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 Third 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
By now, BC wineries should have received notification from the Liquor Distribution Branch that they are now free to set their own prices to hospitality customers. Initially, after the April 1, 2015 LDB change to the wholesale pricing model, BC winery direct delivery prices to hospitality were determined by the LDB. However, BCWI lobbying efforts to government have resulted in the policy change, effective February 1, 2016, allowing wine product available via direct delivery to hospitality customers  (i.e. not listed for sale in LDB's stores) at a price determined by the winery. For BC wine listed or delivered by the LDB, sales will remain the LDB Established Retail Price.
The transition for BCWI's Wines of British Columbia (BC VQA) wine stores to the wine-in-grocery model continues to proceed as existing operators notify the BCWI of their decision to exit the business, allowing us to consider proposals from grocery operators. To date, there are four stores located in the Lower Mainland (two of which opened in November) operated by Overwaitea Food Group under the Save-On-Foods banner. Highlights of December store sales include:
  • The four grocery stores saw 30% of total sales for December
  • Highest grossing non-grocery store was at $218 000.  Highest grocery (Save-On-Foods South Point) was 21% higher at $264 000
  • Average non-grocery gross sale was $124 000 with average grocery store 57% higher at $195 000
Year-to-date (December) sales for all non-grocery saw a 7% decrease in gross sales - similar decreases have been reported by the LRS channel and generally attributed to LDB Sunday openings & refrigeration, etc.  However, Wines of British Columbia in-grocery contributed to an overall 1.4% YTD increase for the store channel.
The BCWI has approved business plans for several other stores to transition to grocery, including Wines of British Columbia Save-On-Foods Orchard Plaza (Kelowna) scheduled to open February 18, 2016, the first here in the heart of BC Wine Country.
December saw the wrap up of our Be Label Conscious, Buy Local campaign. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to promote our BC VQA wines, with funding support from Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia. Our "BC VQA or you could call it BC DNA" campaign which ran over six months, reached millions of local BC wine consumers through television, billboard, social media and PR and specifically at the point of purchase in retail stores and restaurants. Our #BCVQAPourandPair contest received 978 photo entries through Instagram and Twitter, again reaching millions of consumers encouraging them to Buy Local. The lucky winner Carolina Morena of Kelowna will enjoy a premium BC Wine Country experience, touring multiple wine producing regions in our province, meeting the wine makers and enjoying the perfectly paired local foods. Click here to see a collage of her entries. 

As a result of our Buy Local Campaign, the work of the BCWI and the hard work of all of the wineries in BC, record sales continue for our category. In terms of provincial market share, December was the 7th consecutive month that BC VQA litre sales increased, now at 16.18% of all wine sold in BC. In December, the total market of wine sold in BC (litres) increased by 4.5% from last year, with BC VQA litres growing by 10.03% - as the BC wine sales 'pie' grows, the BC VQA 'slice' grows at over double the rate.  It is a very exciting time for the BC wine industry and we are looking forward to continuing this success in 2016!

During the third quarter, the BC Wine Institute hosted nine travel and wine media from key markets including New York, Pacific Northwest, Ontario and Vancouver.

This quarter also saw an exciting early start to Icewine harvest for some wineries in the North Okanagan, and saluted a record breaking season for wine touring, both gaining media traction internationally and nationally.

In addition, I attended GoMedia Marketplace in Penticton where direct pitching to more than 30 international and national travel and lifestyle media took centrestage. Pitching to the media continued through a large number of press releases issued during this time.

Hosted Media:
Marina Vataj (New York - Digital Editor for Wine Enthusiast)
Olga Marķa Czarkowski (New York - Lifestyle & Features Editor for Vetta Magazine)
Kelli Anderson (Sonoma - freelance writer)
Susan Barnes (Florida - freelance writer)
Tim Johnson (Toronto - freelance writer)
Catherine Tse (Vancouver - freelance writer)
Kristin Ackerman (Seattle - CEO /Publisher for SIP Publishing)
Melissa Miller (Seattle - Vice President for SIP Publishing)

For more information on our media relations efforts, see the Media Relations Summary below. 

