Imagine sipping on a glass of crisp Chardonnay while overlooking a sparkling blue lake, enjoying an elegant Pinot Noir amid alpine breezes at the base of towering mountains, or sampling organic wines with bright acidity amid vast peach and apple orchards.
This is not France, Italy, or California. These experiences are all in BC, the province being home to nine diverse wine regions and several new sub-regions.
“Search Near Not Far”: local wine lovers have world-class wine here at home.
With more and more people wanting to eat and drink local, the locavore movement continues to gain traction. Beyond environmental benefits, there’s another reason to explore wine from around here: quality. Hand-crafted BC VQA wines stand among the finest around the globe, winning international competitions year in, year out.
From lakes and rivers to lush valleys and oceanside vistas, BC’s distinct wine regions produce exceptional terroir-driven wines that are grounded in their own unique sense of place.
“You can have a world-class experience right in your own backyard ,” says Laura Kittmer, communications director of the British Columbia Wine Institute. “No matter where you are in BC, you’re likely within an hour or two of a local winery.
“Our nine official regions are scattered all throughout the province, from the desert to the mountains, from urban wineries to north of Whistler,” she adds. “The province is vast and diverse, with micro climates all over.”
While what might first come to mind when people think of BC wine is the Okanagan Valley, sometimes called “Napa of the North”, the province’s other wine regions extend far beyond the Interior and include Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and Lillooet.
Then there are four sub-regions, or sub-appellations: Okanagan Falls, Golden Mile Bench (near Oliver), Skaha Bench, and Naramata Bench.
Each bottle tells a story of place and the people behind it, stories that visitors to various wineries can glean first-hand.
“When you go to so many of these wineries, you’re talking to the farmer, the winemaker, the owner, the viticulturalist: many are family-owned and operated,” Kittmer says. “And we’re seeing international recognition and interest.”
If a weekend in wine country isn’t in the books, another way of discovering BC VQA wines is by dining at local restaurants. BC wines are figuring prominently on wine lists at more places, from small farm-to-table eateries to those at luxury resorts. “Wine and food go hand in hand,” Kittmer says. “ International visitors to Vancouver may have heard about BC wine and want to try it; they want to experience local. To meet the demand of their customers, top restaurants have amazing wine lists featuring BC wines.”
Find out what local restaurants are pouring more BC wine by visiting WineBC.com/Best-of-BC-Restaurants.
Wines of British Columbia’s Search and Savour contest is another fantastic way to discover unforgettable BC wines and the province’s wine regions.
One grand prize winner will be selected to win a 3-day/2-night trip to BC wine country.
Each week, there are clues about a wine region at WineBC.com/searchandsavour/. Read the clues, answer three multiple-choice questions, and submit your details.