For the past two-and-a-half years, Vancouver Islands' Coastal Black Estate Winery has been using local blackberries and honey to produce award-winning wines and meads.
With $16,300 in funding from the B.C. government's Buy Local Program, the winery will now expand its marketing approach to achieve greater consumer awareness of their products.
The family-owned and operated 263-hectare (650-acre) estate fruit winery is based in the Comox Valley. They produce all of their own fruit right on the farm and keep bees for pollinating the vineyard. After the fruit has been harvested and the honey collected, they are used to produce wines and meads for the local Island market.
Since opening, they have found that the vast majority of their products are enjoyed by Vancouver Island residents. To take advantage of this, winery owner Abel O'Brennan said that they would like to refocus their advertising by putting an emphasis on buying locally. They will update their Web site, run radio ads, produce a newsletter and improve their point-of-sale materials to help increase sales.
The Buy Local program offers successful applicants matching funds up to $100,000 to launch or expand local food marketing campaigns.
Building the local market for B.C. foods is a key commitment of government's Agrifoods Strategy, a component of the BC Jobs Plan, to lead the agrifoods sector growth into a $14-billion-a-year industry by 2017.
The provincial government's Buy Local program is administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C., an industry-led organization fostering growth and innovation for B.C. agrifoods.
Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick -
"B.C. is home to 864 vineyards and 242 licensed wineries. British Columbians love our wines and they show their support by purchasing home-grown products from local vineyards. This is good for the economy and for our agrifoods industry."
Comox Valley MLA Don McRae -
"Vancouver Island has a diverse range of microclimates that result in vineyards producing unique, great-tasting wines. I encourage people to explore the flavours of the Comox Valley, and visit the farms, wineries and artisan food- and beverage-makers that create great tasting, local products."
Coastal Black Estate Winery, owner Abel O'Brennan -
"We couldn't be more excited to have been chosen to participate in the BC Buy Local program. Buying locally and supporting local agriculture is something that we at Coastal Black feel is very important. Every opportunity that we get to promote that is such a blessing."
- An estimated 760,000 people live on Vancouver Island.
- The agriculture sector in the Vancouver Island Coast Region alone generated close to $168 million in farm sales in 2011.
- Agri-tourism is an important and growing sector on Vancouver Island.
- Fruit wines are produced in areas where the weather is milder and can be made from a variety of sources including strawberries, raspberries, peaches, pears, apples, and rhubarb.
- Most fruit wineries are small family businesses that source their produce locally.
B.C. Buy Local program: http://www.gov.bc.ca/agri/buylocal.html
Coastal Black Estate Winery: www.coastalblack.ca
Keep up to date on the latest in B.C. foods and beverages: https://www.facebook.com/FoodsBC
Ministry of Agriculture
Coastal Black Estate Winery