Wine Culture Magazine

In a really bad year, B.C. wineries were there to support each other

Photo courtesy of Blasted Church Vineyards

It’s fair to say that 2023 will be a memorable year in BC wine country, but for all the wrong reasons.

It began with the worst winter in recent memory—plummeting temperatures killed up to 29 per cent of vines, according to Wine Growers BC, and devastated as much as 65 per cent of some red varieties—and continued with the worst wildfire season on record.

We don’t yet know how badly grapes were affected by the smoke from the fires in West Kelowna, the Similkameen and Osoyoos, but we do know that the fires turned thousands of tourists away at what should have been the busiest, most lucrative time of year. We also know that some of our favourite wines will be in short supply for a while.

But anyone who deals with leaf hoppers and hen party buses on the regular is a pretty resilient sort of person, and if there is a silver lining to this dark cloud of a year, it’s how the wine community has stepped up to help.

Many wineries, including TIME Family of Wines, Tantalus, Painted Rock and Rust Wine Co., donated a portion of wine sales to wildfire relief through organizations such as Red Cross Canada and Mamas for Mamas.

Blasted Church Vineyards, which had to cancel its beloved Seven Deadly Sins party scheduled for September 9, instead donated all tasting fees for the weekend to Red Cross Canada. And over at Quails’ Gate, during the worst days of the McDougall Creek Wildfire in August, the culinary team prepared more than 600 meals a day for firefighters across five local stations.

There are countless stories of kindness and generosity across this province. Thank you to everyone who stepped up, in ways big or small, just when we needed it most.

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