FISCAL 2017: 4th
Celebrate the Wines of British Columbia  
reviews the work of the BC Wine Institute during each quarter of the fiscal year.

This 4th quarter review covers activities that occurred during January, February and March 2017 .
In this issue
Miles Prodan
The recent Canadian wine and grape industry research study reveals that the economic impact of the Canadian wine industry is up 33% to an astounding $9 billion.

Such success should not be a huge surprise to 100% BC wine lovers in this province where the industry now has a $2.8 billion economic impact and is a significant driver of the BC economy.

What is impressive is that most BC wineries are small, family-owned agri-businesses (farmers) who are creating jobs (12,000 full-time in BC) along with business and tax revenue making up the $2.8 billion impact. In fact, for every bottle of 100% BC wine sold in British Columbia, $95.34 in economic activity is generated across the province (bottle of import wine creates $16.61) - 100% BC wine is almost six times more impactful than imports.

The provincial government has been front and centre in ensuring the BC wine industry can continue its contribution to the province's surplus budget by taking on a file that predecessors walked away from in frustration, and delivering on bringing provincial liquor regulations into modern times.
During one of British Columbia's most broadly engaged public consultations in its history, British Columbians, including consumer, labour, health, and industry advocates, added their voices to the comprehensive BC Liquor Policy Review and resulting report, with recommendations on how to improve the way we serve, retail, and consume alcohol in BC.

Under a planned roll-out process, the Province has implemented 65 of the 73 recommendations from Parliamentary Secretary John Yap's Liquor Policy Review, including allowing 100% BC wine sales at farmers' markets and on select grocery store shelves. In the end, it was consumers - by whom the wine industry survives - who determined through their wallets if changes made sense and delivered on the convenience and choice they asked for.

And clearly, they have spoken. Since March 2014, provincial BC VQA (certified 100% BC) market share has grown by 355,000 cases and a record high of almost 17%; BC Liquor Store sales are up by 110,000 cases; restaurants up by 48,000 cases and private liquor stores - arguably the group most concerned about greater consumer access to BC wine - up by 31% or 72,000 cases.

With a maximum of 60 BC wine industry licences out of more than 1,800 liquor retail outlets across the province, consumers continue to have choice and the opportunity to find a wine right for the occasion and price.

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Kim Barnes
The BCWI conducted a content and digital media audit to r eview our current activities, website, and social channel analytics, existing research, and audience personas to gain a deeper understanding of where the BCWI is seeing success and challenges. Further, we reviewed and analyzed social and digital conversations focusing on BC wine and culinary tourism in British Columbia. A content strategy, focused on achieving the marketing, culinary, tourism, and membership objectives outlined in our Fiscal 2018 Strategic Plan, was developed.
Our new content strategy will be implemented in the upcoming year as a key component of our marketing initiatives. Creating relevant content will be a balance between what we want to say and what our audience wants to hear. 
Understanding audience profiles within each social channel will strengthen our efforts and result in sharing content that provides a better user experience and increases engagement.
Click image to enlarge.
From an overall audience perspective, the Wines of British Columbia has a fairly healthy mix of audiences across our platforms:
  • Facebook: oldest audience (4,500 followers).
  • Twitter: highest concentration of males (10,000 followers).
  • Instagram: young and curious (3,800 followers).
  • most aligned with our Facebook page (100K users annually).
As we add more layers of content into the Wines of British Columbia  platforms, channel specific plans will be important to ensure a consistent voice and appeal in reaching each audience.
Join us in this initiative by connecting with us on all of our digital media platforms:
To see available sales reports from the fourth quarter, click on the links below. 

Click the image to enlarge.
Explore BC VQA Wine Campaign   
Launched in September 2016, our Explore BC VQA Wine campaign came to a close at the end of March. During January, the campaign was featured in  Wines of British Columbia Save-On-Foods and private liquor retail stores (LRS); the campaign ran in restaurants during February and March. As part of the campaign activities, the BCWI merchandised all Save-On-Foods locations and 34 LRS locations with point-of-sale materials, including retail chains Everything Wine, Legacy, and Liberty. Independents, such as New District and Bowen Island Beer & Wine, were also represented. Tastings were held throughout the program period and support on social media was strong.

