Welcome to The Vine, a quarterly 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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BC VQA Wines have the holidays all wrapped up with the British Columbia Wine Institute (BCWI)'s annual Bag & Tag promotion in BC Liquor Stores!

Throughout the month of December, 12 BC VQA Wines will be presented in gold organza gift bags on the shelves of 20 BC Liquor Store locations. Making gift-giving even easier are the gold-wrapped gift tags adorning participating bottles.
Customers will also have the chance to try before they buy at 32 in-store tasting events showcasing the 12 featured BC VQA Wines. 

To view the list of participating wines and stores, as well as the in-store tasting schedule, click here

Looking for some help with your holiday wine selections? Click here to see our recent BC VQA wine buying guide on Global News. 

BC VQA Wines Featured in BC & Alberta
There is certainly no shortage of BC wine events this season! Below are a few of the highlights, but for a full list of events please visit WineBC.com.

Dine Out Vancouver Logo
JANUARY 15 TO 31, 2016

Every Story Starts with a Reservation. 

Canada's largest food and drink festival Dine Out Vancouver is dishing up unlimited ways to enjoy the flavours of the city. Choose from a 17-day calendar of culinary events and experiences, hundreds of restaurants throughout the city and dozens of hotel options to create delicious dining experiences January 15 to 31, 2016. It's the tastiest time to visit Vancouver!

As the BCWI is the official wine sponsor, all prix-fixe menus ($20, $30, $40) at the 250+ participating restaurants will be paired with BC VQA Wines. The Wines of British Columbia is also proud to sponsor several events, including 6 Course Discourse taking place on Tuesday, January 19. A BC VQA wine and canapé reception followed by 6 chefs speaking about their inspirations and what drives them & their culinary careers. 
Also returning this January is the highly anticipated Grape Debate presented by Alumni UBC, taking place on January 29. This year's panel of experts will debate "Should wine be made to age, or made to drink?" All bets are off in this lighthearted, yet serious debate, though everyone walks away a winner as a festival-style wine tasting featuring 20 BC wineries will follow the debate. 
For tickets and details on these and the many other events of the Dine Out Vancouver Festival, visit DineOutVancouver.com 


Sip, Savour, Save

Come out & dine at some of the more than 40 participating restaurants in this year's Dine Around Thompson Okanagan (formerly known as Wine and Dine Thompson Okanagan) offering special culinary dishes and BC VQA Wine pairings January 21 to February 7, 2016. Once again, the event will celebrate the best cuisine in the region with participating restaurants offering delectable set menus for $15, $25 or $35, each with suggested BC VQA Wine pairings. With more participating restaurants than ever this year, this is the biggest dining event in the Thompson Okanagan to date!
New this year is the first local Grape Debate where local winemakers and chefs will deliberate the long-standing dilemma of pairing local wines with local food. "Should the food be paired to the wine or the wine paired to the food?" This event will be followed with the Launch Party featuring 15 BC Wineries and local restaurants showcasing their Dine Around dishes. For full event and ticket details, click here


Once again, Victoria's most anticipated dining event, Dine Around & Stay in Town Victoria will be taking place February 19 to March 6, 2016. Get ready to tickle your taste buds and dive into their culinary scene paired with BC VQA Wines at more than 60 participating restaurants. Restaurants will offer three course menus priced at $20, $30, $40 or $50 per person. 
Choose to stay the night! Many of Victoria's hotels offer accommodations during the event with rates of $69, $79, $99 or $129!
Be in the know by attending the Menu Launch on Thursday, February 18, 2016. Enjoy an evening of tasty menu selections and delicious BC VQA Wines as Dine Around & Stay in Town Victoria shares all the exciting details for this year's event! For full event details, visit TourismVictoria.com

MARCH 4 TO 13, 2016

Treat Your Tastebuds

For 10 days in March, Calgary's finest foodies will descend on downtown to celebrate world-class cuisine and BC VQA Wines with the following meal selections:
Lunch: $15 and/or $25 per person
Dinner: $25 and/or $35 per person
Gourmet: $65 per person (5 courses)
If that's not enough to satisfy your inner gourmand, there will also be eight signature events featured throughout these 10 amazing days with Chefs and Winemakers working together to bring you the ultimate perfectly paired BC VQA Wine dining experiences.  
You can also pick up your new BC VQA favourites at Coop Wine Spirits Beer which will be featuring a BC VQA in-store promotion in March 2016 with a chance to win a five-day British Columbia wine vacation for two to British Columbia's Wine Country.
Click here to learn more about these events as information becomes available.  

