British Columbia wines are a perfect expression of the region in which they are produced. Breathtaking, beautiful and pristine. And thanks to a handful of hard-working visionaries, and those who continue to innovate and push boundaries, our vibrant industry has been making a name for itself nationally and internationally for 30 years.
In 1990, the British Columbia Vintners Quality Alliance (BC VQA) standard was created to guarantee consumers they were drinking wine made from 100% BC grown grapes. Today, BC VQA Wine dominate wine sales in British Columbia, and our wines are finding their way to more places than ever before, winning over both critics and consumers internationally.
History of BC Wine
Prior to 1990, apart from a few industry pioneers, most of the grapes grown in BC were hybrids, and the growers’ focus was on quantity rather than quality. That all changed with the signing of North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the United States. With the onset of free trade, the government gave the option for growers to remove their vines and plant a different crop. Two-thirds of the 3,400 grape acreage was removed leaving just 1,134 acres of grapes, only half of which was estimated to be vinifera grapes.
This launched the subsequent planting of quality vinifera varieties which saw the beginning of the modern BC wine industry and the impressive BC wine we enjoy today.
Now with 30 years of experience testing different theories and determining the right place for the right grape, the BC wine industry is coming into its own and creating its own style and personality. That combined with ambition and vine age, comes wine that continues to gain complexity and excellence.
The Wines of British Columbia truly reflect the land where the grapes are grown and the exceptional people who craft them.
To the visionaries who forged our industry’s path, and to those who continue to innovate and push boundaries, here’s to 30 years of beautifully crafted BC VQA wines.
“BC is the here and now. The combination of the grape varieties you’re planting, and the vineyard expression is perfect. I’ve always described BC as the old world of the new world, because the new world is always trying to do something different. You’re doing what I think the old world has done and you’re tending to do it well and better.”
Steven Spurrier of Decanter Magazine.
BC VQA Press Conference
Photo Credit: Henry Tregillas (from left to right)
John Savage, Terry Wells, Harry McWatters, George Heiss, Adolf Kruger, Lanny Martiniuk, Bruce McDonald, Tom Capozzi, Anthony Von Mandl
Where Are They Now
Wines of BC Explorer App
Uncover a new favorite wine, find yourself in award-winning vineyards, on an exclusive tasting, or plan a trip to BC wine country with the ultimate Wines of BC Explorer app. Download the app today for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to a beautiful BC winery.
Discover and enjoy new winery experiences such as elevated tastings and picnics, while taking in the breathtaking views and enjoying fresh, locally-sourced cuisine at winery restaurants.
Wineries, restaurants & retail stores, here’s how to celebrate with us!
THEN and NOW Images
It’s fun to see how far the industry has come. Share images of your winery, restaurant or retail outlet then and now. Engage with us on social media by using #BCWine30Yrs and tag @WineBCdotcom.
Enjoying BC VQA for…