We also worked with many of the pubs associated with LRSs to feature table top materials such as drinks coasters, and eight Metro Vancouver area restaurants to feature BC VQA Wine by-the-glass with special local food menus.

On the media side, the radio ads continued to be featured in various markets including Vancouver, Victoria, and Kelowna, as well as on billboards, at bus shelters, etc. Digital ads and boosted posts also ran on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram. Thank you to our winery members who supported this activity. The volume of contest entries increased considerably during this time frame.

Although the campaign is complete, we will continue to leverage #ExploreBCWine on social media, particularly when the three contest winners are in-market enjoying their trips. These will take place May 4 through 6, 2017 (feature event: Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association's Pig Out!); September 11 through 13, 2017 (feature event: Naramata Bench Wineries Association's Tailgate Party); and November 2017 (feature event: Light up the Vines from Bottleneck Drive Wineries Association).

The Grape Debate - Dine Around Vancouver
150 people attended The Grape Debate 2017 where the theme was "What role does the vessel play?"
An energetic and spirited debate was had at the UBC Alumni Centre on January 26. The Grape Debate is part of the Dine Out Vancouver events, of which BCWI is a sponsor. 

This year's debate theme was "What role does the vessel play?" Panelists on the team representing the use of "new" vessels included Christine Colleta, Daryl Brooker, Jay Martiniuk and David Scholefield.  Panelists representing "traditional" vessels  included Howard Soon, Sandra Oldfield, Tony  Holler and Sid Cross.  The event educated and entertained an audience of 150 UBC alumni who were thrilled to taste through BC  VQA Wine as the speakers debated. 

Following the debate portion of the evening, a showcase featured  an additional 13 wineries. Everything Wine provided an onsite pop-up store so consumers could  purchase wine to take home that night.

Missed the debate? Watch it here.

Vancouver International Wine Festival - Our Opportunity to Shine
(L-R) John Szabo MS; Rhys Pender MW; Treve Ring and Jamie Goode tasting at the Wines of British Columbia VIWF regional station.
Wine lovers from near and far celebrated Canada's 150th 
anniversary at the 39th annual Vancouver Internati onal Wine Festival, February 11 through 19. The festival hosted 180 wineries from around the world including 60 from British Columbia, 10 from Ontario and six from Nova Scotia. Over the eight days of consumer, trade, and media events, some 25,000 people swirled, sniffed and sipped some of the best wines we have to offer.

Working collectively under the banner of the Wines of Canada, the BC Wine Institute; Canadian Vintners Association; Wine Marketing Association of Ontario; and the Winery Association of Nova Scotia created the nature inspired Canada section of the International Tasting Room, six trade and media masterclasses, and five consumer seminars and tasting events.

At the regional Wines of British Columbia booth the BC Wine Institute poured wine from 16 BC wineries. Set under a huge glowing Wines of British Columbia balloon and surrounded by cedar, pine and other foliage, the booth was easy to find. BC's regional tasting booth provided a great overview of the varietals that represent the diversity and complexity of BC wine and was a great jumping off point from which to enter the BC section of the International Tasting Room.

Dine Around & Stay in Town Victoria
The launch party for Dine Around & Stay in Town Victoria was February 16. More than 700 attendees, including consumers and trade, sampled BC VQA Wine from 14 wineries, and tasted food from the 62 participating restaurants.

Dine Around Thompson Okanagan
The Wines of British Columbia was a proud sponsor of the ever popular Dine Around Thompson Okanagan - including the launch party at Okanagan College in Kelowna on January 17.  Thanks to our winery members who poured their BC VQA Wine at the launch party: Dirty Laundry Vineyard; Evolve Cellars; Niche Wine Company; Quails' Gate Winery; Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery; Robin Ridge Winery;  Sage Hills Estate Winery; Squeezed Wines; The View Winery; TIME Winery; and Volcanic Hills Estate Winery.  The launch party kicked off two and a half weeks of special menu offerings at approximately 50 restaurants - many paired with BC VQA Wine.

