We are excited to share our Celebrate the Wines of British Columbia Newsletter with you to highlight and review what the BC Wine Institute was up to during the Second Quarter of Fiscal 2016. 

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
I want to again thank everyone who was able to take time out from harvest to join us at one the BCWI's five Town Hall forums recently. Over the course of two days, we met with industry stakeholders in Kelowna, Lake Country, Keremeos, Penticton and Osoyoos. Not only did we have good attendance from member wineries, but also fruit wineries, cideries and meaderies, as well as grapegrowers.
These forums were a great opportunity for us to provide background, update and future prospects of the BC wine-on-grocery-shelf opportunity with lots of questions, feedback and discussion from the participants.  We've tried to summarize some common themes/questions that were raised, along with the recap of discussion for those who were unable to attend (see link).
Regarding BC VQA wine-in-grocery, I am pleased to announce the addition of two stores to those currently open (South Point & Fleetwood).  In the next month we will have double that many (Tsawwassen & Langley Downtown) in the lower mainland. And in four months we expect to double that again!
It's been 6 months since the first BC VQA wine store-in-grocery opened at Wines of British Columbia Save-On-Foods South Point, so thought it would be helpful to quickly summarize some results:
Currently, both BC VQA wine stores-in-grocery carry more than 900 different BC VQA wines (SKUs) from over 150 different wineries with the Fleetwood location having  capacity to shelve two facings of as many as 1800 SKUs;
  • The vast majority of these 900 + wines are not currently available in either private or government liquor stores;
  • South Point store has 20,000 - 22,000 customers through the store each week with 12,000 unique wine purchasers;
  • 70% of current display price is between $17.39 and $24.29 (tax in).
Since opening in April, South Point's weighted average sold price/bottle is $18.06 (tax in) with 76% of all wine sold >$15.00 (tax in).
In the second quarter we had the pleasure of hosting wine legend Steven Spurrier in BC at the end of August. 

During his week-long tour, Mr. Spurrier had the opportunity to taste hundreds of wines from all of BC's wine growing regions and visit over a dozen wineries in the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys. He was truly wowed by both the hospitality of everyone he met, as well as the quality of the wines. "For me wine is the three P's: the place, the people and the product. British Columbia ticks all these boxes with exuberance, elegance and conviction."

Often asked what we should be focusing on as an emerging wine region, he noted that "BC is not an emerging wine region, it's a deserving wine region." He also remarked on the fact that
 BC is often referred to as being a 'New World' wine region. "There's nothing 'New World' about what's going on in BC because 'New World' is varietal first, vineyard second. If I've seen anything anywhere in the world (apart from France, Italy, Spain and Portugal), which is more vineyard first, varietal second, it's BC."

At the end of his tour, we worked with DJ Kearney to curate the Judgment of BC in order to benchmark our wines against the best in the world. Inspired by the legendary Judgment of Paris in 1976, famously depicted in the Hollywood blockbuster "Bottle Shock," the Judgment of BC was a blind tasting of 12 Chardonnay wines and 12 Syrahs; 6 were from BC and 6 were international benchmarks. Mr. Spurrier, who was responsible for the original Judgment of Paris nearly forty years ago, and is currently the consulting editor for Decanter Magazine and Chair of the Decanter World Wine Awards, scored the wines along with 16 expert Canadian wine judges including Barbara Philip MW, Brad Royale, David Scholefield, Terry Threlfall, Tim Pawsey, Sid Cross, Kurtis Kolt, Treve Ring and John Schreiner. In the end, Syrah fared better than Chardonnay with BC's C.C. Jentsch Syrah 2013 from the Okanagan Valley ranked first among the flight of Syrah, and Soumah Chardonnay Single Vineyard 2013 from Yarra Valley, Victoria Australia came out on top for the flight of Chardonnays. For full results, click here and please see the media report below for coverage of the Judgment of BC.  
On his final evening in BC, Mr. Spurrier left us with the following words, "My final message to British Columbia is that I think you undervalue yourselves: your wines are sensational."

Click here to view Steven's first piece about his trip in The Somm Journal.  

Media activities were highly elevated in the second quarter of fiscal 2016, primarily as it relates to hosting media in region. Partnerships with other organizations including the Visa Infinite Dining series, the BC Pinot Noir Celebration and the Vancouver Arts Club, enabled the BC Wine Institute to reach more than 70 media through events held in Vancouver, Victoria and the Okanagan Valley.  In addition, the BC Wine Institute organized events and held familiarization tours for more than 25 additional media welcoming writers and bloggers from New York, Alberta, British Columbia and the venerable UK wine critic Steven Spurrier from Decanter Magazine to our beautiful region.  We are very excited about these influential media and look forward to sharing the results from publications and blogs that collectively reach millions.

