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What's happening in BC wine country? A BCWineLover/CityCaucus.com cross-post
2011 was a watershed year for BC's young and evolving wine industry. Once again cool weather would test the resolve of both veterans and newcomers alike. The mild springs and hot summers British Columbia got used to during the last decade are doing a disappearing act, forcing wineries to adapt to much lower grape yields and in some cases causing inconsistent output.
On the bright side, however, BC wine seemed to shift into a higher gear in terms of its overall quality, and the industry gained respectability and influence both at home and abroad. It's easy to overlook our successes and lose track of the events that are helping to shape BC's wine industry, which is what brings me to write this industry retrospective.
What were the biggest events which impacted British Columbia's wine industry? I present them in ascending order of significance.
#15 Culinary experiences expand in the Okanagan
Two years back BC Wine Lover interviewed local wine pioneer Harry McWatters about what he felt the industry could do to add value to the wine travel experience in our province. His advice – seen in this short video clip – was to increase the number of culinary attractions. "We've had a deficit in great culinary experiences historically, and we're starting to see now a broader range of accommodation," remarked McWatters, who goes on to say the challenge is to expand beyond just the traditional (summer) seasonal business.
To that end, 2011 was the year Okanagan wine country saw an increase in choice for fine dining. In recent years the Naramata Bench has had a couple of options at Hillside Estate Winery and Lake Breeze Vineyards where wine travellers could pair with delicious dinner and lunch dishes.
If you are reading this post, you are obviously someone interested in BC wine. Maybe you would like to learn more, get more involved or find others who share your love of BC wine, but just don't know how. Well last month BCWineChat was born, a weekly discussion through Twitter under the hashtag #BCWineChat. You can tune in to Twitter every Wednesday evening from 8PM to 9PM PST and you will be able to chat with other BC wine retailers, growers, producers and, most importantly, consumers!
Topics range from legal issues in the BC wine industry (interprovincial wine shipment in Canada, BCLDB regulations for retailers and restaurants) to general topics like BC wine resolutions for 2012. Check the schedule for a list of the upcoming discussions. You can even suggest a BC wine topic you would like to see discussed!