WINE BC 2030
Long-Term Strategic Plan for the Wines of British Columbia
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BC Wine 2030: Industry Update Webinar Summary and Q&As

This week, Wine BC 2030 presented mid-term updates to the Long-Term Strategic Plan to the industry through an informative webinar.  The presentation included an overview of the planning process and timeline, a summary of industry input to date, key takeaways from the Working Group sessions, and a glimpse of what’s to come in the planning process ahead. We also introduced the proposed Strategic Vision and Strategic Pillars for the BC Wine Industry as key components of the final Long-Term Strategic Plan and invited feedback from the industry.

The 60 industry Leaders who participated in the webinar were invited to share commentary and pose questions which are summarized below. Our work is ongoing of course, so if you have additional questions or thoughts to share, please make contact through the website winebc2030.com or by email to Honore Comfort honore@honorecomfort.com or Maggie Anderson MAnderson@WineBC.com.

If you were not able to join the Wine BC 2030 Industry Update Webinar, the presentation is available for your reference in PPT and PDF formats, housed on the website here: winebc2030.com/webinars.

The following Q&As were posed during the webinar:

Has the provincial Tourism Ministry and Destination BChad input into the Strategic Vision so far?

Destination BC has participated in this project by way of the Tourism and Hospitality Working Group. While they have not yet weighed in on the strategic vision (and the strategic pillars), these topics will be a part of the conversation on the January 18 working session.

We recognize Destination BC as a key partner moving forward, to ensure that we are working at the regional level in terms of cultivating an aligned, long-term strategy for developing tourism and supporting Destination BC partners. 

Will the Task Force also be advocating for future “Satellite Tasting Room” licences so that wineries can pour and sell their wines in other areas of the province (such as Gastown, Whistler, etc)?

This came up in our first Tourism and Hospitality working session. This is one of the ideas that fall into the longer-term policy planning process that should be evaluated and considered since it will rely on close partnership and alliance with the government to pursue. This is certainly an excellent idea and in order to realize this, it will take planning and collaboration with tourism, wine industry, and government.

Are there any strategic plans around Free My Grapes – the promotional platform to push for opening up the interprovincial borders to allow shipping of wine across the country?

While we have not discussed strategies specific to Free My Grapes, addressing interprovincial shipping laws is a fundamental strategy in the plan. Taking a leadership position with provincial and federal government partners will be a priority, along with identifying ways to foster collaboration across the industry to influence policy decisions.

Highlights from participant commentary:

“BC wineries and winegrowers are growing and converting to organic production at a high rate and the wine world is under great pressure to reduce pesticide use … how will our strategy and messaging show consumers that we are leading the trend?  The term ”sustainable” doesn’t cut it any more. Since we are ahead of most world regions in terms of organic acreage versus all acreage [under vine], we can gain international recognition if we promote the facts about our organic industry, which will reflect well on everyone in the BC industry if done well…”

“I was pleased to see the question about engagement from Destination BC and your response that they have been and will continue to be a part of the process to ensure alignment.”

Regarding regional programs through associations such as Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association and the industry-led industry initiative Sustainable Winegrowing BC: “It might behoove us to do both but there could be some overlap. Is there a benefit to one recognized certification?”

“Thank you so much for acknowledging the diversity of our grape plantings as a strength and not pushing us to adopt a signature varietal for the province!”

“… It is my perception that there are too many organizations doing similar things and all asking for per ton levies … this over bureaucratized structure is a hindrance to farmers joining and having a coherent voice. There are too many committees and too many groups to make sense of.”

“Today, I can assure you that there is a vibrant four season tourism industry in Niagara and it is not unreasonable to think that we [British Columbia] can achieve this level of success.”

Many thanks to all who participated this week and if you haven’t yet, please mark your calendars for the town hall meeting nearest you running January 22 through25. These will present another opportunity for industry members to share input and feedback on pressing issues to be addressed in the final plan. For dates, locations, and to register: click here.

See you next week!

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