I began this post by considering the question, “How does one even begin to explain the development of one of Canada’s two major wine growing areas?” Through my journey and experiences within the wine industry in British Columbia (“BC”), the answer has popped up time and again with clarity: BC’s wine industry is all about the people and their stories. The hard work and perseverance of the winemakers contribute to making this wine-growing region so interesting, diverse and exciting. Over the last few years we have seen BC wines accelerate in quality and gain respectability at home and abroad. So now – I am ready to dive into and explore this wine region with you once again. I hope to continue to expand my knowledge of this region and share it’s stories with you through my articles.
Within BC, there are 196 grape wine wineries, and several pending. There are 5 main wine growing regions; within which the ratio of white wine produced to red is 49% to 51%. That is without considering fruit based wines. And did I mention ice wine? Oh, and what about local sake? From Burrowing Owl to Dirty Laundry, there definitely are some wineries to learn about and wine to drink!
Not only does BC produce quality wines, there is a whole world of fresh and local foods. From swanky urban restaurants, fresh from the farm free-range local eggs sold at the side of the road, and delectable seafood pulled fresh from the ocean, the province showcases a wide variety of foods to sample. The range of talented farmers and chefs that the province boasts, produce distinctive west coast cuisine that complements the region’s distinctive wines. I look forward to introducing you to a few talented chefs that I have met along my travels in upcoming posts. I may just even learn how to cook (it’s going to take some work – as boiling water can at times be a challenge for me)!
A great jumpstart into the world of BC wine is attending one of the many wine festivals that happen within our province. Most of the wine festivals focus on showcasing both BC and international wines. These are great for the first time sippers or experienced sommeliers. So, if you are a local in the area or an international traveler that has some frequent flier points to use up – you should check them out! Some of my favorites are the International Playhouse Wine Festival in Vancouver, the Cornucopia Festival in Whistler, the Okanagan Wine Festivals in Kelowna, and the Taste Festival in Victoria.