This week’s top ten recognizes the regionality of BC wine.
It’s a concept that, frankly, is taking shape faster in the bottle than on the label, at least from what we see and taste.
Until July of this year, there were just five Geographical Indications, or GIs, in B.C. and one sub-GI. Since then, Vancouver Island, The Gulf Islands, Fraser Valley, Okanagan Valley and the Similkameen Valley have been joined by the Thompson Valley, Shuswap, Kootenays and Lillooet regions, expanding the provincial GI list to nine, although by a small amount of wine.
The sub-GIs had stalled since the Golden Mile Bench was added to the mix in 2015. The late summer addition of the Okanagan Falls sub-GI gives some hope the Okanagan Valley will finally do something for wine consumers who are frequently asked to pay handsomely for wines that mostly come from anywhere along its 120 km-long length. The Naramata Bench voted months ago to form a recognized sub-GI, yet strangely, there has been no word from the BC Wine Authority either for or against the proposition.
We at GOW are big fans of sub-GIs, if only because when given a choice, we always want to know where the grapes come from that are in the wine we are drinking. It’s ludicrous to think that Cowichan Valley wines have anything to do with the wines of West Kelowna or that Vernon wines are the same as those grown in Osoyoos. Currently, most social media posts have better geographical information tags than the wines we are offered to buy. We agree that a sector of the public doesn’t care about the source of their wine, but we also believe they are well served by the modest legislation governing BC wine. If we are to be niche and special and unique and all the things BC that our producers love to shout about, we need more geo-tags on our top wines.
This week we pick ten interesting wines we know and taste to be from specific sites even if the label says otherwise. We hope you enjoy them.
The BC Wine Institute is currently running a contest meant to focus on the province's wine regions. You can check it out here for details on how to enter.