issues that we can have occasionally here in
the Okanagan because they never get that
cold,” she said.
Bowen likens the current climate in
the Fraser Valley to Champagne, France.
“They’ve got beautiful conditions in the
Fraser Valley for producing sparkling,” she
said. “They are doing some of that now, but
I wish they’d do more.”
In contrast, the Okanagan Valley
and Similkameen Valley appellations
have much hotter and dryer climates that
Bowen believes are ideal for growing most
“We’ve got enough heat to ripen all
the noble varieties that we’d want and we
can control the growth of the vines with
irrigation because we get very little rainfall.
That’s a really big plus,” she said. “We also
don’t have as much disease pressure as seen
in most grape-growing areas because we
have low humidity and rainfall.”
Bowen says that within the Okanagan
Valley there are several sub-appellations
with their own distinctive terroirs. She and
colleague Scott Smith, a retired scientist
from Ag Canada’s Summerland Research
and Development Centre, have described
these smaller appellations for the industry.
They lie within the stretch from the
Okanagan hub city of Kelowna to Osoyoos
on the Canada-U.S. border.
Bowen says that the Thompson
Valley, the most northern B.C. appellation,
currently grows some cold tolerant hybrid
wine grapes, which are less desirable than
the noble Vitis vinifera varieties grown
Research scientist Pat Bowen and her husband
Carl Bogdanoff are both part of an Agriculture
and Agri-Food Canada team in Summerland, B.C.,
working to help the wine industry in the province’s
Okanagan Valley deliver a better product
Married to the Job
Pat Bowen, an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientist who specializes in
viticulture research, is a woman who clearly loves her job.
“I feel so fortunate,” said Bowen, who grew up in Kimberley, B.C., about 270
kilometres east of her home in the Naramata Bench area of the Okanagan
Valley. “This is a great place to work. The wine industry is phenomenal here.”
Bowen and her husband Carl Bogdanoff, whom she met while they were in
grad school together at the University of California, Davis, both work at Ag
Canada’s Summerland Research and Development Centre. They both were
set to retire this year, but delayed their plans when COVID-19 hit.
According to Bowen, she and her husband didn’t mind staying on to assist
the research centre in coping with the disruptions caused by the pandemic.
“We have amazing colleagues. Everyone’s pitching in and doing what they can
safely, so we’ve delayed retirement a bit to help keep our research programs
going,” she said.
Somehow, Bowen and Bogdanoff also manage to run a small four-acre
commercial vineyard at their home. It’s makes a busy life for the couple, but
they wouldn’t have it any other way.
For example, on the day Poured Canada talked to Bowen, her husband had
got up at 4 a.m. to spray their wine grape crop to prevent powdery mildew
before heading to work.
“Carl has ants in his pants. He loves his job and then he likes doing the vineyard
work at home,” said Bowen.
Bowen says that she, like her husband, doesn’t like to sit down and prefers to
have numerous things on the go. “I don’t know what else we’re going to do
when we finally retire,” she said.
COV E R F E AT U R E
Photos courtesy of J.L. MacDonald, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
20 § POURED CANADA § www.poured.ca