Annual release of BC VQA wines showed promises

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Annual Release of BC VQA Wines Showed Promises

Henry Yuen (for original Chinese posting please log onto: http://www.taiyangbao.ca/food/83924/?variant=zh-hans  )         

Perhaps the thought does carry a tiny bit of hometown bias, but the qualitative standard of BC wines has indeed been on the rise. The satisfaction a bottle of BC wine offers is no doubt getting better and better. Could it also be the result of the limited availability of comparable and competitive products from around the world?  If you ask me, I say it is both!

Thanks to the Province’s wine jurisdiction, under the watchful eyes and tight controls of the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) who flashes various economic and regulatory reasons, a lot of products from other countries never reach BC shore. LDB manages to put a lid on inter-provincial liquor laws which prevent movements of wines from easternCanadato store shelves in BC.  While such regulations have many Canadian wine lovers and wine merchants frowning and complaining, interesting enough, the BC wine industry has been doing admirably well. The fact that BC wines have been gaining fame and sweeping prestigious awards on international stages is a strong indication that BC wine industry is growing. The industry has not just attracted local entrepreneurs to roll up their sleeves and start digging and planting, it has international investors coming in with enthusiastic minds as well.

It only took 4 decades for the numbers of wineries in BC to exceed the 200 mark!!

From any business perspectives, proprietors will not consider making investments in wineries and vineyards if the reception in the market place is poor!  While the right pricing is vital, quality assertion and continuous improvement are eminent if winery wants to stay in the game. Crafting good quality proves to be the best strategy to maintain or increase market share. And that seems to be the winning formula most BC wineries are employing.

At Bloom - Spring release tasting of BC VQA wines - saw some impressive products that would make the industry proud. More than 50 BC wineries participated in this vibrant event which took place last month. BC Wine Institute started ‘Bloom’ only a few years back.  From a room scattered with a few tasting stations to a bigger room with 50 wineries packed shoulder to shoulder; and the swamping number of media and restaurateur types were promising signs suggesting a brawny industry and thirsty appetites. By the look of it, BC Wine Institute will soon be able to organize its very own ‘Annual BC Wine Festival’!  

With over 200 wines poured, it was impossible to taste them all in one afternoon. Amazingly and gratifying was that the playing field between those veteran wineries and the new establishments seemed to have levelled off noticeably. With proper vineyard management and strong wine making skills, as well as the support within the industry such as from the BC Wine Institute, the quality of the soil, the vines, the wines and the marketing for new comers can improve so much more quickly these days.  Evidently, it is easier and takes shorter time for new wineries to craft equally impressive wines. For example, a tasting of products from Haywire Winery confirms this assertion.

Nevertheless, veteran wineries and vineyards that have years of blood and sweat practices and hard-earned trial-and-error experiences, along with mature vines and cultivated soils, do command a slight upper hand. Products from established wineries such as Cedar Creek, Sumac Ridge, Grey Monk, Tinhorn Creek, Burrowing Owl and Summerhill are still household names attracting eager line-ups.

Also getting nods were the smaller lots producers in the “cult” wine category. Their impressive big game collections, albeit a bit pricey for the general public’s everyday consumption, were warmly received and commented. Even wines produced inFraserValleyandVancouverIslandsdid not disappoint at all.

The overall tasting experience at Bloom was a promising one. It allowed the industry and the market to have a good glimpse into the BC wine industry and a good idea of how good our wines are.  The result?  Everyone left with a positive smile and the confidence to choose BC VQA wines without hesitation!