Celebrate the Wines of British Columbia: BC Wine Industry Quarterly Review
We are excited to share our Celebrate the Wines of British Columbia Newsletter with you to highlight and review what the BC Wine Institute has been up to in the last three months.

Through this newsletter, as well as our presence on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, we invite you to connect with the BC Wine Institute. Please feel free to give us your feedback at any time.
In This Issue

Attorney General Suzanne Anton announced December 19 that as of April 1, 2015, 100% BC wine exclusively could be sold on select grocery store shelves. In making the announcement, Anton stated this was the second phase of the liquor-in-grocery model and will align with the earlier announced "store-within-a-store" criteria - maintaining a minimum of 10,000 sq. ft. and approximately 75% focus on food products and service - to allow existing BC VQA wine stores and independent wine stores to relocate or transfer their licence to an eligible grocery store - to sell only 100% BC wine. Of note, and similar to existing BC VQA wine stores, these licences are not subject to the one-kilometre restrictions, allowing more flexibility and choice of locations when moving into a grocery store.


Anton also announced there will be a yet-to-be-announced limited number of additional licences for 100% BC wine grocery shelf sales that the BCWI continues to advocate be under industry control to ensure fair and equitable producer access and treatment.

The implementation of 100% BC wine on grocery store shelves marks a watershed moment for both consumers and the BC wine industry. It also provides further confirmation of the provincial government's recognition of the BC wine industry's contribution to BC's home-grown economy.  It couldn't have happened without the determination and doggedness of the BCWI board and member wineries ensuring government listened and understood the impact our industry has in creating and supporting BC jobs.


Huge kudos to all involved!


Miles Prodan


The Wines of British Columbia continue to flourish with the end of November numbers showing an increase of 12.45% in dollar sales over the same period in 2013 and a record market share of 20.78%. All distribution channels in British Columbia reported growth in both dollar sales and volume, an impressive outcome as a result of the efforts of the BC wine industry consistently producing and marketing the highest quality wines.


BC Liquor Stores celebrated BC VQA wines in both October and December. The holiday season is a very competitive period for liquor sales and I am pleased to report that BC Liquor Store counter sales were up 10.42% on 2013 numbers. An impressive result in this extremely competitive channel.


As the days turned cooler and consumers' thoughts turned to snow, the Wines of British Columbia launched a digital winter wine touring campaign, reminding consumers that many wineries remain open year round and wine touring is a wonderful way to spend free time when the weather is cold and grey outside.


As awareness and recognition of the Wines of British Columbia continues to grow internationally, we welcomed the buying team from Marks & Spencer in the United Kingdom. This chain is looking to release BC wines in their stores in the fall of 2015.


At home, our BC VQA wine stores came together to promote holiday wines by distributing a flyer to more than 100,000 households around the province. Customers had the opportunity to win a fabulous Wine Country getaway which was generously donated by the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association.


Finally, as ski hills opened their doors to welcome the first tourists of the season, the BC Wine Institute worked to ensure that wine service restaurant staff on the slopes have BC VQA wines fresh in their minds by delivering the Wines of British Columbia Ambassador program on-site at both Whistler Blackcomb and Big White Ski Resort.


Maggie Anderson

The BCWI's third quarter saw the close of the busiest part of wine touring season, as wineries became occupied with harvest for table grapes and, for many, an earlier than normal start for Icewine harvest.

From a communications perspective, harvest is a busy time. Media are looking to be the first to know who is picking, which grapes were first off the vine and any indications on the potential for the quality of the vintage. In 2014, we had a lot of good news to share. For most areas it was either an early harvest or right on schedule, with few issues and fairly ideal conditions throughout.The result: high expectations for a fantastic 2014 vintage release this spring.


The Icewine harvest in particular was notable in 2014, as many wineries posted all time records for early harvest dates. Our press release announcing harvest was picked up by media far and wide, most notably by US-based Wine Spectator magazine.

During the last quarter, our other primary target export market, Hong Kong, was the focus of a media and trade familiarization tour in the Okanagan region. Two media and two sommeliers from the China Club and Shangri-La, respectively, travelled the region for eight days. The media, working for Hong Kong Economic Journal and Cup Magazine, will produce two extensive multi-page spreads that will reach hundreds of thousands of readers in that emerging market.

On the heels of the Hong Kong group, another in-region trade familiarization tour in October gave a group of British Columbia retail store buyers and restaurant sommeliers the opportunity to taste some new wines. The group was impressed with the array of wines they tasted and all found some new wines they planned to add to their cellar or store shelves.

After a busy year of educating and promoting BC VQA wine, it was exciting to finish 2014 with the announcement of BC VQA's 25th Anniversary in 2015. The anniversary will be the theme of many of our media events, familiarization tours and activities in 2015. We invite you to welcome the year with a toast to 25 years of BC VQA.

