B.C. Wine Group Wants Bold Changes For the Future

Byline: Anita Sthankiya in Kelowna Now.

Grape growers, liquor industry reps and wine industry stake holders met recently to discuss longstanding issues affecting the growth of the BC wine industry sector.

The BC Wine Appellation Task Group had discussions at its formal meeting in advance of a wine industry stakeholder online survey. Four major themes have emerged from the consultations so far including; new wine appellations in BC, making certification of origin of grapes mandatory, the future of the BC VQA standard, and streamlining the auditing process.

“Look at any new world wine region and you can see they all reached a turning point such as the one British Columbia faces today,” says Ezra Cipes, Chair of the BC Wine Appellation Task Group. “Their success resulted from reaching a consensus, working together and speaking with one voice.”

The Task Group is in agreement that this is a pivotal time of growth for BC’s wine industry, and that bold steps are needed.

“It is only in recent years that we have witnessed remarkable growth in the scale and international reputation of wines produced in regions such as Washington and Oregon, New Zealand and Argentina,” adds Task Group member Ian Macdonald, president of Liquidity Wines. “Each of these wine regions went through a similar process such as the one the Task Group is conducting now, and came to discover how to gain respectability in the world of wine. We have an unprecedented opportunity to do the same for BC wine.”

The Task Group survey will be launched online beginning Monday, June 15th and close July 3rd. Winery license holders, as well as industry stakeholders from grape growing, hospitality and retail sectors as well as wine media are invited to participate. Results of the survey will be announced this summer.