8 Days. 50 Events. 26 BC Wineries. 
The Vancouver International Wine Festival is one of the biggest and oldest wine events in the world, offering something for every level of wine drinker, collector and trade professional. From February 20 to 28, 2016, more than 50 wine events will take place, including the highly anticipated International Festival Tastings on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. 
The Wines of British Columbia is excited to once again be part of the Vancouver International Wine Festival. Be sure to visit this year's Wines of British Columbia regional booth to learn about our diverse wine regions, how local terroir is reflected within our wine, and sample a broad selection of BC VQA Wines from across the province. 
In addition to our regional booth, 26 BC wineries will showcase more than 100 BC wines during the Festival Tastings. Come meet the people behind your favourite BC wines and experience some of the best BC has to offer. The 2016 participating BC wineries are: 
Averill Creek Vineyard
Poplar Grove Winery             
Bartier Bros. Vineyard & Winery
Quails' Gate Winery
Black Sage Vineyard
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
See Ya Later Ranch
Culmina Family Estate Winery
Stoneboat Vineyards
Gold Hill Winery
Summerhill Pyramid Winery
Harper's Trail Estate Winery
SunRock Vineyard
Thornhaven Estates Winery
Hester Creek Estate Winery
Tightrope Winery
Meyer Family Vineyards
TIME Estate Winery
Mission Hill Family Estate
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
Osoyoos Larose
Unsworth Vineyards
Painted Rock Estate Winery
Wayne Gretzky Okanagan
To learn more about the VIWF, visit VanWineFest.ca

Wines of British Columbia Support
CBC Radio-Canada Food Bank Drive
This holiday season, buying local means supporting your local communities. The Wines of British Columbia are proud to be a sponsor of the 29th Annual CBC Radio-Canada Food Bank Drive. 

Until January 3, more than 130 BC wineries are donating partial proceeds from sales in BC VQA Wine Stores towards this worthy cause. Look for the BC VQA Food Drive neck tags  in your local BC VQA Wine Store

We want to thank all participating wineries for their gracious support and also send a big thank you to you, our valued customers, for getting behind this initiative to support your local wineries and communities this holiday season. 

Click here to listen to BCWI CEO Miles Prodan launching the initiative on the CBC Early Edition with Rick Cluff.

Wine Tourism on the Rise
Wine tourism in BC is on the rise, reporting a record high in visitors and sales this year, and gaining accolades as a world-class wine destination from publications and wine critics around the world. 

In recent years, the Okanagan Valley was named one of the 10 Best Wine Destinations of 2015 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, ranked #1 Wine Destination Around the World by The Huffington Post and dubbed the Second Best Wine Region to Visit by USA Today. In August, the BC Wine Institute hosted acclaimed UK wine writer Steven Spurrier, here in BC for the first time, and in the fall edition of The Somm Journal he proclaimed, "For me, wine is the three Ps: the place, the people and the product. British Columbia ticks all three boxes with exuberance, elegance and conviction." 

BC's Wine Regions are already making a mark on 2016 lists as well, making Travel + Leisure's Best Places to Travel in 2016 and being featured in a recent USA Today article Canada's wine country: Where to taste and tour in every region

Wine touring, which had long been the sole venture of connoisseurs and official "wine lovers" now attracts a much broader range of tourists who are looking for a variety of experiences. "Wine tourism is still relatively new in British Columbia, though more and more people are expressing an interest in it, as evidenced by many of BC's wineries expanding their guest experiences to include more than simply wine tasting," notes Maggie Anderson Marketing Director for the British Columbia Wine Institute.

Of the 320 wineries in BC, 275 of them have now opened their doors to wine tourism offering services including tastings, on-site restaurants and shops, wine and food pairing experiences, cooking classes, vineyard tours, concerts, accommodation and much more. 

To plan your next visit to BC Wine Country, visit WineBC.com.

