New B.C. wine task group focused on continued industry growth

VICTORIA – A task group including 11 leading British Columbia wine producers has been established with an industry mandate to make recommendations on ways to improve the appellation system for wine produced from 100% B.C. grapes, Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick announced today.

The BC Wine Appellation Task Group will review the current system of appellations and the BC Vintners Quality Alliance program (BC VQA), in order to recommend changes to the Wines of Marked Quality Regulation. Appellations are used to legally identify where grapes for B.C. wines are grown. The task group was initiated by the BC Wine Institute Board of Directors, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and the BC Wine Authority.

The BC Wine Appellation Task Group industry members are:

  • Ezra Cipes, Summerhill Pyramid Winery
  • Christine Coletta, Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
  • Bill Eggert, Fairview Cellars
  • Andy Johnston, Averill Creek Vineyards
  • Derek Kontkanen, Inniskillin Okanagan
  • Ian MacDonald, Liquidity Wines
  • Christie Mavety, Blue Mountain Winery
  • Harry McWatters, Time Estate Winery
  • JAK Meyer, Meyer Family Vineyards
  • Rhys Pender, Little Farm Winery
  • Don Triggs, Culmina Family Estate Winery
  • James Mack, Ministry of Agriculture

The BC Wine Appellation Task Group will begin meeting in April and all of their recommendations will be presented to the industry. These recommendations would then be put to a vote to all B.C. wine producers. The proposed improvements will then be presented to the B.C. government in Fall 2015.


Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick –

“We are proud of our award winning B.C. wine industry and are always looking at ways to strengthen the quality reputation they receive both here at home, and around the world. I want to thank the individuals in the BC Wine Appellation Task Group for offering their guidance and I look forward to reviewing their recommendations.”

BC Wine Appellation Task Group chair Ezra Cipes –

“The quality of wine produced in B.C. has improved exponentially since the BC VQA appellation was put in place 25 years ago. Now reviewing that system and updating it will help set us up for even greater quality, international recognition and success for the next 25 years and beyond. This is a great opportunity for the entire B.C. wine industry.”

Quick Facts:

  • In 2005, the British Columbia Wine Authority was established to administer the Wines of Marked Quality Program.
  • There are five designated wine regions in B.C. including: Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, and Gulf Islands. They produce more than 80 different grape varieties.
  • B.C. grape growers have more than doubled production since 2000. The top 10 most planted wine varieties in 2014 include: Merlot, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.
  • In 2013, B.C. grape growers generated farm cash receipts of almost $45 million. In that same year, B.C. wine exports were valued at $7.8 million nearly quadrupling since 2008.
  • The province’s wine industry has a $2 billion economic impact and is a significant driver to the provincial economy. The B.C. Wine Institute reports for every bottle of wine produced in B.C., there is $42 of economic impact generated.

Learn More:

BC Wine Appellation Task Group:

British Columbia Wine Institute:

BC Wine Authority: