Welcome to The Vine, a newsletter brought to you by the Wines of British Columbia! 

The Vine is your guide to everything BC Wine, including upcoming BC VQA Wine events, BC VQA Wine news, specials and promotions, BC Wine Country touring tips and contests! 

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25th Anniversary of 
BC VQA Founders
Back in 1990, a group of BC winemakers and grapegrowers decided to join forces and form the British Columbia Wine Institute (BCWI) and the British Columbia Vintners Quality Alliance (BC VQA). The industry has grown exponentially since then.

Founding member George Heiss of Gray Monk Estate Winery shared, "25 years ago, we needed to implement standards for the industry," going onto say, "Establishing BC VQA was the starting point to help move our industry forward. Now, with over 240 wineries in BC, we continue to be amazed at the growth and feel that BC VQA wines are essential to our industry's growth and success."

Heiss was one of only seven founding members of the BC Wine Institute, many of whom are still in business today, including Adolf Kruger of Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery in Okanagan Falls, Lanny Martiniuk from Stoneboat Vineyards and Harry McWatters of TIME Estate Winery, both based in Oliver, BC.

The founding of the BC Wine Institute and, subsequently, the Vintners Quality Alliance in BC resulted from the onset of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). What followed was the removal of the majority of French hybrid and labrusca vines, which were soon replaced with the vinifera varieties which today make up 97% of the total BC wine grape acreage and have helped put BC wines on the map.
McWatters points out that it was the free trade agreement that had the most significant impact on BC's wine industry at the time and that it was out of this that the BC VQA program truly set the course for the BC wine industry. "We adopted meaningful standards that gave consumers confidence in truth in labeling and recognition of quality."

It's exactly these measures that have helped establish and elevate BC VQA wines to the level of global recognition they have today and provided consumers the confidence that they are drinking wine made from 100% BC grapes as a result.

"Given the fact that the BC wine industry has experienced such rapid growth over the last 25 years and BC VQA wines have continually drawn global attention and acclaim, the BC VQA designation program has come to play an even more important role," says Miles Prodan, BC Wine Institute President and CEO. "We haven't reached capacity for what we can do here... We look forward to solidifying our reputation as producers of premium wine on the international stage."

For more information on BC VQA and the Wines of British Columbia, visit WineBC.com.

ENTER TO WIN | BC Wine Tour Vacation


Residents of Alberta and Ontario can enter a sweepstakes to 
Win a British Columbia Wine Tour Vacation for Two!

The prize package will include flights, lunch, dinner, accommodations and winery visits for three days of exploring British Columbia's Okanagan Valley wine region.

Stay, tour, taste and feast your way around Okanagan Wine Country, 
including visits to: 

A selection of top BC wineries have been chosen to partake in the Visa Infinite Wine Country Series this year. Registered Visa Infinite and Visa Infinite Privilege cardholders can enjoy exclusive access to special benefits at over 30 wineries in British Columbia, featuring everything from one-of-a-kind, carefully crafted winery experiences, exclusive wine tastings, discounts and access to a series of long-table dinners held at breathtaking and elegant winery estates. 

Each long-table dinner will be a memorable and unparalleled occasion that brings the best Canadian wineries together with food prepared by some of BC's most prominent and distinguished chefs. Guests can even prolong the culinary experience by making a weekend of it by booking a complete escape for the senses.

Visa Infinite and Visa Infinite Privilege cardholders have access to the Dining Series, a collection of unique and innovative culinary events with Canada's most celebrated chefs. Events are an experience of intriguing culinary explorations with prized chefs, exquisite dining with award-winning BC wines, held throughout the year in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

For more details on exclusive events and cardholder benefits, visit VisaInfinite.ca.

STORE SPOTLIGHT | Mud Bay Wines - Tsawwassen
With 19 BC VQA Wine Stores across British Columbia exclusively selling BC VQA wines, there is never a shortage of BC wine to choose from. Here's your chance to get to know one of the passionate and knowledgeable supporters of BC wines, Mud Bay Wines.

