1,132 ACRES PLANTED (458 HECTARES)
The number one white grape variety in terms of acreage in BC. The style of Pinot Gris in BC has been, and in many cases still is, quite varied. It ranges from the crisper, lighter, fresher style of Pinot Grigio in northern Italy to the richer, honeyed, off-dry and more tropical style of Alsace. The majority of BC Pinot Gris though could best be described as something fruitier and fuller bodied than the Pinot Grigio of Italy, yet lighter and fresher than the wines of Alsace. Both the French and Italian names are used, often depending on the style. They are typically dry or off-dry with a medium body and flavours and aromas of pear, honeydew or cantaloupe melon, lemon, and sometimes a little honey, minerality and baking spice.
1020 ACRES PLANTED ( 413 HECTARES)
The style of Chardonnay produced in BC varies from unoaked versions with crisp acidity and often crisp apple flavours to world-class barrel fermented wines with complex lees, oak and fruit flavours. The naturally high acidity achieved in BC and the peach, lemon and nectarine flavours when combined with quality oak barrel fermentation and ageing on lees can make for very highly regarded wines. Many of BC’s most internationally awarded wines have been Chardonnay.
743 ACRES PLANTED ( 301 HECTARES)
Gewürztraminer is another Alsatian variety that grows well in BC. The variety has been planted in the province for many years and continues to slowly gain popularity. From 2006 to 2014, plantings increased by 61%. Known for generating wines with intense aromatics and fruitiness, BC with its unique climate, is an ideal location for producing such a pronounced floral variety. Ripening to high alcohol levels, often around 14%, the variety can lose acidity quickly and become a touch flabby. However, this is rarely an issue due to the natural high acidity that remains from the cool nights in BC. The wines typically show aromas of lychee, rose petal and ripe stone fruit, often with a touch of sweetness.
562 ACRES PLANTED ( 227 HECTARES)
Riesling was one of the first Vitis vinifera varietals planted in BC, but it took a while for it to be taken seriously. BC Riesling is increasingly building a top-quality reputation. From 2006 to 2014, plantings of Riesling grew by 86%. BC Riesling can be both the soft, fruity, off-dry style or, more often, a dry, high acid, intense apple, lime and mineral flavoured style that has received international attention. A few producers are also making sweeter, low-alcohol German Kabinett-style wines. Many of the Riesling wines have a great ability to age and some have been cellared for more than a decade.
399 ACRES PLANTED ( 161 HECTARES)
Sauvignon Blanc experienced the same popular explosion in the 1990s that
Pinot Gris is experiencing today, being planted rapidly all over the world. Plantings in BC increased quite rapidly around 2007. The BC style benefits from the natural high acidity and fruit ripeness. Both the crisp, zingy, green bean, grass and asparagus style, as well as a riper, tropical fruit, richer version can be found. Some of the most successful wines are oak fermented and blended with Semillon to make wines in a white Bordeaux style.
267 ACRES PLANTED ( 108 HECTARES)
Once one of the most planted white grapes in BC, Pinot Blanc has failed to find widespread popularity and acreage has decline. BC Pinot Blanc generally has fresh acid, a medium body and characteristic apple peel flavours, and can make for some great value, characterful wines.
223 ACRES PLANTED (90 HECTARES)
Viognier has become very fashionable. It is late ripening and can be a struggle in BC unless yields are kept low. BC Viognier from low yields will often be very aromatic with peach, apricot and jasmine aromas and flavours, and medium to full-bodied while retaining fresh acidity.