Big Taste Calgary Wraps Up Another Successful Event
March saw another successful Big Taste Calgary, the annual wine and food event sponsored by the BCWI. In addition to the many paired prix fixe menus offered across Calgary, the spotlight really was on the Signature Events at the top restaurants.

Featuring 19 BC wineries across 12 ticketed events, 75% of the Signature Events sold out with 656 diners attending. The number of diners taking advantage of the prix fixe menu offers increased 42% over last year. Participating diners reported:
  • 94% rated their experience as good or very good.
  • 65% reported being offered a BC VQA Wine pairing with their menu.
  • 94% indicated they would buy BC VQA Wine at their local liquor store.
The various dining events encourage consumers to get out and patronize their local restaurants during the traditionally quiet period that follows Christmas. By sponsoring these events, BCWI ensures BC VQA Wine is featured across a majority of the events and menus.

Wines of British Columbia in Calgary Co-op Wine Spirits Beer Stores
Timed to coincide with Big Taste Calgary, Co-op Wine Spirits Beer  liquor stores featured eight wineries' BC VQA Wines in a flyer and  at store tastings over two weekends. This year saw a 37% increase  in samples served and a 62% increase in bottles sold. All Co-op  locations were merchandized with point-of-sale material  encouraging consumers to celebrate Canada's 150th with BC VQA  Wine. A contest to win a four-day, three-night trip to BC Wine  Country generated nearly two thousand entries. Nearly half of  these consumers signed up to receive our consumer newsletter, The Vine, and will continue to receive information about the  W ines of British Columbia .

Supporting BCWI Members in Vintages & Ontario Trade
The March edition of the LCBO's Vintages Magazine featured BC wine. To leverage and enhance this high-profile feature, BCWI implemented activities focused on key trade and consumers in the Ontario market as follows:

LCBO Product Consultants Training
BCWI engaged notable wine educator and writer David Lawrason to conduct an education session on BC wine and terroir for LCBO product consultants. Tasting through a panel of six wines supplied by our members, the consultants learned about our geographical indications, what makes BC wine unique, and our diversity of styles.

March Consumer Contest
With the increased visibility of BC wine in the Ontario market through Vintages stores, the BCWI launched a digital consumer campaign with a call to action to explore the Wines of British Columbia in Vintages. The main hook was the chance to win a four-day, three-night vacation in BC Wine Country; contest closed March 31.

Ontario Trade Training & Walk-around Showcase 
On February 8, BCWI held two  Wines of British Columbia Ambassador Program sessions for Ontario trade and media, educating nearly 70 people. In addition, we hosted a walk-around showcase for more than 100 trade who tasted 40 BC wines.
Direct and indirect media coverage of the BC Wine Institute, its members, and the Wines of British Columbia reached more than 71 million readers and viewers from January 1 through March 31. Value for earned media coverage totaled $520,916. 

Kristin Ackerman Bacon (Seattle, USA)
Bob Arniel (Nova Scotia)
Mary Bailey (Alberta)
Robert Beauchemin (Quebec)
Perry Bentley (British Columbia)
Christopher Chan (Washington, USA)
Sasha Chapman (Ontario)
James Chatto (Ontario)
Dr. Jamie Goode, panellist at Wines of Canada Sparkling Wines Masterclass.
Noelle Chorney (Saskatchewan)
Sid Cross (British Columbia)
Anne DesBrisay (Ontario)
Anthony Gismondi (British Columbia)
Dr. Jamie Goode (United Kingdom)
DJ Kearney (British Columbia)
Kurtis Kolt (British Columbia)
Shea McCammant (Seattle, USA)
Andrew Morrison (British Columbia)
Barbara O'Hara (Manitoba)
Pedro Parra (Chile)
Rhys Pender MW (British Columbia)
Moira Peters (Nova Scotia)
Barbara Philip MW (British Columbia)
Treve Ring (British Columbia)
Bill Spurr (Nova Scotia)
John Szabo MS (Ontario)
Christopher Waters (Ontario)
Sean Wood (Nova Scotia)

