Progress

Ok folks, this big news in wine country this morning. The BC Wine Appellation Taskgroup has released their final report. This is the media release that just showed up in my inbox. I will be commenting on this further because, well, there is a lot to comment on and frankly I really never like to just send through a press release verbatim on this site. Check out the information for yourself and look back here in the coming days for comments on it. 

~Luke

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — November 5, 2015

BCWATG logo

New Wine Regions,
Regulatory Reforms
Proposed by BC Wine Task Group

A stronger “sense of place” will strengthen BC’s reputation among domestic and international wine consumers

Vancouver, BC – A BC wine industry group released its final report Thursday after a seven-month comprehensive consultation on the future of British Columbia’s system of appellations. The BC Wine Appellation Task Group – an independent ad-hoc committee of leading representatives of the industry from across British Columbia – has developed a set of 13 recommendations that are being described as a “turning point” in the growth and increasing reputation of premium winemaking in our province.

Group 1“Around the world today wine makers and wine enthusiasts are increasingly interested in the soil and climate conditions of where the wine is grown,” says Ezra Cipes, Chair of the BC Wine Appellation Task Group. “Our recommendations will help to strengthen a sense of place for our wines that is uniquely about British Columbia.”

The Task Group has submitted its recommendations to the British Columbia Wine Authority (BCWA), the regulatory authority to which the Province of British Columbia has delegated responsibility for enforcing the Wines of Marked Quality regulations. BCWA will be responsible for conducting an industry plebiscite in the coming weeks to approve the Task Group’s 13 recommendations to reform the regulations.

The Task Group recommendations include:

  • Creating 4 new appellations: Thompson Valley, Lillooet-Lytton, Shuswap and Kootenays to add to the current list of five officially designated wine regions (Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, and Gulf Islands). (see map Appellations – Emerging BC Regions)
  • Creating a framework for 15 sub-appellations within the Okanagan Valley from Vernon in the north, down to the US border (see map Okanagan maps – Terroir boundaries)
  • Harmonizing the audit process between multiple government agencies to enhance quality standards and reduce regulatory red tape
  • Ending the use of taste panels to access faults and strengthen product health and safety

The BC Wine Appellation Task Group was supported by the BC Ministry of Agriculture, and conducted in cooperation with the BC Wine Authority and BC Wine Institute.

“British Columbia is increasingly becoming known for its premium wines across Canada and around the world,” says Hon. Norm Letnick, Minister of Agriculture. “I would like to commend the Task Group for dedicating their time and their passion in creating a strong, unified vision for our wine industry.”

A report titled Wine Industry Turning Point describes the effort to reach out to stakeholders in every winemaking region of B.C. – from Vancouver Island, the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, the Fraser Valley and BC’s emerging regions. In addition to town halls and other one-on-one consultation, the Task Group conducted a successful industry and consumer online survey with over 800 participants.

For a copy of the Task Group report and the maps, survey and other appendices, see the links below, or visit www.bcwinetaskgroup.ca.