As part of the Wine BC 2030 project plan, over the past few weeks we have conducted a series of individual phone calls with the participants of the winery Owners and Proprietors Working Group. Below is a list of the key takeaways we gathered from these industry professionals relating to future opportunities for BC wine:
- Industry-supported education programs and workshops in both viticulture and winemaking: These would be easily accessible – affordable or no cost – and held in various locations around BC. The objective would be to increase the overall level of industry education and technical knowledge, while creating ways to share best practices between experienced growers and winemakers and those who are newer to the industry. In general, we found a common sentiment that there is an opportunity to elevate the industry’s knowledge and to create a culture of “Best in Class” winemaking and viticulture practices that are tailored to support the unique characteristics of the region.
- Evolution of BC VQA program to mirror the growth of the industry: Some concern was voiced about the potential for increased competition from international imports under the new NAFTA agreement (or USMCA). There is also support for improving the quality and communication of the feedback/results derived from the BC VQA tasting analysis and using it as part of a broader educational initiative.
- Building export strategy to other Canadian provinces: Focus should be given to methods and initiatives to build awareness, improve image perception and find ways to help minimize costs and improve margins while doing business in other regions, particularly in the case of smaller producers.
- Establishing an industry-wide “Commitment to Quality”: The industry would benefit from a common code of quality standards that become the driving force behind decision-making and program development, as well as a fundamental part of the common identity of BC wines. Currently, this underlying commitment does not seem to be universally shared, and in some cases it is not well understood how programs like conjunctive labeling, specificity of sub-regions and GIs on labels, and high quality farming practices flow through the industry to create increased value and demand for BC wines.
For a list of participants and other working group recaps, visit – winebc2030.com/who/working-groups-local-leads.