  • Welcome Dinner for Judges of the Canadian Culinary Championships Gold Medal Plates (Kelowna)
  • Dine Out Vancouver Media Preview (Vancouver)
  • The Grape Debate (Vancouver)
  • Dine Around Thompson Okanagan Launch (Kelowna)
  • Dine Around & Stay in Town Victoria Launch (Victoria)
  • BC VQA and Wines of Canada theme region masterclasses (Vancouver International Wine Festival)
Click image to read article.
Decanter (UK) |  Digging the dirt in British Columbia
Last March, the BCWI hosted Tina Gellie, Associate Editor for Decanter, on a FAM tour of the Okanagan Valley and Similkameen Valley. We are thrilled to share her article published in the March 2017 issue of Decanter. Thank you to all of the participating member wineries for making such a fantastic and lasting impression on Tina during her visit. We are excited to continue building the relationship between the BC Wine Institute and Decanter, which boasts almost one million readers with circulation in 92 countries, in continuing to put BC wine on the world map!

The Drinks Business Hong Kong | Northern exposure: British Columbia (pages 44-47)
In November, the BCWI partnered with The Drinks Business Hong Kong (The Drinks Business is a premiere wine magazine with monthly circulation of 30,000) to bring 16 BC VQA Wines to Hong Kong in an advanced educational Wines of British Columbia masterclass, moderated by Rhys Pender MW and The Drinks Business Senior Editor Rupert Millar. We are thrilled to share with you Millar's article on the masterclass published in the March 2017 issue of The Drinks Business Hong Kong. This four-page spread equates to £19,800 ($28,179 CAD) in advertising dollars, reaching more than 27,000 consumers and trade in Hong Kong, mainland China, Macau, and other Asian markets.   |  Dine Out Vancouver: Much more than menus
Early in January, the BCWI once again partnered with Tourism Vancouver to sponsor the official media launch to kick off Dine Out Vancouver. Celebrating Dine Out Vancouver's 15th anniversary, 15 BC VQA Wines were poured and showcased to 60 wine and culinary media during the welcome and closing receptions. Attendees included Nikki Bayley, Dawn Chubai, Sid Cross, Nathan Fong, Mijune Pak, Tim Pawsey, and many more.

WATCH! Global BC News |  Okanagan wine industry boosts economy
A good portion of media value in March came from the release of the recent Economic Impact of the Canadian Wine & Grape Industry 2015 report. The BCWI issued a  media release and fact sheet   based on the research study showing that the BC wine and grape industry is a significant driver of the provincial economy contributing $2.8 billion annually. The national report and BCWI media release were picked up by media outlets around the world. 

Jamie Goode's |  Canadian wine at the Vancouver Wine Fest: sparkling wine  
Another large portion of media value in the fourth quarter came out of the buzz that the Wines of British Columbia and Wines of Canada generated as the theme region of this year's Vancouver International Wine Festival. Of the six masterclasses the BCWI hosted, the most popular was the Sparkling Wines of Canada. On, Jamie Goode wrote , "There's a buzz around sparkling wine at the moment. Sparkling wine sales account for 11% of global wine sales and this market is growing by 4.5% annually. And it's something that Canada has a talent for, with its cool climate wine regions. Of late there has been the beginnings of something special here in Canada."