Icewine Harvest Begins!
Pickers braving the cold at Tantalus Vineyards
With sub-zero temperatures arriving in the Okanagan in late November, BC's annual Icewine harvest arrived early as wineries north of Penticton start picking grapes for BC's "liquid gold."
After last vintage's second-earliest start on record on November 12, 2014, winemakers and viticulturists in BC are collectively rejoicing at the early arrival of freezing temperatures with the first day of Icewine harvest in the Okanagan starting on Wednesday, November 25 and continuing into the early morning hours on November 26. Harvested at minus 8°Celsius or below, the wine made from these frozen grapes must reach quality standards including 35 brix of sugar to be called true Icewine.  
This year, 20 wineries expressed interest in producing Icewine for a potential harvest of 722 tons from approximately 169 acres. Last year there were 844 tons picked. 
The first 2015 Icewine grapes were brought in by Volcanic Hills Estate Winery in West Kelowna on Wednesday, November 25 just after 6 AM with temperatures at -13°C (8.6°F), bringing in four tons of Chardonnay and four tons of Pinot Noir. At midnight on November 26, they resumed picking, bringing in another five tons of Riesling. President Bobby Gidda reports that the overall quality is very good with very sweet characters, noting they got over 40 brix in their Chardonnay. "Being such a hot year, I thought a lot of the crop would've fallen off, but the large clusters of grapes were all hanging in there and I'm seeing nice sugars in the fruit. I think it's going to be a very good vintage for Icewine," says Gidda. 
This is the third consecutive year BC's Icewine harvest has started as early as November and many winemakers, including David Paterson at Tantalus Vineyards in Kelowna are thrilled. "It's awesome when we get Icewine in November," says Paterson, "This is my seventh Icewine harvest so I've done late picks in January and early picks in November and I love the purity of the fruit we get in an earlier pick. The early freeze condenses the vintage allowing us to capture the ripe flavours of pure juice with wonderful natural acidity in the wines." Tantalus Vineyards had a team of 15 eager pickers ready to start Icewine harvest at 5 AM November 26 with temperatures between -8°C (17.6°F) and -10°C (14°F) in their vineyard. Paterson notes that this was the largest group of volunteers they've ever had for Icewine harvest. By 7:30 AM they completed their picking bringing in approximately 2.5 tons of Riesling and Syrah grapes for Icewine.
Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna also started their harvest Wednesday night reporting "perfect conditions for picking" in a recent interview. Winemaker Eric Von Krosigk notes that they harvested 25 tonnes with another 96 tonnes to go, and the quality is outstanding.
So far, just six wineries had started their harvests and an estimated 71.50 tons have been brought in, leaving about 650 tons still to be picked. There have been no reported pickings from the South of the Valley yet, but wineries are crossing their fingers for another cold front later this winter to complete the 2015 harvest. So far we have had a diverse range of varieties picked for Icewine including: Vidal, Riesling, Merlot, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.

Click here to view the Global News segment on the Icewine harvest, and to keep up-to-date on the harvest, follow @WineBCdotcom, #BCHarvest2015 and #Icewine on Twitter.
BC VQA Pour & Pair Contest Ends Dec. 31

You only have a couple weeks to enter to win a fabulous five-day wine tour for two exploring all that the Wines of British Columbia have to offer (valued at $5,600)! 


Day 1: Island-Hopping Wine Tour on Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands.


Day 2: The Great Estates Okanagan Valley Wine Tour.


Day 3: South Okanagan Valley Float Plane Wine Tour.


Day 4: Similkameen Valley River Float Wine Tour.


Day 5: Lake Country Stand-Up Paddle Board Wine Tour. 


To enter, simply:

  1. Take a photo of your favourite BC VQA wine, including the label on the bottle, paired with food
  2. Post it to Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #BCVQAPourandPair


Contest ends December 31, 2015. For a full list of contest terms and conditions click here*Transportation included within British Columbia only.



Contest Sponsors: 
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
Corcelettes Estate Winery
Experience Wine Tours
Hester Creek Estate Winery
Kelowna Pete's Edventures
Marine Eco Tours
Okanagan Wine Country Tours
Great Estates Okanagan
Watermark Beach Resort

Turkey Chow Mein

Photo from the Turkey Farmers of Canada
There is often an abundance of leftovers during the holidays. Thankfully, our friends at the Turkey Farmers of Canada have an extensive recipe database devoted to delicious leftover turkey recipes, including this Turkey Chow Mein. 

To see more turkey recipes and get tips on cooking the perfect bird this holiday season, visit TastyTurkey.ca

Turkey Chow Mein

Serves 6-8       
Prep time: 20 minutes            
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Perfect Pairing 
Look for an off-dry BC VQA Gewürztraminer (perhaps Volcanic Hills Estate Winery or Dirty Laundry Vineyards) or an aromatic white blend (Arrowleaf Cellars First Crush White or JoieFarm A Noble Blend). 
1 400g (14 oz.) pack chow mein noodles, blanched in boiling water according to pack instructions
3 Tbsp (45 mL) vegetable oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
4 cups (1 L) sliced Napa cabbage
1 cup (250 mL) sliced celery
1 cup (250 mL) quartered button mushrooms
1 tsp (5 mL) sugar
1 cup (250 mL) turkey stock
¼ cup (60 mL) water
2 Tbsp (30 mL) dark soy sauce
2 tsp (10 mL) toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch, dissolved in 4 Tbsp (60 mL) vegetable stock
1 227 mL can sliced water chestnuts, drained
½ red pepper, sliced
½ green pepper, sliced
2 cups (500 mL) cooked turkey meat, chopped
4 scallions, sliced
In a large colander, pour boiling water over chow mein noodles and set aside. Using a fork, gently separate the noodles until they are loosened and pour off any excess water. Keep noodles in the colander until ready to add to the balance of ingredients.

In a large skillet or wok, heat the vegetable oil on high and add onion, garlic, cabbage, celery and mushrooms. Lower heat to medium-high and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until the cabbage is wilted. Add sugar, stock, water, soy sauce, sesame oil and simmer covered for 3 minutes. Combine cornstarch and vegetable stock together until smooth then stir into the vegetable mixture along with the sliced red and green peppers, water chestnuts and chopped turkey. Add chow mein noodles, tossing gently to combine evenly. Serve with sliced scallions and enjoy

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