Wine Culture Magazine

Liquidity Wines is one of the wineries in B.C.’s newest sub-GI, Okanagan Falls. Liquidity Wines photo

It’s time to draw a new map for British Columbia’s wine country.

This summer, the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture approved four new wine regions—properly known as geographic indications—as well as B.C.’s second sub-GI.

The ministry formally recognized the Thompson Valley, Shuswap, Lillooet and the Kootenays as new geographic indications under the Wines of Marked Quality Regulation.

It also named Okanagan Falls as the province’s second sub-appellation, following Oliver’s Golden Mile Bench in 2015.

OK Falls winds north along the east bench of Skaha Lake, across the water to Kaleden and south over the rolling hills above Vaseux Lake. It includes such prestigious wineries as Painted Rock, Liquidity Wines, Blue Mountain, Meyer Family and Syncromesh and comprises some 150 hectares of vineyards producing more than 1,100 tonnes of grapes annually.

These are the first major changes to B.C.’s wine regions since 1990, when Vintner’s Quality Assurance rules delineated the Fraser Valley, Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley, Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands.

Why does this matter? Well, for one thing, it provides more land for winemakers, which means more wine for us to drink. But it also makes B.C. a more serious player in the world of wine, with greater competition, better focus and a more astute understanding of what makes each region’s wines distinctive.

Along with these approvals, Wines of Marked Quality Regulation now prohibits the use of unregulated geographical locations on B.C. Wine Authority members’ wine labels.

Other changes will be coming soon, all designed to enforce quality of the end product. And we can expect to see more sub-GIs as well. Already, the Naramata Bench has put a proposal before the B.C. Wine Authority, which may be decided this fall.

This is good news for winemakers; even better news for wine consumers.

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