There are times in one’s life when things go sideways. Oftentimes, other good things come from it. In my case, this is one of them. John Schreiner asked me in the spring of 2017 to contribute to the next edition of the Okanagan Wine Tour Guide. For me personally, the spring of 2017 could be summed up by the phrase, “I’ve had better springs.” But life goes on. By “contribute”, John meant that I would be taking on about 25% of the workload. Which I did. And by the end of it, I was out of breath.
I don’t know how he does it.
But he has done it for at least 19 books now, 14 of which were on my shelf before this one arrived in the mail for me last week, just a day in advance of the official release of The Okanagan Wine Tour Guide, published by Touchwood Editions. This is the most current and authoritative book on the wine industry in BC’s interior. And when I say “current”, I mean that it was totally up to date. For about two days.
The book was released on April 28th. On Thursday April 30th, the sale of Maverick Estate Winery went public, which threw that whole chapter out of date. John wrote about it on his blog.
Those two full days of being curent were a pretty good run. My own “Valleys of Wine” released last fall had elements that were out of date before it had even hit the press. The altered incarnation of the Lt. Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Wine was the main culprit in that case, but there were also a few other things.
The point is that documenting anything is going to offer up its own challenges. If we had waited a month longer to publish, it would have been out of date just as quickly. In my opinion, if nothing had changed, it might indicate a sort of stagnation within the industry and that in itself would not be good. Change is often good. Unless Covid-19 is the reason, then it is probably not good. But, for the purposes of The Okanagan Wine Tour Guide, change is a sign that the industry is strong and in demand. And that is good.
In the uncertainty of the pandemic times surrounding our world, what the wine industry here is most scared of is the change in business model. Wineries are no longer going to be able to have patrons lined up 3 deep at their tasting bar. There might not even be enough people around to do that. Some things are probably going to change more than others.
What will not change (or at least, I hope will not change) is the British Columbian’s love and support of their local wine industry. In responding to questions for an article in a newspaper in my home province of Quebec, I noted that BC has had an incredibly supportive local market for almost 20 years. When I first visited BC for the Millenium New Years, I bought a bottle of Sumac Ridge sparkling wine to bring to the party. I knew little about wine and even less than little about BC wine but I remember that people at the party that night all new about Sumac Ridge and all knew that they made great wine. The local market here will likely support BC wineries but how they do it might change. Instead of touring around the Okanagan looking for new wineries, they will need to find out about them in other ways.
Perhaps a good book about all of those wineries would be helpful?