Introduction to British Columbia Wines

Overview and Brief History Wine Growing Regions The Wines The Market The Future

Overview and Brief History

British Columbia is Canada's westernmost province, bounded by the Rocky Mountains on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west. Much like its wine-growing neighbours to the south, Washington State and Oregon, BC's climate is heavily influenced by coastal and inland mountain ranges that run north-south. Moist, moderate conditions prevail near the coast, while the interior has an arid, continental climate with hot summers and cold winters.

One of these interior regions, the Okanagan Valley, gave grape growing its start in the late 19th century and continues to be the main focus of BC's wine industry. Father Pandosy, a missionary who settled by Okanagan Lake in the 1860s near what is now Kelowna, planted grapes there for eating and to make sacramental wine. This early effort would be the only grape growing of note for quite a long time, however. Not until 1926 was the first commercial vineyard established by J. W. Hughes, also near Kelowna. After that, grape acreage grew slowly until a serious interest in quality wine-grapes appeared around 1970.

The establishment in 1978 of BC's first "estate winery" (a winery growing its own grapes), helped trigger an industry-wide effort to plant high quality grape varieties (Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, among others) and to bring the region's winemaking up to international standards. German grape growing expert Helmut Becker also had a large influence on this phase of the industry's development.

Since then, a number of milestones have passed including the establishment of the BC Wine Institute in 1990 and the adoption of the Vintner's Quality Alliance (VQA) set of rules governing designated viticultural areas and wine production and labelling standards shortly thereafter. The number of wineries has ballooned from a dozen in 1983 to over 50 in 1999. Most importantly, the quality of the wines has reached a level where BC's best offerings have been winning top international acclaim for a number of years.

Wine Growing Regions

The Okanagan Valley encompasses over 90% of the grape acreage and a large majority of the wineries. Its microclimate is characterized by low rainfall, intense summers and the moderating effect of Okanagan Lake, summer and winter. Just to the west lies the smaller Similkameen Valley, which is very similar to its neighbour in growing conditions. Near Vancouver on the west coast, you will find the temperate Fraser Valley. Once a more important grape growing area, now home to two wineries. Vancouver Island and the adjacent Gulf Islands are home to an exciting winegrowing region where a number of very small wineries are making a name for themselves. Cooler summers, milder winters and higher rainfall than the interior characterize the climate there.

The Wines

The strength of the BC wine portfolio has so far been in its whites. Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, Semillon and less well known German varietals like Ehrenfelser and Kerner are among them. Recently, though, releases of Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc from the Okanagan Valley have proven that BC is capable of producing high quality reds as well.

The most well known of British Columbia's dessert wines is probably the Icewine (made from grapes that are frozen when picked). Walter Hainle made British Columbia's (and Canada's) first Icewine in 1978, but it was not until the early 1990s that a number of other producers jumped into the game and made it a main feature of this wine industry. Other dessert wines include Late Harvests and Select Late Harvests.

Champagne style sparkling wines are also important to this region. As a cool climate grape growing area, BC is ideally suited to producing the fresh, crisp white wines that are the starting point for high quality bottle fermented sparkling wine.

The Market

Not surprisingly, the most loyal following for British Columbia vintages has been at home. The wine industry is very much smaller than areas like California, Australia or even Ontario and not much product can be found outside of western Canada. Nevertheless, export markets have developed, most notably in the UK and in the Far East.

