark achievement for the South Okanagan.  The Wine Country Welcome Centre is rounded out with a casual information service orienting visitors to BC wine country.

Oliver's historic Firehall #1 - now the Wine Country Welcome Centre

Our site location was carefully chosen to provide visitors with the greatest convenience that wine country has to offer in one central location.  The site was also selected to provide maximum business exposure for each of the facility's revenue centers, as well as for future tenants in the proposed Vintners' Village to be constructed at the same site. The historic old firehall located on highway 97 in Oliver's downtown has proven to be an informed and strategic acquisition for the project location.

The facility with its magnificent tower is unquestionably the most prominent and visible landmark in Oliver's downtown core.  The tasteful refurbishment of Oliver's historic old firehall to its current grand status as the Wine Country Welcome Centre can be credited largely to this project's owner Jim Ruhland, who also owns and operates Ruhland Design & Construction.  Ruhland Design & Construction has delivered a signature building to the South Okanagan, all the while preserving the cultural heritage of the building's interior and exterior focal features. 

Wine Country Welcome Centre - Exterior

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Respected architect Robert Mackenzie was hired to develop renderings for this project's redesign and vision.  Robert Mackenzie's work is visible throughout the Okanagan Valley; most notable is his design work on many of the recognized wineries in the area.

The Wine Capital of Canada features 70% of the province's vineyards and 22 destination wineries,, making Oliver the ideal destination to begin your experience in BC's wine country.  To orient yourself with BC wine country, view our Wine Map of the Okanagan Valley.

Our dedicated and passionate restaurant manager, Joanne Ruhland, is responsible for all aspects of daily operations.  She can be found day in and day out welcoming guests, organizing events, and overseeing all facets of restaurant operations with her charismatic leadership of the restaurant team.

Previous to Joanne’s leadership, Jay Drysdale held the role of general manager and sommelier, and can be credited with developing the Toasted Oak Wine Bar & Grill’s extensive award winning wine menu.  A list of awards that the Toasted Oak Wine Bar & Grill has received can be found on our Awards page.  Jay is now a private wine consultant, which compliments his new position as a VQA Store Liason for the BC Wine Institute.

Executive Chef Charles T. Stover is the newest member of the management team, and will be utilizing his extensive knowledge and command of the senses to create a full sensory experience with the marriage of fine BC wines and bistro-style food.  Charles’ new menu can be expected this spring, 2008.

Through our commitment, experience, and expertise, the Wine Country Welcome Centre has established a relationship with BC's wine industry and our customers that will last a lifetime!

 

Cheers, and thank you for your support!

Jim and Joanne Ruhland (Owners / Management)

 

Wine Country Welcome Centre at night

 

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