British Columbians will soon see more local regions highlighted on wine labels with six new areas in the Okanagan Valley being recognized for their grape growing and wine making.
“It’s great to see more recognition for our high-quality Okanagan Valley wines and for the region’s wine makers and grape growers, many who have been part of the valley for generations,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “B.C. wines tell the story of the people who make it and the unique places it comes from. By putting a spotlight on six new growing regions and their distinct wines, we are continuing to help B.C. wines grow in popularity on the world’s stage while giving a boost to the local economy.”
The six locations are being recognized as new sub-geographical indications (sub-GI), an official and protected term under B.C. law used to help consumers identify B.C. wines’ origins. The six are: East Kelowna Slopes; Lake Country; South Kelowna Slopes; Summerland Bench; Summerland Lakefront; and Summerland Valleys.
“When a bottle of BC VQA wine is purchased, the consumer knows they have a bottle of assured quality and origin that is 100% B.C.,” said Miles Prodan, president, Wine Growers British Columbia. “Today’s approval of six new sub-GIs in the Okanagan Valley, a region known for having diverse soil types, climatic conditions and resulting styles of wine, represents official recognition of areas that stand out as having consistently unique terroir. The introduction of sub-regions of notable sense of place is the natural next step in the evolution of our wine industry, and a win for consumers and wine growers alike.”
A sub-GI distinguishes wines from the unique growing areas within a geographical indication. Each of these sub-GIs has clearly defined boundaries based on subtle differences in growing conditions. Defining geographic zones on wine labels connects consumers with the unique geographic area where the grapes are grown and the wine is made, while increasing exposure to the region for both wine and tourism businesses.
“O’Rourke Family Vineyards has always been dedicated to being 100% estate grown and 100% Lake Country,” said Stephanie Stanley, wine maker, Peak Cellars. “As the ones who initiated the sub-GI process, along with a dedicated team of fellow Lake Country grape growers and wineries, we are thrilled to officially celebrate Lake Country as a sub-GI! Both O’Rourke Family Estate (Nikki Callaway, wine maker) and Peak Cellars wineries are proud to state Lake Country on 100% of our labels, recognizing that our vineyards are planted within a very special area in the north Okanagan Valley.”
There are nine official geographical indications in the province and 12 sub-GIs. Wines labelled with geographical indications and/or sub-GIs commit to consumers that the wine was produced with a minimum of 95% of grapes grown from the specified region.
- The nine geographical indications in B.C. are the Fraser Valley, Gulf Islands, Kootenays, Lillooet, Okanagan Valley, Shuswap, Similkameen Valley, Thompson Valley and Vancouver Island.
- The 12 sub-geographical indications are the Cowichan Valley, East Kelowna Slopes, Golden Mile Bench, Golden Mile Slopes, Lake Country, Naramata Bench, Okanagan Falls, Skaha Bench, South Kelowna Slopes, Summerland Bench, Summerland Lakefront and Summerland Valleys.
- More than 60 different grape varieties are produced in B.C., including merlot, pinot gris, pinot noir, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, gewurztraminer, cabernet franc, syrah, riesling and sauvignon blanc.
Maps of the six Okanagan sub-GIs are available online: http://www.bcvqa.ca/wine-regions-of-bc/
For information about all the geographic and sub-geographic indications in B.C., visit: http://www.bcvqa.ca/wine-regions-of-bc/
For more information about Okanagan Valley wines and visiting the valley, visit: https://winebc.com/discover-bc-wine-country/okanagan-valley/
O'Rourke's Family Estate: https://www.orourkespeakcellars.com/
May 2019 release announcing Okanagan Valley sub-GIs: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019AGRI0038-000945
A backgrounder follows.