The Best Value B.C. Wines on Shelves Right Now

A thoughtful consumer can find great value in the B.C. section at the wine store. Here are three bottles that prove it.

When people find out I’m a wine writer, they love to give me their opinion on B.C. wine—namely, that it’s too expensive. Putting on my economist hat, I could say that when you look at our insane land prices and exceptionally high labour costs (then throw in a very healthy dash of punitive sin taxes), the price isn’t high at all. In fact, that’s one of the reasons so many B.C. wineries find themselves in dire financial straits right now.

But when it comes to laying their own money out for a bottle, most folks aren’t interested in a John Maynard Keynes primer—they’re seeking an increasingly maligned concept called value. So am I, to be clear. The last time I went to a wine store and bought a bottle without considering price was, well, never. That being said, I don’t think most B.C. malbecs offer very good value compared to their Argentinian counterparts… and when it comes to B.C. Bordeaux-style blends over $45, the duds outnumber the stars by about two to one. But here’s the truth: the thoughtful consumer can find real value in B.C. wines across many segments—and here are exhibits A, B and C for you to ponder.

Spearhead Riesling 2022

1. Spearhead Riesling 2022, $24

Let’s start with an easy one: thanks to trailblazers like Tantalus and St Hubertus, we’ve developed a cadre of producers (now also including Fort Berens and Quails’ Gate) who make serious, handmade riesling for the same price as a behemoth like Kung Fu Girl. We’re going with pinot specialist Spearhead, whose crisp, crunchy, flinty take is a steal at $24.

Averill Creek Joue White

2. Averill Creek Joue White 2022, $27

As a rule, natty wine ain’t cheap, but it caters to those who see value in things beyond dollars and cents: stewardship of the land, connection to the winemaker, a sense of adventure. You generally have to start at $33 and go up from there to embrace such noble ideas, regardless of where the wine is from. So what a treat to see this juicy, salty winner from Vancouver Island’s Averill Creek for under $30—easily one of the best low- intervention deals going.

Martin’s Lane DeHart Pinot 2020

3. Martin’s Lane DeHart Pinot 2020, $100

Stay with me here. On the economics side, I have no doubt it costs more than $100 to make this wine, given the monumental investment in this winery. And on the hedonist side, this is not only one the greatest pinots made in the province, it can also easily stand shoulder-to-shoulder with acclaimed bottles from Sonoma, Oregon and New Zealand (bottles that are frequently double or triple the price). So yeah, it’s a C-note of value.


Riedel’s basic merlot decanter

Product Pick: The Best Deal for a Decanter in Town

Two truths: fancy decanters are a pain, and simple ones are invaluable. More truth? One doesn’t normally go to tony Atkinson’s for deals, but they are quietly selling Riedel’s lovely, basic merlot decanter for $59 (one of the best prices in Canada). They sell the fancy ones too, but we know about those, don’t we? atkinsonsof