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Should ‘Naramata Bench’ be on the wine label?

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Should “Naramata Bench” be on the wine label? – Aug 4, 2017

It’s a wine-making region like no other; the soil structure, geography and climate on the Naramata Bench creates unique growing conditions.

That’s why some wine producers want greater transparency in labelling.

Bob Tennant, owner of Terravista of Vineyards, would like to see “Naramata Bench” on the bottle in addition to “Okanagan Valley.”

Right now if you purchase an Okanagan Valley bottle of wine it means the grapes could be grown in the desert-like climate of Osoyoos all the way to Salmon Arm more than 200 kilometres away.

“We would like to provide a bit more information and tell them Naramata, this is from Naramata,” said Tennant.

It’s called a sub-appellation and the idea was one of many recommendations made by a BC Wine Appellation Task Force last year.

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The task force created a map of 15 sub-regions within the Okanagan Valley.

“What do these things mean? Well look at champagne, we all know what that means, and that’s what this is, that is what we are doing, Naramata Bench someday could be as resident to people as champagne is now,” said task force chair Ezra Cipes.

Cipes said authenticity and a sense of place is important to the consumer.

“They want to know at the high end of wine where the grape comes from. In the low end, when you’re buying wine for under 10 dollars you might not care, you just want it to taste good and get you drunk, and that’s enough at that price point, but at the high end, yes authenticity and place matters,” he said.

A committee has been struck in Naramata to survey area growers.

A majority must be in favour of the sub-appellation before they can apply to the regulatory body known as the BC Wine Authority for support before it goes to the provincial government for ultimate approval.

The Golden Mile Bench in Oliver was the first sub-region to be get the stamp of approval in March 2015.

Tennant said it could also add more value to the product.

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“Maybe ultimately the name Naramata on the bottle will carry some cachet that helps it sell,” he said.

But it won’t be a quick process.

Like a good bottle of wine, it could take several years before it come to fruition.