British Columbia’s winemakers, grape growers and tourism operators are taking a step toward the establishment of a learning centre geared to their specific needs, thanks to a federally and provincially funded feasibility study for a BC Wine Centre of Excellence.
The vision is that a BC Wine Centre of Excellence would exist as a platform for wine and tourism education for B.C.’s wine industry, while helping visitors learn more about the province’s unique wine-growing regions, as well as the winemaking process. It would link B.C.’s wine industry with the tourism industry, as well as post-secondary institutions.
With $75,000 in cost-shared funding from the governments of Canada and B.C., the two-phased feasibility study, being led by an industry advisory committee, will provide in-depth research on existing international wine centres of excellence. It will also offer a catalogue of business models, best practices and other relevant considerations, with respect to the development and ongoing operations of such a centre.
Additionally, the feasibility study will involve stakeholder engagement with wineries throughout B.C. to determine the feasibility and scope of a BC Wine Centre of Excellence. It is anticipated that both phases of the feasibility study will be completed by the summer of 2018.
The Province has previously committed $100,000 to the BC Wine Institute to help in the promotion of B.C. wine to British Columbians, as part of April’s B.C. Wine Month campaign.
B.C. Wine Month showcases the world-class wines that are produced in the province. British Columbia Vintners Quality Alliance (BC VQA) wine is being featured in all BC Liquor Stores, and sommeliers and chefs are teaming up for wine and food-pairing events in BC VQA wine stores.
Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay –
“The Government of Canada is proud to support our wine industry’s growth and competitiveness. The development of a learning centre will help strengthen B.C.’s wine industry and increase awareness of Canadian grape-growing, processing and agri-tourism.”
B.C. Minister of Agriculture, Lana Popham –
“B.C.’s wine industry is made up of family-run vineyards and wineries that have chosen farming and winemaking as their passion and profession. The sector has a great story to tell, and the commitment announced today is building the momentum for a location that will showcase and celebrate B.C. wine and tourism.”
Miles Prodan, president and CEO, BC Wine Institute –
“As the B.C. wine industry undertakes development of a long-term vision and strategy for our industry, a wine centre of excellence has the opportunity of playing a major role of ensuring the viability and longevity of our industry.”
Jonathan Rouse, director of food, wine and tourism, and associate dean, Okanagan College school of business –
"This wine centre of excellence provides an incredible opportunity to leverage the diverse talent supporting the wine industry, ensuring its future success and continued growth within a highly competitive marketplace — from developing tourism experiences to marketing B.C. wine internationally."
- The $25,000 funding towards phase 1 of the feasibility study for the development of a BC Wine Centre of Excellence comes from Growing Forward 2, and $50,000 for phase 2 under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
- The five-year, $3-billion Canadian Agricultural Partnership, launched on April 1, 2018, includes $2 billion in cost-shared strategic programs delivered by the provinces and territories, and $1 billion for federal programs and services.
- The Canadian Agricultural Partnership replaces Growing Forward 2, the five-year federal-provincial agreement that ended on March 31, 2018.
- B.C. is home to 929 vineyards, including more than 350 licensed wineries.
- There are 4,130 hectares of wine grapes grown in B.C.
- More than 60 grape varietals are produced in the province, including Merlot, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.
- In 2016, B.C. wine exports increased 4% over the previous year to $9.7 million, shipped to 17 international markets.
- The top international markets for B.C. wine in 2016 were China (54%), Taiwan (23%) and the United States (11%).
- B.C.’s wine industry employs about 12,000 people, and has an economic impact of $2.8 billion annually on the province’s economy.
BC Wine Institute: www.WineBC.com
BC Liquor Stores: www.BCLiquorStores.com
B.C. Wine Month: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018AGRI0010-000209
Canadian Agricultural Partnership: http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/about-us/key-departmental-initiatives/canadian-agricultural-partnership/