Hosted Media:
Steven Spurrier (Decanter Magazine)
Bernard Kenner (New York - Quini Wine, iSante Magazine)
Michelle Kwan (New York - Gayot)
Doug Levy (New York - Wine & Food World)
Gurvinder Bhatia (Vinomania, Edmonton Journal, Global Edmonton)
James Nevison (The Province)
Mary Bailey (The Tomato)
Kate Zimmerman (City Palate)
Catherine Tse (BCLiving)
Crystal Kwon (Vancitybuzz)
Sophie Collins (Sip Savour Share - Food, Wine & Entertainment Blog, Vancouver)

Media-related Events:
BC Pinot Noir Celebration
Judgment of BC
BC VQA Salon-style VIP Tasting
Colour VIP Media & Trade BC VQA Library Tasting & Seminar
Discover VIP Media & Trade BC VQA Library Tasting & Seminar
Visa Infinite Wine Country Dining Series

We have not yet received the sales statistics for September, but here are some highlights from the first two months in the quarter: 
  • Total Provincial Wine Market Share in BC averaged 14.16%, outpacing imports by nearly 10%
  • Total BC VQA Sales Growth over the previous year averaged 14.42%
We recently received some statistics from the Canadian Vintners Association (CVA) reporting BC VQA sales by province for R12 ended June and July. 
  • Average overall sales of $245,021,100 
  • Average BC VQA Sales Growth is 3.35% over Total Sales
With an increased focus and presence in International Markets this year, we wanted to share some recent statistics showing the overall export growth. 
  • From 2013 to 2014, total exports of BC table wine were up 11%, Icewine up 35%
  • Our targeted International Markets showed the most growth with Hong Kong up 94.5% and the USA up 41% (for all, including Icewine)
During the BCWI's Annual General Meeting & Industry Symposium on July 06, 2015 at Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa in Osoyoos, several presentations were given during the meeting, including: 
Deloitte also presented their findings from the first few months of operation for the Wines of British Columbia Save-On-Foods South Point that included:
  • Small and medium BCWI wineries and non-BCWI wineries represented 73% and 82% of overall South Point sales, averaging at 77% over the 11 week period;
  • The number of units sold were 15,998 for small and medium wineries and 6,381 for large wineries for a total of 22,379 units;
  • The average price per bottle of wine was $17.81 including taxes and bottle fees. This represented an average price of $19.10 for small and medium wineries and $14.57 for large wineries.
Deloitte recommended a hybrid grocery model (both grocery & independent operators) to allow BCWI to learn from grocery best practices while maintaining a strategic stronghold of key locations and performing stores. Next steps is for the BCWI Board to finalize a long-term strategy for the BC VQA wine store licences to take advantage of the recent changes to provincial liquor distribution policies.
Following these presentations, the BC Wine Institute Industry Recognition Award 2015 was presented in honour of the late Jurgen Gothe to Jurgen's wife Kate Williams & step-daughter Colette Lynch. Presentation included a tribute video:
The Industry Symposium included an update from Parliamentary Secretary John Yap and the following presentations:
  • Mike Veseth (author of Wine Wars):
  • BC Wine Leaders Forum from Jacques-Olivier Pesme, Kedge Business School, Bordeaux:
  • BCLDB BC VQA category in BC Liquor Stores from Bill Michael (Director of Purchasing) and Stephen Schiedel (Portfolio Manager):
Back L to R: Miles Prodan, Christa-Lee Bond, Christina Ferreira, Ezra Cipes, Duncan McCowan, Charlie Baessler 
Front L to R: Josie Tyabji, Shaun Everest, Erik Fisher Missing: David Wilson and Greg Berti
During the Annual General Meeting in July, BC Wine Institute members voted for their new Board of Directors.
Nine voting BCWI Directors represent British Columbia wineries of all sizes, including large wineries (selling more than 700,000 litres annually), medium wineries (selling more than 60,000 litres annually), and the many small wineries. Newly elected or re-elected members of the Board of Directors are:
  • Christa-Lee Bond from Evolve Cellars representing small wineries
  • Erik Fisher from Monte Creek Ranch Winery representing small wineries
  • Shaun Everest from Tinhorn Creek Vineyards representing medium wineries
  • Josie Tyabji from Constellation Brands representing large wineries
  • David Wilson from Mission Hill Family Estate Winery representing large wineries
  • Charlie Baessler from the BC Grapegrowers' Association appointed as ex-officio grapegrower partner
Continuing their terms on the Board are large winery representative Greg Berti from Andrew Peller, medium winery representatives Ezra Cipes from Summerhill Pyramid Winery and Duncan McCowan from Hillside Winery & Bistro, and Christina Ferreira from Squeezed Wines as small winery representative. BCWI President Miles Prodan remains on the Board as an ex-officio member and Doug Friend (Friend Management Systems) was named the additional non-voting representative from outside the BC Wine Industry. 

