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! 

Want to share your love for BC Wine? Use the hashtags #ExploreBCWine and #BCWine on your social media posts.

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Up for grabs: 3 seasonal BC VQA Wine tour experiences!

The BC Wine Institute wants you to discover all that BC Wine Country has to offer in autumn, winter and spring. For an opportunity to win a seasonal BC VQA Wine tour experience, follow these three steps:
  1. Take a photo of your favourite BC VQA Wine experience.
  2. Post your photo to Twitter or Instagram.
  3. Using the hashtag #ExploreBCWine in your post or tweet. 

It's that easy.

Prize packages include flights (within BC), accommodation and winery experiences for two. Over three days and two nights you will discover all that BC Wine Country has to offer in autumn, winter or spring. 

Visit WineBC.com/ExploreBCWine for full contest details.

What is BC VQA?
BC VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) is the appellation of origin and quality standard for the Wines of British Columbia. Established in 1990, BC VQA certified wines must meet specific standards with respect to origin, vintage and varietals. These wines are assessed by a qualified panel and also must meet the criteria for quality characteristics before they can be designated as BC VQA.

To put it simply, when you see BC VQA on a wine label, it is your guarantee that you're sipping a wine that is 100% grown and made in British Columbia.

How to read a BC wine label.

~ 100% British Columbia grapes.
~ 95% of grapes must come from the specific region mentioned on the label.
~ 85% of grapes must come from the vintage stated on the label.
~ 85% of grapes must be the stated varietal.

To find BC VQA Wines, visit WineBC.com. Listen to our BC VQA Wines radio spot.

Earning accolades around the world
BC VQA Wines are entered into dozens of competitions around the world each year and
achieve amazing success. So far in 2016, BC VQA Wines have won more than 870 awards.
Here's a snapshot of some notable awards:
  • Arrowleaf Cellars Riesling 2015 BC VQA Okanagan Valley - Trophy Best White Wine of the Year/Double Gold at All Canadian Wine Championships.
  • Arrowleaf Cellars Solstice Pinot Noir 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley - Gold at Mondial des Pinots. 
  • CedarCreek Estate Winery Platinum Block 3 Riesling 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley - Platinum at Decanter World Wine Awards.
  • Inniskillin Okanagan Vineyards Dark Horse Riesling Icewine 2012 BC VQA Okanagan Valley - Gold Outstanding at International Wine & Spirit Competition.
  • Lake Breeze Vineyards Semillon 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley - Chairman's Award at Dan Berger's International Wine Competition. Lake Breeze was also named the Best Performing Small Winery of the Year at WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada.
  • Mission Hill Family Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2015 BC VQA Okanagan Valley - Best of Varietal at San Francisco International Wine Competition.
  • Moon Curser Vineyards Carmenere 2013 BC VQA Okanagan Valley - Best of Class 96 Points at Los Angeles International Wine Awards.
  • Poplar Grove Winery Cabernet Franc 2013 BC VQA Okanagan Valley - Best of Varietal at San Francisco International Wine Competition.
  • St. Hubertus Estate Winery Riesling 2013 BC VQA Okanagan Valley - Wine of the Year at Spring Okanagan Wine Festival.
For more award-winning BC VQA Wines, visit the Awards page on BCWine.org.
Celebrating 12 years of BC VQA Wine & food pairing

ChefmeetsBCgrape The annual ChefmeetsBCGrape event celebrated 12 years of continued success on September 15. Nearly 550 wine and food lovers packed the Vancouver Convention Centre to experience the best of BC where 84 wineries poured 320 BC VQA Wines and nine restaurants created dishes that highlighted local ingredients.
"We are really proud that more than a decade later, BC wineries, restaurants and consumers are still excited to be a part of this must-attend event celebrating wine and food from BC's premium regions," says Miles Prodan, President and CEO of the British Columbia Wine Institute, which organizes the event. "This event supports a great organization, with all proceeds going to the Vancouver Arts Club, and  it is an excellent opportunity for us to bring BC Wine Country to the city."
This was the third year that ChefmeetsBCGrape raised funds for the Vancouver Arts Club. 
The annual event is a great opportunity for the public to taste new releases from top BC wineries and experience the versatility of 100 per cent BC VQA Wine through exciting pairings created and prepared by some of BC's favourite restaurants. 
Dawn Chubai, host of City TV's Breakfast Television, again served as emcee as chefs competed at the event to win three coveted awards: Best BC VQA Pairing, Best Dish and, for the first time, a Consumers' Choice award. A panel of wine and food experts, including James Nevison, Joanne Sasvari, Kurtis Kolt and Master of Wine Rhys Pender, tasted through the nine dishes and each of the paired wines.

ChefmeetsBCGrape judges (left to right) James Nevison, Joanne Sasvari, Kurtis Kolt and Rhys Pender MW.
The pairing of Desert Hills Estate Winery's Gamay Noir 2015 BC VQA Okanagan Valley and Lift Bar and Grill's smoked sturgeon with a soy nori emulsion, puttanesca jam, squid ink aioli and a rice puff took home the Best BC VQA Pairing and Best Dish prizes.
"This was one of those pairings that at first, on paper, I didn't think would work. But it did and it was fantastic. That is what I love about food and wine pairing. Sometimes it just blows your mind and hats off to the Lift team for coming up with it," notes Rhys Pender.

