North of the Border: British Columbia Wine

Get an insider look into the 2015 vintage of British Columbia wines with interviews of regional winemakers via BC Wine Trends.

Gebert-Brothers-2012
The Gebert Brothers, Credit: Rick’s Wine Store

Canada in general has always fascinated me, sitting friendly up there, sharing a border with America. It seems so international, yet so sheerly Canadian, balancing history, present and future with grace and stability. Canada is also, in my opinion, a taken-for-granted land of surprises and experience.

Canada is made of 13 provinces (or territories). It has two official languages, English and French, and “native” tongue goes back to when Canada was seen as open frontier, settled by both English and French nationals. Canada’s Official Languages Commissioner, Graham Fraser has stated in The Hill Times:“[I]n the same way that race is at the core of what it means to be American and at the core of an American experience and class is at the core of British experience, I think that language is at the core of Canadian experience.” I speak both English and French and find this wonderfully telling, particularly being an American where learning the language is akin to becoming integrated, feeling at home. 

Credit: Wines of British Columbia
Credit: Wines of British Columbia

To get to know a part of the country a bit better, I read up on the wines of British Columbia. Wine is an international language. It brings people together with a fun stickiness that never wears out. Ignoring territorial boundaries lines, one can imagine British Columbia as the upward climb of west coast wines: Southern California transitions to Northern California bleeds into Oregon blends with Washington climbs into British Columbia. And while national divisions serve purpose in wine-making, nature has her say in a big way and it’s a pleasure to imagine the connections and transitions for west coast wine makers.

I was curious to hear about the 2015 vintage in British Columbia and I’ve connected with a very knowledgeable source.  Julian, from BC Wine Trends:

Guest Post: British Columbia Winemakers’ thoughts on 2015 Vintage

Julian spoke to winemakers from several regions in British Columbia and in this post (click title above) he shares some of my favorite-to-know stories: the thoughts of winemakers, including:

Charlie & Jesce Baessler of Corcelettes

Andy Gebert of St Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery Ltd.

David Paterson of Tantalus

Sheri Paynter of Off the Grid Organic Winery

Rob Westbury of  Nagging Doubt

Rob Hammersley of  Black Market

Bradley Cooper of Black Cloud

Manuel Zuppiger of Arrowleaf Cellars

The beautiful property of Corcelettes, Credit: BC Wine Trends
The beautiful property of Corcelettes, Credit: BC Wine Trends

Some details on British Columbia wine, from Wines of British Columbia:

Number of wineries: 255 licensed grape wine wineries in British Columbia (316 total licensed wineries). 152 are members of the BCWI. BCWI membership represents 95% of total grape wine sales and 94% of total BC VQA wine sales in British Columbia.

Five wine regions (designated viticultural areas / geographical indicators):
Okanagan Valley
Similkameen Valley
Fraser Valley
Vancouver Island
Gulf Islands

Emerging Regions:
Shuswap
North Okanagan
Thompson Nicola
West Kootenays
Number of vineyards:
929 vineyards with more than 10,260 acres of planted land
(wineries and independent growers)
Grape varietals produced:
80+
Top ten white varietals (by acreage planted):
Pinot Gris
Chardonnay
Gewürztraminer
Riesling
Sauvignon Blanc
Pinot Blanc
Viognier
Ortega
Ehrenfelser
Blattner Whites
Top ten red varietals (by acreage planted):
Merlot
Pinot Noir
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Franc
Syrah (Shiraz)
Gamay Noir
Marechal Foch
Malbec
Petit Verdot
Zweigelt
Ratio of White to Red:
49% to 51%

Have you visited British Columbia? Do you have a winery to recommend? Be sure to visit BC Wine Trends blog for lots of information and profiles of the region.

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Interesting, never think of Canadian wine potential. Something to remember. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jill Barth says:

      I learned lots of new things from this post research. Very cool!

      Like

  2. Duff's Wines says:

    Thank you. I’ve visited BC and BC wine country several times.
    Very few wine peeps think of Canada at all when they think of wine. Yet, we do make a few wines that are notable and individual. Not all that available though.
    I always feel that I don’t promote our wines enough in my writings and other wine work. But, it might be all for naught when folks have their favourite regions, styles, and wineries anyway. And they can’t get it if they wanted to try it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jill Barth says:

      Thanks for your comment. I write about out-of-reach (for whatever reason) from time to time… I agree that there is disconnect when readers can’t have a taste.

      I’m going to hunt down some BC bottles!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! I have fond memories of Okanagan wine – some great reds there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jill Barth says:

      Thank you! I’m inspired to learn (& taste!) more from the region.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Like

  4. MeaghanC says:

    At first I thought how great Jill is shining light on great Canadian wines south of the border… Then I thought ohh no Jill is shining light on great Canadian wines!! They are Canada’s best secret! Production levels are so low for many of these vineyards, very little actually leaves the BC market. When new vintages are released you have to scoop them up quickly!! If you are looking to explore more La Stella and Foxtrot vineyards are two of my favorites!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jill Barth says:

      I’m really eager to get my hands on some. I love getting winemaker insight, so this was a great opportunity to learn.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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