Here are some highlights from the Q3 sales reports: 
  • Total Provincial Wine Market Share in BC averaged 16.15%, outpacing Total Market Share by over 6%
  • Total BC VQA Sales Growth over the previous year averaged 9.64%, outpacing Total Market Growth by nearly 6%
Here are some highlights from our latest export reports: 
  • As of November 2015 exports of BC wine were already up  nearly 15% over 2014
  • Our targeted International Markets showed the most growth with sales in the United States up nearly 17% 
Once again the BC Wine Institute presented the Wines of British Columbia Ambassador Program in Whistler to more than 60 wine trade, media and other VIPs. DJ Kearney facilitated the Level 1 seminar with a special focus on BC VQA celebrating 25 years of excellence and all that makes the Wines of British Columbia so special. 
After several dumps of fresh powder in early November, Big White Ski Resort was excited to announce that they would be opening early for the 2015 / 2016 ski season on Friday, November 13. This was nearly two weeks earlier than originally expected and marks the earliest the resort has opened since the 2001/2002 season.
The BC Wine Institute headed out once again to the slopes of the second largest ski resort in BC (next only to Whistler), Big White, to host the BC Wine Ambassador Program and help kick off their Big Red Festival and season. More than 30 new and returning staff from around the world attended the program with facilitator, Rhys Pender MW engaging in discussion and tasting of BC VQA wines as they prepare to welcome more than 600,000 visitors to Big White and promote our local wine industry and amazing BC VQA wines.
"Thanks again for all of your support in putting another BC VQA trade tasting together. We receive such great value out of these for our staff and resort partners." 
Trevor Hanna, VP Hospitality, Big White Ski Resort Ltd.
After delivering 25 BC Wine Ambassador seminars across the province in the summer, we still had demand from several individual restaurants and restaurant groups to deliver the seminars to their staff. In November, Kurtis Kolt facilitated six additional seminars (Ancora, Boulevard, Blue Water Cafe, Forage, Tap & Barrel, West) reaching more than 125 key restaurant sommeliers, management and staff. 
This holiday season, the BC Wine Industry was a proud sponsor of the 29th Annual CBC Radio-Canada Food Bank Drive. 
More than 130 wineries participated in this initiative, donating ten cents from each bottle sold in BC VQA Wine Stores towards the cause. 
The results are in, and during the promotion, the Wines of British Columbia raised $11,000 for the Food Bank! This translates to over $33,000 in buying power as, with every dollar, the Food Bank can purchase at least $3 work of nutritious groceries and fresh produce for the thousands of people they support each week. 

Each private liquor store has its own style when it comes to the selection of wines on their shelves and, throughout the month of November, 24 liquor stores around the province (from Bowen Island to Langley, and Penticton to Vernon) raised the provincial flag by featuring BC VQA - 100% BC wine in their stores.
Each store selected a minimum of six BC VQA wines to feature and display utilizing Buy Local creative material and host in-store tastings for the opportunity of winning Best Display and Most Creative Display.
And the winners are...
Best Display goes to Legacy Liquor Store on Manitoba Street, Vancouver (Top photo)
Most Creative Display goes to Liberty Wine Merchants on Commercial Drive, Vancouver (Bottom photo)
Congratulations and special thanks to all 24 stores for promoting and featuring BC VQA wines!
Survey Summary 
After the promotion, a survey was sent to participating stores and wineries for feedback. 85% of the responding retailers and 64% of winery respondents were satisfied with the promotion marking it "Good" or "Great." 100% of both retail and winery respondents said they would participate in a similar promotion again. The survey provided the opportunity for open ended responses of which much insight was collected that will be implemented in planning for future similar promotions.
Fall flavours were abound in BC Liquor Stores throughout the month of October with 32 tastings featuring 12 BC VQA wines, selected by Portfolio Manager Stephen Schiedel in eight Signature Stores. During the promotion, 681 bottles were sold, which is an average of 21 bottles per tasting.
Adding spice to the mix was a mini jar of gourmet Vista d'Oro Jam attached to bottles of BC VQA wines throughout 20 BC Liquor Stores in the lower mainland.  
During December, BC VQA elves visited 10 BC Liquor Stores in the Lower Mainland, applying a total of 6,000 gold organza gift bags and gift tags to participating SKUs, as selected by Portfolio Manager Stephen Schiedel. 
In addition 32 tastings (each featuring 12 BC VQA wines) were conducted in 10 participating BC Liquor Stores. Three SKUs were featured so that each participating wine was highlighted multiple times during the promotion. 

The Wines of British Columbia is the proud sponsor of the exciting Visa Infinite Dining Series.  BCWI member wineries were invited to showcase their BC VQA wines to outstanding groups of savvy, affluent wine consumers at two events this past fall.  

Calgary's Charcut hosted the dinner in mid-October with some of Canada's most exciting award-winning chefs including Vikram Vij of Vancouver's Vij's, Rangoli and My Shanti, and Connie DeSousa and John Jackson of Charcut. Together they created magical masala paired with interesting wines from these BCWI member wineries:  40 Knots Vineyard & Estate, C.C. Jentsch Cellars, Dirty Laundry Vineyards, Howling Bluff Estate Winery, Moon Curser Vineyards, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, and Terravista Vineyards. 

