Welcome to The Vine, a seasonal newsletter brought to you by the  Wines of British Columbia The Vine is your guide to everything BC VQA Wine.

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Explore BC VQA Wine & Win
Contest winners

Congratulations to Explore BC VQA Wine & Win winners Julie Zoney of Squamish and Pia Pedersen of Lantzville.  

Julie won the BC Wine Country Winter Warm-up Trip and Pia won the Spring BC Wine Country Trip simply by posting photos of their favourite BC VQA Wine experiences to Instagram using #ExploreBCWine.

Julie's photo (left) is of her friends wine tasting at Cornucopia Whistler, and Pia's photo (right) is of her celebrating 30 years of friendship with friend Lorie.

Chefmeets BCGrape
Victoria, Vancouver & Calgary
The Wines of British Columbia's annual ChefmeetsBCGrape event is expanding to two new cities! In addition to Vancouver, consumers in Victoria and Calgary now have the opportunity to attend this iconic wine and culinary event in their cities.

These events offer you the opportunity to experience a variety of exquisite BC VQA Wine with creative food pairings. 

Each participating restaurant prepares a small dish by sourcing ingredients from local farmers and producers to best present the food available in their region. Each dish is paired with a BC VQA Wine.

Celebrity judges will taste and evaluate each pairing and prizes will be awarded for "Best Wine and Food Pairing" and "Plate of the Night".

May 10 - Calgary 
May 23 - Victoria
May 25 - Vancouver

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the ChefmeetsBCGrape website.

BC Wine Events & Festivals
Find out what's happening in BC Wine Country 
Some of the events happening throughout BC Wine Country this spring. Stay up-to-date by visiting  WineBC.com.

Award Winning BC VQA Wine
Earning accolades around the world
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.

2017 Competition Results

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)
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.
BC Winery Accolades
Wineries recognized for more than wine
8th Generation Vineyard Tops in Customer Service
Long-time tasting room employee Yolanta Malkovska has won the Customer Service Award from Destination BC and the Tourism Industry Association of BC. This award recognizes frontline employees whose exceptional customer service contributed to outstanding experiences for visitors.

Bench 1775 Winery on Top 20 List of Best Outdoor Dining Destinations
In March, Bench 1775 Winery in Naramata was named to American Express Essentials' Top 20 Outdoor Dining Destinations in the World 
Listed as one of the world-class wineries bordering Okanagan Lake, Bench 1775 was noted for its "extra pinch me appeal" because of the waterfront picnic area and bistro. Bench 1775 invites guests to bring their own food to enjoy its picnic area or choose its crafted artisanal wood-fired pizza.
Credit: Lionel Trudel
Okanagan Crush Pad A Sustainability Leader Award
Okanagan Crush Pad in Summerland received the Sustainability Leader Award from their local Chamber of Commerce on March 17. They were also co-recipients of the Award for Excellence in Agriculture. These awards celebrate excellence in green practice seeking out the most innovative, ambitious and effective initiatives for achieving environmental sustainability and recognize outstanding contributions to the advancement and promotion of the agricultural industry in Summerland.

Orofino Winery is Gold Certified
Orofino Winery, Canada's first strawbale winery, received Gold Level Certification from the world's largest and most credible sustainable tourism certification program, Green Tourism Canada.  A thorough, independent green audit considered every aspect of Orofino Winery's business practices and special mention was made of their contribution to the local community, vineyard practices, and unique energy efficiency initiatives taken throughout the years.  Orofino produces around 4500 cases of wine annually and specializes in single vineyard wines that explore the diverse terroir of the Similkameen Valley.
Quails' Gate Winery Named One of Canada's Best Managed Companies
Quails' Gate Winery in West Kelowna was recently designated one of the best managed companies in Canada. The 2017 Best Managed program recognizes the best-in-class of Canadian-owned and managed companies with revenues over $15 million demonstrating strategy, capability and commitment to achieving sustainable growth.

Perfect Pairings
Pinot Gris steamed Manila Clams with Tuscan Kale, Garlic and Chili Linguini
Turning 30 is something to celebrate, and CedarCreek Estate Winery would like you to help them do just that. On the 30th of each month this year, wine tastings are complimentary and paired with delicious small bites. It's just one way the winery is saying thank you for 30 great years. And, this is just the beginning. The winery is planning on a year full of reasons to celebrate. Visit their website for upcoming events. In the meantime, their Vineyard Terrace Restaurant shares this perfect pairing. Cheers to 30 more years!

Ingredients - Serves 2
4-5 oz dry linguini
Dash of salt
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½-1 tsp chili flakes
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
150 ml CedarCreek Pinot Gris
4-6 leaves of black or Tuscan kale, washed and stripped from the rib and cut into 1-2 cm pieces
1 lb Manila clams, soaked overnight in sea salt water (drain well before use)

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil. Once boiling, cook linguini as per package instructions. Be sure to leave the noodles al dente (see package), as they will cook further later on in preparation.
When the linguini has six minutes of cook-time remaining, warm a large sauté pan with a fitted lid, over medium heat.
Once hot, add extra virgin oilve oil and crushed garlic. Once the garlic has softened, add in your washed and chopped kale. Sprinkle in salt and chili flakes ensuring kale is coated thoroughly.
Add in the well-drained Manila clams, leveling them out around the entire pan. Pour in your CedarCreek Pinot Gris and cover with a tight fitting lid. Allow steam to build up in the pan and once boiling remove the lid. Steaming time of clams will depend on temperature and size, but should take around three to four minutes.
Drain your linguini, keeping some liquid should the clams need more water, and set aside. Once all of the clams have opened, begin to gently incorporate the al dente linguini and any liquid, being careful not to break the noodles. Once mixed, divide into two bowls and serve. Enjoy!

Perfect BC VQA Wine Pairing

Pair with CedarCreek Estate Winery 2015 Pinot Gris  BC VQA Okanagan Valley. 

Tasting Note
What we smell: Pear and raw honey with nuts. 
What we taste: green apple, tart acidity and some ripe pineapple fruit.

This wine won a gold medal and received 92 Points at the San Francisco International Wine Competition 2016; and gold at the 36th Annual All Canadian Wine Championships 2016.  Find it here .

Find wine and food pairing tips on WineBC.com.