Okanagan Falls recognized as a distinct wine-producing area

Wine drinkers will be able to easily identify bottles of wine from Okanagan Falls now that the area is officially recognized for its wine production.

Changes to the Wines of Marked Quality Regulation mean eligible wineries on the east side of the Okanagan Valley from Vaseux Lake to just north of Shuttleworth Creek can label their wines as coming from Okanagan Falls. Including the area-specific labelling helps people recognize the wines are made with local grapes, and enhances the area’s overall reputation as a wine and agri-tourism destination.

“British Columbia wine is enjoyed both here at home and around the world, and consumers will now be able to identify the unique terroir and wine from Okanagan Falls,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “Congratulations to the wine producers in this fantastic area and I look forward to seeing the Okanagan Falls label on BC VQA bottles soon.”

Okanagan Falls is the second sub-appellation in British Columbia. The other is the Golden Mile Bench near Oliver.

“There is a tremendous amount of collaboration, science and research that goes into defining more precise regions within an appellation, which is based very much on terroir,” said Miles Prodan, CEO and president, BC Wine Institute. “Wine is about place, and we are proud of the hard work by industry and wineries coming together to define and certify these meaningful and scientifically unique regions producing distinctive world-class wines. This is a true testament to the maturation and progress of BC VQA’s premium wine industry.”

Other changes to the regulation prohibit the use of unregulated geographical indications (areas) on BC Wine Authority members’ wine labels, and formalize an April 2018 announcement that the Thompson Valley, Shuswap, Lillooet and the Kootenays are also recognized as new geographical indications, a standard element of appellation systems used around the world.

“We are thrilled with the announcement today of B.C.’s second official sub-appellation, Okanagan Falls. Our focus is to produce single vineyard wines to showcase the terroir of each individual vineyard,” said Jim D’Andrea, proprietor, Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery. “Having a legal definition to include ‘Okanagan Falls’ on the label is one step further in helping consumers relate to the unique terroir where the grapes are grown and taste the distinct difference from this specific area.”

An additional change implements a flat fee for small wineries to enable and encourage more wineries to participate in the BC Wine Authority’s programs.

Quick Facts:

  • Okanagan Falls, located in the southern Okanagan, includes about 150 hectares of vineyards that produce over 1,100 tonnes of grapes per year.
  • Wineries in Okanagan Falls include the BC Wine Studio, Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars, