Wine Culture Magazine

This new certification program both educates and celebrates

The Wines of BC Ambassador Program Level One is designed for for both consumers and industry professionals. Photos courtesy of

Do you know what year Father Charles Pandosy planted the first grapevines in B.C.? What the province’s most widely planted white grape is? How many wine regions it has?*

If you do—or if you just wish you did—you, too, can become an ambassador for our world-class wines thanks to an innovative new certification program from Wine Growers British Columbia.

The Wines of BC Ambassador Program is unique in the world, a one-of-a-kind series of educational courses designed to educate both consumers and industry professionals about what makes B.C. wine unlike any other.

“We’ve always had the concept in mind of creating ambassadors among the industry and consumers who love B.C. wine,” says Laura Kittmer, communications director at WGBC. “It’s a relatively young region and there is so much innovation going on.”

The program was created by WGBC and curated by Master of Wine Rhys Pender in consultation with industry experts, scientists, geologists, educators and regional winery associations.

“There is some pretty exciting stuff happening in B.C. wine and it seems the world is taking notice,” says Pender. “It was great to be part of bringing all the information on B.C.’s climate, regions, sub-regions, soils and statistics together and to help create this new certification for the wine community. It is an excellent resource for wine professionals and wine lovers to access all they need to know about B.C. wine.”

The ambassador program, which is part of the Wine BC 2030 strategy to “build a world-class brand for Wines of British Columbia,” features three levels of education from introductory to expert.

Learn about the history, styles and regions of B.C. wine.

Level One had previously been offered as an informal, in-person seminar; it is now a certification program developed in partnership with Okanagan College and is offered virtually, making it available to participants anywhere in the world.

“Level One is for everyone making, selling, growing or even just enjoying B.C. wine,” Kittmer says. “I look at Level One as an entryway for people to enter the industry or even just to be an ambassador for BC wine at home.”

The multimedia course focuses on the basics, including history, grape varieties, sustainability and food pairing, taught through interactive learning modules, topographic maps, historical timelines and more. Those who successfully complete it can consider themselves certified Level One B.C. Wine Ambassadors.

Level Two, on the other hand, is an in-person program that takes a deeper dive into the subjects introduced in Level One; it also includes a tasting component that compares B.C. wines with similar international ones. “The purpose is to situate B.C. within the international wine world,” Kittmer says.

It is designed mainly for industry professionals, with registration for spring programs now open, and more classes expected in fall.

Looking ahead, WGBC is working on plans for Level Three, which will only be offered to a small group of applicants once a year. This in-depth, comprehensive program will be more “boots on the ground” learning in the wine regions themselves, looking at topics such as soils and geology. This intense, hands-on course will be designed for serious professionals.

“Ultimately,” says Miles Prodan, WGBC president and CEO, “the ambassador program is positioned to become the premier certification of exclusively B.C.-focused wine knowledge for B.C. wine lovers and wine-career-oriented individuals, as well as a tool to promote and uplift all businesses within the sphere of B.C. wine and hospitality.”

*The answers are: 1859, Pinot Gris and nine.

Become an ambassador for BC wine

In celebration of BC Wine Month, WGBC is offering complimentary access to the Level One BC Wine Ambassador course, valued at $75+GST, until April 30. Use promo code: BCWINEMONTH.

As well, WGBC is extending complimentary access to the program for Vitis readers from April 20 to May 30, 2022. Use promo code: VITISBC.

Register at

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