Mud Bay Wines is a neighbourhood BC VQA store carrying over 600 different BC wines, located in Tsawwassen, south of Vancouver. Through longstanding relationships with BC VQA wineries the staff at Mud Bay Wines are able to source many difficult-to-find wines, including small lot wines and other hidden gems.

To help build a sense of community in their Tsawwassen neighbourhood, Mud Bay Wines hosts weekly complimentary tastings, showcasing new and exciting releases, as well as a monthly sale on select products.

Mud Bay Wines is the community's go-to for more than just BC VQA wines: the store also carries a wide selection of glassware, decanters, specialty food products, wine books and cookbooks to cover every occasion.

Mud Bay Wines is located in the Tsawwassen Town Center Mall, at Unit 107, 1315 - 56 Street Delta, BC V4L 2A6. 

Visit MudBayWines.com for more information.

From soil to sunshine to slope of vineyard, each bottle of BC wine delivers a diverse sensory experience that is as extraordinary as the province itself.  Every sip is a charming reflection of the people and the land from which it is crafted. The Fraser Valley is making waves in terms of quality and production.

Since first making its way onto the map in 1991, when Domaine de Chaberton was established as a winery, the region has grown to 19 grape wineries. Scattered throughout the region, the vineyards predominantly grow Pinot Noir, Bacchus, Pinot Gris, Siegerrebe and Madeleine Angevine.

Mostly flat, with an occasional rolling hill, the Fraser Valley has fertile soil that's predominantly silty and high in organic matter. The area, close to the Fraser River, is part of Vancouver's agricultural mecca.

Want to learn more? Discover Fraser Valley wine region information, wineries and wine touring details on WineBC.com.

Want to visit the Fraser Valley Wine Region? 
Use the Trip Planner to browse wineries, get directions and share your trip!

PERFECT PAIRINGS Fairview Cellars & The Abbey

The Abbey, one of Vancouver's newer Gastown hotspots, has kindly shared their favorite BC VQA wine and food pairing. Chef and proprietor Andrey Durbach has provided us with a Perfect Pairing Recipe!

Michel Durocher, managing partner at The Abbey, explains "One of the more refined Pinot's in British Columbia; this is an elegant Pinot Noir with more Old World earthy notes that pairs perfectly with our Rabbit alla Cacciatore. The acidity in the wine is great for cutting through some of the richness in the dish. Paired with the rabbit, beautiful notes of cherry will start to show. 

This is one of Bill Eggert of Fairview Cellars' wines, where he has become known in the province for producing some of the most consistent full bodied and structured reds. He continues his great work at allowing the grapes to be true to their own nature by utilizing a very light, almost delicate approach in working with the varietal."

2 rabbit hind legs, about 200g each
2 thick slices of pancetta, diced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
10g dry porcini mushrooms, soaked in 125 mL warm water, liquid reserved
6 button mushrooms, quartered
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary, stem removed
4 sage leaves, torn into pieces
1/2 tsp. red chilli flakes
1/2 tsp. whole fennel seed
1 cup canned Italian plum tomatoes, with juice, roughly chopped
150 ml red wine
50 ml brandy
To taste, salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 350*F. In a cast iron pan, or ovenproof metal casserole, render the diced pancetta in the olive oil until lightly browned, keeping all the pancetta fat in the pan. Add all the remaining vegetables (except tomatoes), herbs and spices, and cook slowly for 10 minutes. If the pan looks dry, another one or two tablespoons of olive oil can be added. Add to the pan the reserved porcini mushroom liquid, red wine, brandy and tomatoes. Season the rabbit legs with salt and pepper and add to the pan--no need to brown them. Turn heat up to high, and bring to a boil, spooning the chunky sauce over top of the rabbit. The rabbit should have a decent layer of the vegetables and pancetta mixture covering the top. Place a lid on the pan (or cover in tinfoil), and bake in the oven until rabbit legs are tender. This should take 45-60 minutes. Serve with soft polenta, mashed potato or fresh pasta.

Serves two.

The Abbey, a progressive tavern in downtown Vancouver, is located at 117 West Pender Street. Visit them for more BC Wine and food pairings!

Find a Perfect Pairing Recipe for any occasion on WineBC.com.