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Prunings


here’s been a major change in the prestigious Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards. Beginning this year, the competition has been merged with the Okanagan Wine Festival Society’s B.C. Wine Awards and it will be organized and paid for, by the society. Manager Blair Baldwin explains the LG awards grew exponentially since the contest was first created in 2003, in part because the industry has grown and in part because there was no entry fee, and it became too complex and expensive for the Government House Foundation to continue to run. The merged competition has been re-named the B.C. Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards and there will still be a Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the best wine in B.C., replacing the Premier’s Award. The Platinum Award will become the Lieutenant Governor’s Platinum Award, with a maximum 15 wines awarded in any year. The intent is for the Lieutenant Governor to continue to present those awards in person. There will also be a formal dinner for winners at Government House before Christmas each year. Marjorie King, who ran both judging competitions, will continue to run the new one... At the end of March the B.C. Wine Institute and Okanagan College signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance collaboration on a range of partnerships, projects and applied research in wine and related industries. The MOU is in place to July 2020, when it may be extended with approval of both parties. It is a voluntary recognition of existing cooperation between industry and the college and ensures a continuation of that. As an example, two college researchers from the School of Business are working on a project to describe how the wine habits of Baby Boomers and Generation X differ from Generation Y, the millenials. It will involve extensive surveys to examine generational differences toward wine purchases. Svan Lembke and Lee Cartier are the two professors working on this research and Cartier says the idea is to better understand how wine buying differs among generations of consumers so marketing practices can be altered if necessary. The work is expected to be complete by the end of this year... The B.C. Tree Fruits Cider Co.


T 22


received two more awards at this spring’s Fest of Ale in Penticton. The first was the Judges’ Choice Award for Best Cider, for one of its newest keg ciders called Dad Bod. It’s a crabapple/apple blend hopped with Amarillo and Belma hops. The second award was the People’s Choice Award for Best Cider for the new vintage Broken Ladder Pears and Peaches cider. This is the 23rd year for the Fest of Ale in Penticton with more than 5,500 people attending over two days and tasting 65 craft beers and ciders...


In April, four new official wine regions in B.C. were recognized by the province for use in wine labelling: the Thompson Valley, Shuswap, Lillooet and Kootenays, joining the existing six official geographical indications: British Columbia, Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands, Fraser Valley, Similkameen Valley and Okanagan Valley. At present there is only one official sub- geographical indication, the Golden Mile Bench near Oliver. At the same time, the use of unregulated geographical indications will be prohibited by participating wineries as well, further strengthening the reputation and assurances that B.C. VQA wines are as advertised and made from grapes grown in the regions on their labels. Smaller wineries will be supported with a flat fee for the B.C. VQA program to ensure participation isn’t cost- prohibitive. Creation of specific geographical indicators was one of nine recommendations made by an industry task force in 2016, then voted on by industry. Out of that, recommendations were made to government for changes to be made in the regulatory framework for the wine industry in B.C. with a view to ensuring that the industry is able to ensure that wines made from 100 per cent B.C. grapes reflect a standard of quality that helps to maintain the province’s reputation for high quality wines. The ministry said it would work on implementation of the remaining recommendations including:


• As a condition of having a winery licence, producers making wine from 100 per cent B.C.-grown grapes be required to become a member of the B.C. Wine Authority; • Changing the Wines of Distinction category name in the regulations to British Columbia wine. Both B. C. VQA and British Columbia


wine would be allowed to use the geographic indication on their labels; • All wines made from 100 per cent B.C. grapes must register as either British Columbia VQA or British Columbia wine, in order to qualify for recognition as a wine of British Columbia...


Senior governments are funding a study into creation of a B.C. Wine Centre of Excellence as a platform for wine and tourism education. With $75,000 from the provincial and federal governments, a feasibility study led by an industry advisory committee will research existing international wine centres, and offer a catalogue of business models and best practices for such a centre. The study will involve wineries throughout the province and is expected to be complete by the end of this summer. There are 929 vineyards in the province, including more than 350 licensed wineries, 4,130 hectares of wine grapes, and 60 grape varietals. The B.C. wine industry employs about 12,000 and has an economic impact of $2.8 billion annually on the province’s economy... The B.C. Wine Grape Council holds its annual general meeting June 20 on the Penticton Campus of Okanagan College from 8:30 a.m. to noon. It will include presentations from Roger Sugden, professor and dean at UBC’s faculty of Management and director of the Regional Socio-Economic


Development Institute of Canada. He will talk about B.C. wine territory identity and the potential for post- secondary education to support industry development. Also speaking will be Wesley Zandberg, from the UBC chemistry department on two years of smoke-taint research. As well, there will be a special lecture by Jim Wolpert, retired extension viticulturist and chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis, on alternative V. vinifera varieties. He will speak at the Summerland Research and Development Centre July 18 at 2 p.m. and there’s no charge for attending, but space is limited. If you produce a lesser-known or rarely- planted V. vinifera variety or you’re looking for more information, this will interest you. Producers willing to contribute wine for tasting and discussion, are asked to contact Pat Bowen at pat.bowen@agr.gc.ca


British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Summer 2018


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