Tracy Clark

From September to November, sales of BC VQA wine saw positive growth across the board. Here are some highlights from that three-month period:
  • October saw BC VQA winery direct sales at a record high of 28.19% of total BC market dollars.
  • BC VQA winery direct sales (dollars) continued to post high growth of 16% - 20% over the previous year.
  • BC VQA provincial wine market share (dollars) saw a record high for the tenth consecutive month in November at 20.78%.
  • BC VQA growth has outpaced total market (dollars) since August 2013, currently by 5%.
  • BC VQA provincial wine market share (litres) sustained a record high over three months at 15.21% in November.
An integrated digital marketing campaign to encourage travel to wine country during the winter months, typically one of the slowest times to travel, launched in November. The campaign includes the use of Google Adwords, display ads, advertisements and boosted posts on Facebook and Twitter. The call to action was to visit WineBC.com to book your trip. The campaign will run until mid-March with messaging to encourage people to travel now.

Since the start of the campaign, likes on the Wines of British Columbia Facebook page have climbed by more than 20%. Twitter followers have grown by more than 400 new users in just eight weeks. The final report, including website analytics, will be compiled at the end of the campaign.

6,000 gold organza bags and tags wrapped the bottles of 16 BC VQA wines in BC Liquor Stores in December, as selected by Stephen Schiedel, BC Liquor Distribution Branch Portfolio Manager. Seven billboards were commissioned for around the Lower Mainland throughout the month of December, which featured an engaging creative of this in-store gift bag promotion, with the tagline "BC VQA Wines - All Wrapped Up In Your Local BC Liquor Store."

During the promotion, 30 BC VQA wine tastings were conducted in 10 participating BC Liquor Stores. Each tasting featured three different wines, giving spotlight to each participating wine multiple times.


A flyer promoting BC VQA Wine Stores was distributed to 100,000 households around BC in December. Along with great specials, the flyer showcased an opportunity to "Win a Trip for Eight to Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country". The prize was generously offered in partnership with the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association, along with a variety of in-store draws for prizes from featured wineries.



To raise the profile of BC VQA wines within the BC Liquor Stores channel, 
key media and wine educators were invited to take part in a unique comparative tasting of unfermented grape musts and nine featured wines in October, led by Rhys Pender, MW.

Media were engaged with lively conversation about BC's winemaking trends and the 
upcoming vintage. Positive feedback and press coverage supported the concurrent 18 in-store tastings in six participating stores in BC's Lower Mainland, each location hosting three tastings. In total, 1,350 samples were poured for consumers resulting in the sale of 283 bottles of the nine featured BC VQA wines.
Direct and indirect media coverage of the BC Wine Institute and Wines of British Columbia and its members reached nearly 75 million people from October 1 to December 31.

Value for media coverage totaled $411,603, nearly a 30% increase over the previous quarter and the third quarter in a row to mark a substantial increase. The chart below is a highlight of the articles released by country.

Q3 2014

During that period, the BC Wine Institute hosted a group of media and trade from Hong Kong, one of the primary export markets for the organization. In addition, media were invited to attend the Wines of British Columbia Ambassador Program that was held during Cornucopia at Whistler.


Food & Wine Pairings: Exploring the Beautiful Wines of British Columbia
This article ran following the release of BC VQA wine at Whole Foods Market stores in Seattle and Oregon. A media launch dinner, held in Seattle, provided an opportunity for media to taste the wine and meet winemakers and proprietors from the participating BC wineries.

In November, the BC Wine Institute issued a press release announcing the start of harvest, which generated extensive media coverage throughout BC and beyond. Most notable was the small article that ran on Wine Spectator's website.

WATCH: Latest acreage report: focus on quality, not quantity
Global BC TV has a wide reach and this piece was no exception, with measured views of this report reaching more than 2.5 million people. This was the result of a press release issued by the BCWI.

Canada: A Land of Great Wines to Discover
In the fall, two French writers attended the BCWI's Fall Colour BC VQA Release trade tasting and ChefmeetsBCGrape, before travelling to the Okanagan Valley to visit the region.


In order to ensure the Wines of British Columbia stay top of mind in key markets and to ensure consumers and industry remain informed on issues affecting the industry, the BC Wine Institute regularly issues press releases to a group of more than 300 media primarily in Canada and the US.

The full list of press releases issued in the last quarter, and beyond, is located in WineBC.org's Press Room.

Wines of British Columbia We are pleased to welcome Kimberley Barnes to the BCWI team as our Marketing Manager.


Kim has a wealth of marketing experience in both private and public sectors, not-for-profit associations and, most recently, as the Marketing Manager for Select Wine & Spirits in Alberta. Kim's qualifications include WSET level 3 and ISG level 2.


Please join us in welcoming Kim to the BCWI team and the BC wine industry! Kim can be reached at KBarnes@WineBC.com.


The BC Wine Institute currently has 137 member wineries and 12 grapegrower partners.


This quarter, we welcomed the following new members:

To view the complete list of members, click here.
British Columbia Wine Institute: Visit us online at
WineBC.com (consumer) | WineBC.org (member & media) 

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