In December, Ask for Luigi Vancouver saw Chefs J-C Poirer, Justin Leboe, Jenn Louis, and Sommelier/MC Kurtis Kolt come together to create an intimate and relaxed evening of soul-satisfying dishes perfectly paired with BC VQA wines. Demand was so great for this event that the restaurant held two seatings with 34 guests at each family-style meal.  Bella Wines, Howling Bluff Estate Winery, Lang Vineyards, Maverick Estate Winery, Moon Curser Vineyards and Terravista Vineyards provided wine that was paired with an eight course menu.  As with all Visa Infinite Dining Series events, participating wineries were invited to attend so to have the opportunity to share their stories of the winery and the wines directly to the attendees. 
The Discover BC VQA Fall Release Tasting in Calgary on October 1, 2015 continued to see success with 32 participating wineries showcasing their BC VQA wines to 130 attending trade and media and influential buyers from Co-op Wine Beer Spirits, Vine Styles, Bin 905, Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts and many more. Please see the chart below for the attendee breakdown. 

Attendee Feedback: 
50% of responding attendees had listed a new BC VQA wine as a result of attending the tasting, and 84% planned to do so in the near future. 

"I try to send as many of our Vine Stylists as possible to this event as it is a very unique opportunity to engage with the winemakers all at the same place, and try their new releases. We have a lot of our Vine Styles customers that are BC wine lovers, and this event allows us to collect all the information to serve them better."
Nathalie Gosselin, Owner & Chief Owner Designer of Vine Styles Kensington
"That was a fantastic event you put on yesterday. Glad we took part."
Rob Hammersley, Black Market Wine Co.

Winery Feedback: 
All responding wineries reported that they developed new business relationships as a result of the tasting. 

"It was great and well attended by industry."
 Goldie Strate, Alberta Sales Manager, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards

We welcomed four key trade from the Alberta industry in late November: 
  • Brad Royale, Wine Director Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts
  • Mike Roberts, Sommelier Manager at Coop Wine Spirits Beer
  • Bryan Child, Manager Divino Bistro
  • Al Drinkle, Partner/Manager Metrovino

It was a great opportunity for this group, fully appreciative in experiencing the amazing hospitality of the BC Wine Industry and BC VQA wines. In the short weeks to follow, several new wines have already been listed with additional listings and opportunities planned for the new year. Please click here to view their bios. Below is a snapshot of some of their comments captured in follow up conversations. 
"Thank you so much for the incredible experience. Mind blowing! Diversity of style, quality and philosophy in the Okanagan is incredible. The Potential is unbelievable with exceptional wines that express the unique Okanagan climate and soil characteristics."
Direct and indirect media coverage of the BC Wine Institute and Wines of British Columbia and its members reached over 100 million people from October 1 to December 31.

Total media value for media coverage totaled $307,380. The chart below is a highlight of the articles released by country.

Highlights in the News:
Early Icewine harvest for BC wineries this year captured headlines around the country and across the US border. The BC Wine Institute issued a media release stating the third earliest Icewine harvest reaching millions of people through news publications, broadcast and social media activity.

The BC Wine Institute's Buy Local Campaign continued to receive major print, online and broadcast media coverage throughout the province.

In celebration of the holiday season, BC Wineries donated a charitable amount of BC VQA Wine Store sales during December to the Food Banks of BC. Miles Prodan CEO/President of the BC Wine Institute went live on CBC Radio's The Early Edition to discuss BC Wineries giving locally during the holiday season with host Rick Cluff.

CBC Early Edition with Rick Cluff Interview Buying Local Means Giving Local
In October, the BC Wine Institute hosted Susan Barnes, travel freelance writer from Florida, USA (in partnership with Destination BC and TOTA) for an in-region familiarization tour resulting in an article on BC wine touring in USA Today (6.6 million readership).

From his inaugural visit and familiarization tour hosted by the BC Wine Institute in August, Steven Spurrier published two articles on wine touring in BC Part 1 and Part 2 in the October/November and December/January issues of the Somm Journal.

The BC Wine Institute issued a press release announcing a record high in BC VQA Wine sales and tourism statistics from the first eight months of 2015 indicating wine tourism in BC is on the rise. The story was picked up by influential print, broadcast and web publications nation-wide.

To keep up to date with Wines of British Columbia Media Relations, please visit our Newsroom.

To view all of the Q3 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 151 member wineries and 11 grapegrower partners.
This quarter, we welcomed the following new members:

Outlaw Josey Wines (grapegrower partner)

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