Other VIWF Media Highlights
WineAlign |  John Szabo's VINTAGES Preview  
Brantford Expositor   |  Waters on Wine: Sparkling wines suit any, every day  
Eat Magazine   |  Canadian bubble takes the stage at Vancouver International Wine Festival
Jamie Goode's |  The Wines of British Columbia, Canada: diversity and purity  
Jamie Goode's |  Canadian wine at the Vancouver Wine Fest: wines from British Columbia
WATCH IT! News (original broadcast Breakfast Television) |  Canadian Wine 101
LISTEN! Roundhouse Radio 98.3 FM |  8th year at the Vancouver Wine Festival

For a list of all media coverage generated from January 1 through March 31, 
click here .
In order to ensure the Wines of British Columbia stay top of mind in key markets and to keep consumers and industry informed on issues affecting the wine industry, the BCWI regularly issues press releases to a group of more than 300 media, primarily in Canada and the USA.  Press releases issued in Q4 are published on .
During Q4, our Explore BC VQA Wine & Win social media contest continued as a major theme on all of our digital channels as we promoted the winter and spring prize packages. We also focused on driving audiences to our consumer website,, and realized a 5,573% increase in referral traffic from Facebook and a 609% increase in referral traffic from Twitter over Q4 Fiscal 2016. 
Followers: 3,973
Our Instagram account continues to grow; we gained 251 new followers over the quarter. Our most engaging Instagram post leveraged National Puppy Day to celebrate BC winery dogs. The post earned 109 engagements.

Followers: 10,139
Our Twitter followers increased by 176 during the quarter.  Our top tweet invited people to visit our Wines of British Columbia tasting station at the Vancouver International Wine Festival. The tweet earned 2,818 impressions and 63 engagements, including 27 likes, 12 retweets and 10 click-throughs. 

Fans: 4,731
We gained 264 new fans during the quarter. Our most engaging (organic) Facebook post was the one on winery dogs which reached 1,300 people and earned 73 engagements. 
For a copy of the BCWI's Fiscal 2018 Strategic Plan, email Lisa Braman.
The BC Wine Institute presented its Fiscal 2018 Strategic Plan and Budget at its Member Meeting March 7 at the Manteo Resort Waterfront Hotel in Kelowna. Supporting the tactics outlined in the strategic plan is wine and culinary tourism research which was also presented at the meeting. Additional presentations were made by Tim McEwan, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Small Business, Red Tape Reduction and Ministry Responsible for the LDB; and Michelle Carr, Assistant Deputy Minister and LCLB General Manager.

To support its members with the release of  The Economic Impact of the Wine and Grape Industry in Canada 2015 report, the BCWI issued a  press release including BC-specific information and posted supporting materials on

This was the first full quarter wherein our new Weekly Marketing Update format and distribution system were utilized. The new format and distribution allows us to measure utilization of the tool by our members and will assist us to evaluate objectives set out in our Fiscal 2018 Strategic Plan.

Three issues of the First Press were distributed to members during Q4. Missed an issue? Read it here:

BC VQA Wines are entered into dozens of wine competitions annually where they show extremely well. Last year, BC VQA Wines won 1,200* awards. In Q4, results were announced from three competitions, here are the highlights:

27th New World International Wine Competition (California) February 2017
Congratulations to Church & State Wines on winning Best New World Chardonnay with its 2015 Chardonnay BC VQA Okanagan Valley. This wine was also awarded Best of Varietal and Best of Class.

Other notable awards from this competition:
Church & State Wines 2014 Merlot BC VQA Okanagan Valley

Backyard Vineyards 2014 Gossip Red BC VQA Okanagan Valley
Backyard Vineyards 2016 Pinot Gris BC VQA Okanagan Valley

24th Chardonnay Du Monde (Burgundy, France) March 2017
706 wines from 38 countries were tasted. BC VQA Wines won seven medals, including:

- McWatters Collection Chardonnay 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
- See Ya Later Ranch Chardonnay 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
- Summerhill Pyramid Winery Chardonnay Icewine 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley

5th Cascadia Wine Competition (Oregon, USA) March 2017
BC wineries won 45 gold awards. Highlights include:

Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery Pinot Gris 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley

Hillside Winery Muscat Ottonel 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
Stag's Hollow Winery & Vineyard Albariño 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley
Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery Gewürztraminer 2016 BC VQA Okanagan Valley

Click here for more award-winning BC VQA Wines.

*Accounts for only BC VQA Wine included in the BC Wine Institute's Consolidation Program.
British Columbia Wine Institute: Visit us online at (consumer) | (member & media)