Oenophiles will soon get a bit more information about their favourite Okanagan vintages with a new system that highlights its six unique grape-growing and winemaking areas.
New sub-geographical indications, an official and protected term under B.C. law used to help consumers identify B.C. wines’ origins, will appear on bottles and highlight East Kelowna Slopes, Lake Country, South Kelowna Slopes, Summerland Bench, Summerland Lakefront and Summerland Valleys.
“Today’s approval of six new sub-GIs in the Okanagan Valley, a region known for having diverse soil types, climatic conditions and resulting styles of wine, represents official recognition of areas that stand out as having consistently unique terroir,” Miles Prodan, president, Wine Growers British Columbia, said in a press release.
“The introduction of sub-regions of notable sense of place is the natural next step in the evolution of our wine industry, and a win for consumers and wine growers alike.”
A sub-GI distinguishes wines from the unique growing areas within a geographical indication. Each of these sub-GIs has clearly defined boundaries based on subtle differences in growing conditions.
The province said defining geographic zones on wine labels connects consumers with the unique geographic area where the grapes are grown and the wine is made, while increasing exposure to the region for both wine and tourism businesses.
There are nine official geographical indications in the province and 12 sub-GIs. Wines labelled with geographical indications and/or sub-GIs commit to consumers that the wine was produced with a minimum of 95 per cent of grapes grown from the specified region.
The nine geographical indications in B.C. are the Fraser Valley, Gulf Islands, Kootenays, Lillooet, Okanagan Valley, Shuswap, Similkameen Valley, Thompson Valley and Vancouver Island.
The 12 sub-geographical indications are the Cowichan Valley, East Kelowna Slopes, Golden Mile Bench, Golden Mile Slopes, Lake Country, Naramata Bench, Okanagan Falls, Skaha Bench, South Kelowna Slopes, Summerland Bench, Summerland Lakefront and Summerland Valleys.
More than 60 different grape varieties are produced in B.C., including merlot, pinot gris, pinot noir, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, Gewurztraminer, cabernet franc, syrah, riesling and sauvignon blanc.
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