The BCWI would like to thank outgoing Chairman Josie Tyabji for her dedication and direction to both the BC Wine Institute and the BC Wine Industry during her 5-year tenure. The new Board has elected Shaun Everest as Chair. The BCWI would also like to thank outgoing small winery representative Spencer Massie from Clos du Soleil for his contributions to the Board during his 2-year term. 


The Colour BC VQA Fall Release Tasting in Vancouver attracted a record number of quality attendees of nearly 550 trade and media. 90 wineries showcased more than 360 BC VQA wines. In our post-event survey, 61% of responding Vancouver attendees advised that they  have listed new BC VQA Wines after attending the event and 76% said that they were planning to.

This was the third tasting where we included a "Get to Know Our Grapes" table, co-facilitated by David Stansfield and Kurtis Kolt, showcasing a selection of BC VQA Wines from the five BC DVAs and was a great educational piece with the addition of soil samples showcasing the diversity in our vineyards.

The ultimate celebration of BC VQA wine and food, the 11th annual ChefmeetsBCGrape saw 90 wineries and 10 of BC's best restaurants showcasing their products to more than 530 savvy wine consumers. The 10 restaurants competed at the event to win two coveted awards: Best BC VQA Pairing and Best Dish. A panel of wine and food experts, including DJ Kearney, Sid Cross, Tim Pawsey, Rhys Pender and David Scholefield, tasted through each of the 10 wine paired dishes. "We're seeing a lot more creativity with the dishes this time compared to previous years," noted Rhys Pender MW.

The pairing of Okanagan Crush Pad Haywire The Bub NV and LIFT Bar Grill View's beet juice cured wild salmon gravlax, candy cane beets and foraged wild mushroom took the top prize of Best BC VQA Pairing. Coming in a close second was the Burrowing Owl Cabernet Franc 2012 paired with slow braised oxtail and tomato ragout by Torafuku.

Best Dish went to Chicha Restaurant's coconut scallop ceviche served on housemade aji Amarillo Peruvian Chili rice crackers (whose dish was paired with JoieFarm Winery's Riesling 2013).


The BCWI secured sponsorship of the Welcome Reception for the 2015 UBCM Convention held on Tuesday, September 22, 2015. This year's Convention had more than 1,100 delegates made up of elected officials and senior staff of local governments throughout BC, with representatives from almost every municipality. Ten winery tasting stations were set up throughout the room providing wineries with the opportunity to engage and promote their wines to an audience of BC local government decision-makers and influencers. The UBCM Planning Committee selection of the ten wineries provided good representation from the various BC VQA appellations. Please visit Flikr for pictures of the event.


We are the proud sponsor of several Visa Infinite Dining Series and Wine Country Series Events throughout the year. In the last quarter, more than 35 BCWI Member Wines were showcased in this spectacular dinner series that featured renowned chefs such as Ned Bell (YEW), Trevor Bird (Fable Kitchen), Brock Bowes (RauDZ), Lee Cooper (L'Abattoir), Derek Dammann (Maison Publique), and 
Mark Filatow (Waterfront Wines). The Wines of British Columbia were featured at the following events in Q2: 
  • Church & State Wines (Vancouver Island), July 24
  • Liquidity Bistro (OK Falls), August 21 with Steven Spurrier
  • The Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl (Oliver), September 11
  • BC Grand Okanagan Wine Country Weekend, September 26-27
    • Dining locations: 50th Parallel Estate Winery (Lake Country), Old Vines Restaurant at Quails' Gate Winery (West Kelowna) and Tantalus Vineyards (Kelowna)

Our Buy Local program "BC VQA. Or you could call it BC DNA" launched on July 11 appealing to British Columbians' sense of local pride and driving home the message that when you choose a BC VQA Wine, you are enjoying a product that is 100% from British Columbia.
To celebrate the launch of the program, BC VQA Wines were featured on the Global Morning News on Saturday, July 11 during their Saturday Sip segment and on Thursday, July 16 on Claire Newell's Travel Best Bets segment. 28 top restaurants from Greater Vancouver, Okanagan Valley and Victoria showcased a vast selection of BC VQA wines with a by-the-glass on premise promotion and 64 in-store tastings were held in BC Liquor Stores throughout the lower mainland in July and August providing consumers with the opportunity to "try before they buy" more than 24 BC VQA wines resulting in 991 bottles sold. All nineteen BC VQA Wine Stores participated in a multi DVA promotion where customers purchasing wines from two or more appellations where given a free neoprene two-bottle gift bag.  Promotional material for the Buy Local #BCVQAPourAndPair social media contest was utilized for in-store displays. Each store was tagged when posting on social media to encourage additional sharing and promotion.