The Future

British Columbia grape acreage is expanding, consumer acceptance and demand are climbing and the level of quality is keeping pace. Wineries are struggling to keep up with the demands of the global marketplace. Agri-tourism is playing an ever increasing role as travel to BC Wine Country becomes more popular. The number of small wineries is likely to keep growing rapidly over the next few years and so will competition in the quality wine sector.

created 1999-11-16, last modified 2003-02-26

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  • Black Hills Estate Winery Young operation near Oliver producing a Bordeaux-style blend and a dessert wine. Product and order information.
  • Blasted Church Okanagan Falls winery, named after a local historic church that was dynamited, provides product, vineyard and purchasing information.
  • Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars A family-run winery located in the southern Okanagan Valley, producing estate-grown Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and sparkling wines, among others. Notes on geography and location.
  • Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Southern Okanagan Valley producer offers photos and information about vineyard and wines, including tasting notes, ordering information, and restaurant info.
  • Calona Vineyards Located in Kelowna. Detailed information on this large producer's premium table wines and dessert wines. Includes photo gallery, history, and awards won.
  • Cedar Creek Estate Winery The Fitzpatrick family runs this establishment just south of Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley. Offers tour and product information, a picture gallery and a wine club.
  • Cherry Point Vineyards Located in Cobble Hill on Vancouver Island. Pictures, tasting, tour and event information, and bed and breakfast accommodation.
  • Church & State Wines Located close to downtown Victoria on Vancouver Island, producing red, white, and sparkling wines. Contains product descriptions and online ordering.
  • Columbia Gardens Vineyard and Winery The first commercial winery in the Kootenay region, producing red, white, and blush wines. Includes product information, a photo gallery, and a company overview.
  • Crowsnest Vineyards The Heinecke family runs this winery near Cawston in the Similkameen valley. With pictures, a brief history and a product list.
  • Desert Hills Estate Winery Located on Black Sage Road in Oliver. Offers tour information, wine list, news and events.
  • Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery Located in the Fraser Valley community of Langley, close to Vancouver, BC. Making wine from local and other BC grapes. Gift shop and bistro information, and virtual tour.
  • Elephant Island Orchard Wines All-fruit winery located in Naramata. Product list and brief description.
  • Granite Creek Estate Wines Produces a range of reds and whites in Tappen. Includes online ordering and a profile of the property.
  • Gray Monk Estate Winery Located in a vineyard setting north of Kelowna; one of the oldest estate wineries in BC. Events calendar, awards list, and ordering information.
  • Hainle Vineyards Estate Winery Produces red, white, and dessert wines, including icewine. Offers tasting notes and ordering, along with information about organic grape growing and winemaking. Located in Peachland in the Okanagan Valley.
  • Hawthorne Mountain Vineyards Situated west of Okanagan Falls. Site offers photo album, winery history, winemaking information and wine list.
  • Herder Winery and Vineyards Small Similkameen Valley winery offers newsletter archives, photos, wine descriptions, and information about the area.
  • Hester Creek Winery Winery news as well as detailed product and order information. Located near Oliver in the southern Okanagan Valley.
  • Hillside Estate Winery Located in Penticton, BC. Product and event information, and photo gallery.
  • La Frenz Winery Located in Penticton, on the Naramata Bench. Offers information on the winemaker, awards, reviews, events, and ordering options.
  • Larch Hills Winery A farm winery located at the northern end of the Okanagan growing region. News and event information, as well as an order form.
  • Little Straw Vineyards A farm winery located on Kelowna's Westside. Includes a product list, ordering information, and company history.
  • Mission Hill Winery Large producer of a wide range of wines in Westbank, near Kelowna. Offers a virtual tour of the new visitor facility overlooking Okanagan Lake. Also winery history, product list, and news.
  • Morning Bay Vineyard and Estate Winery Produces a range of reds and whites in Pender Island. Includes product details, online ordering, and information about the property.
  • Nichol Vineyard and Farm Winery Small winery in Naramata. Wines list, order form and wine locator, photo album and recipes.
  • Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery Small winery in the Okanagan Falls area presents a newsletter, its product portfolio, and online ordering.
  • Paradise Ranch Wines Located near Naramata in the Okanagan Valley, this large vineyard produces only icewines. Product facts and tasting hints, and order information.
  • Poplar Grove Winery Small operation making estate-grown Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Gris, in Penticton.
  • Quails' Gate Estate Winery Winery run by the Stewart family, south of Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley. Wine list, bistro lunch menu, and visitor information.
  • Recline Ridge Winery Located in Tappen, near Salmon Arm. Photo gallery and wineshop information.
  • Red Rooster Winery A small family-run winery in Naramata, near Penticton, presents table, sparkling and dessert wines, order information and the story about the namesake rooster.
  • Road 13 Winery Oliver winery offers vineyard description, owner information, details on where to buy, image gallery.
  • Sandhill Single vineyard and small lot wines from the south Okanagan, part of Calona Vineyards. Information on grape varieties and winemaking techniques, as well as online ordering.
  • Saturna Island Vineyards A new winery on one of the Gulf Islands, near Victoria. Also features a restaurant and lodging facilities as well as information about the vineyard site.
  • South World Wine Society Vancouver-based, non-profit club dedicated to promoting the southern hemisphere's wines. Lists events and gives membership information.
  • St. Hubertus Estate Winery Family-run winery south of Kelowna on Okanagan Lake offers product information, newsletter, and an events calendar.
  • Stoneboat Vineyards Family-operated estate winery in Oliver, producing red, white, rosé, and dessert wines. Includes information about the products, vineyards, and company.
  • Sumac Ridge Estate Winery One of the oldest estate wineries in BC, located in Summerland. Food and wine matching, virtual tour and awards list.
  • Summerhill Estate Winery Kelowna winery overlooking Okanagan Lake. Specializing in pyramid-aged sparkling, table and dessert wines. Photo gallery, bistro menu and tour information.
  • Tantalus Vineyards Okanagan Valley producer of Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Icewine in Kelowna. Includes product descriptions, online ordering, and information about the company.
  • Thornhaven Winery Presenting a virtual tour of the vineyard, wineshop and winery in Summerland, as well as current release information.
  • Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Near Oliver in the southern Okanagan Valley. Winery tour, current product list, background information and events listings.
  • Township 7 Vineyards and Winery Product offerings, reviews and newsletter from this small operation in Langley, close to Vancouver.
  • Venturi-Schulze Vineyards Vancouver Island producers of limited release wines, as well as balsamic vinegar. News and events, recipes and product information available. Located in Cobble Hill.
  • Vigneti Zanatta Family-run farm winery in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. Winery restaurant menu, special event and product listings.
  • Wellbrook Winery Turn-of-the-century heritage farm in Delta offers fruit wines. News and event information, wine descriptions and ordering.
  • Wild Goose Vineyards Okanagan Falls winery presents its history, awards, vineyard and tasting room information.
  • Wild Horse Canyon Winery Produces reds and whites using grapes from British Columbia, Washington, and California. Includes product descriptions, an award list, and a blog. Located in Oliver.
  • Working Horse Winery Organic producer of red, white, rosé, and icewine in Peachland, incorporating draft horses into their farming practices. Includes product descriptions, property information, and company news.

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Dragan 065/884-8890
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40 korisnika prisutno: 3 registrovanih, 1 skrivenih i 36 senkica. Ulogovani: cesko, galeksic, niko650 (01:08)

Bolje te vidim kad sklopim oči - Milan Višnjić
Uto 16.12.2014 8:31, micha@Umetnost
Jedan od cudnijih snova
Pon 15.12.2014 15:58, jeka1983@Sanovnik forum
Iz moje svaštare
Pon 15.12.2014 12:48, micha@Umetnost
Sanjam stalno bivseg momka. Da li to ista znaci?
Sre 10.12.2014 7:59, danielarmd@Sanovnik forum
Muzicki kutak - pjesme za prijatelje
Sre 10.12.2014 0:11, apprivoiser@Umetnost
Poezija - najlepsi stihovi
Sub 06.12.2014 10:32, Wind@Umetnost
Filigranska kapija od stihova - Dejan Milenković
Sub 06.12.2014 1:28, tragalac@Umetnost
Recepti, jela od mesa - rostiljijada
Sub 06.12.2014 0:45, niko650@Životni stil

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