For Immediate Release:
October 22, 2014
BRITISH COLUMBIA – Growing quality rather than acreage is the focus in BC’s vineyards according to the 2014 Wine Grape Acreage Report.
After years of major growth in vineyard acreage throughout the province, this survey’s statistics have relatively stabilized, indicating that wineries and vineyard owners have made the decision to devote their resources to increasing the quality of wine that they are producing, rather than simply expanding their vineyard acreage to cover more land.
BC currently boasts a total plantation of 10,260 acres of wine grapes, up from a modest 4.1 per cent from 2011’s report. The previous report had shown a growth of 8.7 per cent over 2008, and double-digit growth in the preceding six years. The number of vineyards has grown to 929 in 2014, up 65 vineyards in the past three years. 67.2 per cent of the acreage is winery-owned or leased. The number of grape wineries in the province has also increased to its present count of 254 (up 21 per cent from 210 in 2011).
“Harvest tonnage continues to increase in some of BC’s earlier-established vineyards, due to the maturation of vines re-planted three to four years ago after hard frosts in 2008 and 2009. These plants are finally able to produce the normal quantities of fruit,” says Manfred Freese, President, BC Grapegrowers’ Association.
Top wine grapes planted in 2014 show only slight variance from the previous report, with Pinot Noir replacing Chardonnay as the third most planted variety and Cabernet Franc overtaking Syrah as the seventh most planted red grape, at 546 acres. In order of acreage, 2014’s top 10 most planted wine varieties are as follows:
1. Merlot (1,563 acres)
2. Pinot Gris (1,114.25 acres)
3. Pinot Noir (1,073.11 acres)
4. Chardonnay (993.8 acres)
5. Cabernet Sauvignon (755.82 acres)
6. Gewürztraminer (734.96 acres)
7. Cabernet Franc (546.13 acres)
8. Syrah (530.04 acres)
9. Riesling (510.99 acres)
10. Sauvignon Blanc (393.87 acres)
“The 2014 acreage report is a testament to the British Columbia wine industry’s commitment to producing quality wines rather than to increasing volume of wine,” says Miles Prodan, President & CEO, BC Wine Institute. “This focus on the continual improvement in the quality of the Wines of British Columbia can be measured in the record level of BC VQA market share here in BC and the overwhelming recognition in international competitions. Overall, this evidence demonstrates a definite maturity of our local industry and its evolution as a global wine producing region.”
The report in full can be viewed here.
Funding for this project was provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture through programs delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. and in part by the BC Grapegrowers’ Association, the BC Wine Grape Council and the BC Wine Institute.