Best BC VQA Pairing went to Desert Hills Estate Winery's Gamay Noir 2015 BC VQA Okanagan Valley paired with Lift Bar and Grill's smoked sturgeon (which also won Best Dish).

Coming in a close second was the Gold Hill Winery Cabernet Franc 2013 BC VQA Okanagan Valley paired with onion ash beef terrine prepared by Torafuku Modern Asian Eatery. 

The Consumers' Choice was Lake Breeze Vineyards' Spice Jar 2015 BC VQA Okanagan Valley paired with Chicha Restaurant's tuna causa, cilantro whipped and chilled potato topped with sesame and soy BC local Haida Gwaii albacore tuna, a crisp passion fruit and ginger ponzu, and a Peruvian rocoto chili aioli.

Consumers' Choice: Chicha Restaurant's tuna causa made with cilantro whipped and chilled potato and BC Haida Gwaii albacore tuna paired with Lake Breeze Vineyards' Spice Jar 2015 BC VQA Okanagan Valley.

Is your mouth watering? Keep an eye on WineBC.com for details about next year's ChefmeetsBCGrape.

Celebrating Canada in 2017

Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday in 2017 making it the perfect time to showcase its growing importance in the wine world - including the Wines of British Columbia which is excited to once again be a part of the Vancouver International Wine Festival.  

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 11 through 19, 2017, 182 wineries from 16 countries - including 77 from theme country Canada (of which 60 are from British Columbia) - will participate in 55 events. Click here for a list of the participating wineries.

Be sure to visit this year's Wines of British Columbia 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 around the province. 
In addition, BC wineries will showcase BC VQA Wines during the festival tastings. Come meet the people behind your favourite BC wines and experience some of the best BC has to offer. Advance tickets to the tasting room go on sale November 1; all public events go on sale January 10.

To learn more about the VIWF, visit VanWineFest.ca

Cheers to 20 years!
This fall marks the 20th anniversary of Whistler's favourite fall festival: Cornucopia. Cornucopia is a celebration of food and drink (including BC VQA Wine!) taking place November 10 through 20. New events this year include a 20th anniversary party, crush sommelier tours, Cornucopia Kids - a family cooking event and friendly competition, and the Cornucopia Wine Summit, an event bringing together the experts to discuss (and debate) topics relevant to the wine industry and its changing landscape. Tickets and packages are now on sale at www.whistlercornucopia.com.

Find out what's happening in BC Wine Country 
There is no shortage of exciting events happening throughout BC Wine Country this fall and winter - here's a snapshot, but to stay-up-to-date, visit WineBC.com.

            Vine Tales at See Ya Later Ranch
            Oliver's Festival of the Grape


Smoked Sturgeon with Puttanesca Jam, Soy Nori Emulsion, Squid Ink Aioli & Rice Puff
This BC VQA Wine and food pairing won the awards for Best BC VQA Pairing and Best Dish at the 12th annual ChefmeetsBCGrape in Vancouver on September 15. Special thanks to Executive Chef Soojin Park and Lift Bar & Grill for sharing this recipe.

Smoked Sturgeon with Puttanesca Jam, Soy Nori Emulsion, Squid Ink Aioli & Rice Puff
Soojin Park, Executive Chef - Lift Bar & Grill (Vancouver, BC)

Photo by Mark Halliday.

Puttanesca Jam
2 stalks celery
3 red peppers
6 Roma tomatoes
6 garlic cloves
3 large shallots
14 anchovies 
¾ cup capers
⅓ cup sugar
1 cup white wine vinegar
6 tbsp black olives
1 tbsp sambal (a spicy chili-based sauce/relish that can be made or purchased)

Cook everything together in a pot until the mixture is no longer watery and it is able to hold its shape.

Soy Nori Emulsion
5 sheets nori
1 cup dark soy sauce
1 cup sake

Place nori in a blender and blend to make a powder.

In a pot, cook off the sake, add soy. Gradually add in the powdered nori and adjust to thickness you want. Chill overnight.

Squid Ink Aioli
1 tbsp squid ink
1 tsp lemon juice, zest
1 finely chopped shallot
1 cup mayo

Mix ingredients together into an aioli.

Rice Puff

Cook desired amount of rice according to package instructions.

Purée cooked rice and spread on parchment paper or a silicon mat - dry in 200° F (93° C) oven for 3 to 4 hours. Once it is completely dried, deep fry at 375° F (190.4° C).

Season with salt.

Smoked Sturgeon
1 cup salt
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup granulated garlic
¼ cup granulated onion
1 tsp cloves

Combine dry ingredients in a large container; rub the fish with the dry mixed ingredients and refrigerate overnight. The next day, turn the fish over and refrigerate overnight.

Rinse the fish under cold running water. Pat dry.

Set smoker to 160° F (71° C) and smoke fish about 2 to 3 hours; let cool in fridge.

Slice to your desired thickness. Serve with puttanesca jam, soy nori emulsion, squid ink aioli and the rice puff.

Perfect BC VQA Wine Pairing
At the 12th annual ChefmeetsBCGrape, this winning dish was paired with Desert Hills Estate Winery's Cabernet Franc 2013 BC VQA Okanagan Valley.

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