In addition to these events and branding, the BCWI is running a BC VQA Pour & Pair Contest on Instagram and Twitter (contest ends December 31, 2015) with a chance to win a fabulous five day multi-region BC Wine Experience for two (valued at $5,600). 


24 BC Liquor Store BC VQA Advocates and  from around the province, together with Portfolio Manager Stephen Schiedel and David Hopgood ventured through BC's Wine Country on their annual VQA Advocate Learning Experience. More than 29 wineries contributed in hosting the group. Stephen and the group were most impressed as noted below: 

Fresh from our return from the 2015 VQA Advocate Learning Experience, we would like to give a big shout out in thanks and appreciation for making this a most successful tour. Thanks goes foremost to wineries and the folks who hosted and contributed to our group in their visits, the meals and learning experiences. The ability to showcase the harvest and all that entails, plus make winemakers and other key personnel available where possible was much appreciated. Other wineries were able to provide interesting twists on the harvest that saw blind tasting of still fermenting grape must and, of course, lots of grape picking to test their ripeness. Masterclass sessions around Icewine, single vineyard wines and blend components was also a highlight for our Advocates. The presentations by Dr. Pat Bowen and Kevin Usher from the Summerland Research station also had an impact with our group, many of whom found these findings and results to be a great basis for the quality that is being achieved and rapidly exceeded (Stephen Schiedel). 

To increase awareness and penetration of BC wines amongst key Ontario trade, the BCWI provided our British Columbia Wine Ambassador BC VQA Education Session facilitated by David Lawrason to more than 80 trade made up of 50 key trade and 34 LCBO Product Consultants. To further promote BC VQA wines within the Vintages Pacific Northwest release, BC Wineries participated in an afternoon trade walk around tasting, a partnership with LCBO, Washington and Oregon with more than 200 licensee, press, educators and sommeliers attending. This was followed with an evening consumer event of more than 250 guests!
A Digital Media Campaign to support BC VQA sales in Ontario and drive consumers to the website to enter to win a trip to BC Wine Country was launched throughout August resulting in 2355 contest entries with a 45% conversion rate. In Period 5 (July 19 to August 15), 19 in-store LCBO tastings were held with 941 samples served, 191 bottles sold for a 21% conversion rate. Two of these tastings include food pairings prepared by local Chef Emily Becaj. 
Direct and indirect media coverage of the BC Wine Institute and Wines of British Columbia and its members reached more than 157 million from July 1 to September 30.

Total media value for media coverage totaled $385,886, which was nearly double the first quarter. The chart below is a highlight of the articles released by country.


Highlights from July to September:

In July, the BC Wine Institute hosted Mary Bailey, Editor for Edmonton's The Tomato Food & Drink magazine and website for a 'Meet your Maker' FAM tour. Her article came out in the September issue of the publication reaching more than 72,000 wine and food enthusiasts in print and online (pages 9 & 29).
The Tomato Food & Drinks Magazine - 36 Hours in the South Okanagan
The launch of the BC Wine Institute's Buy Local Campaign in July received major print, online and broadcast media coverage throughout the province.
Early harvest for BC wineries this year captured headlines around the country. The BC Wine Institute issued a media release stating the earliest harvest on record reaching millions of people through news publications and social media activity.
The Judgment of BC event held by the BC Wine Institute and curated by DJ Kearney in celebration of the BC wine industry's 25th anniversary of BC VQA and Steven Spurrier's inaugural visit to our region, received media attention from top Canadian wine writers, publications and media outlets from around the world. Here is one of many articles that surfaced as a result of the event, by Canadian wine writer Beppi Carosol, and watch Gurvinder Bhatia highlight the results from the competition on Global News.
The Globe and Mail - HIP HIP SYRAH!

Through the various events, media relations and advocacy initiatives we hosted in support of the Steven Spurrier FAM in August, his visit has resulted in more than 46 articles generating nearly 10 million in circulation and $110,000 in unpaid media coverage to date, with more to come. For the full list of media coverage (July 1st to September 30) from Steven Spurrier's visit click here.
In light of the second BC VQA wine-in-grocery store opening in September at Wines of British Columbia Fleetwood PriceSmart foods International in Surrey, Miles Prodan CEO/President of the BC Wine Institute went live on CBC Radio's The Early Edition to discuss BC VQA Wine on grocery store shelves with host Rick Cluff.

To view all of the Q2 media clippings, click here


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's Press Room.
The BC Wine Institute currently has 152 member wineries and 10 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 (consumer) | (member & media)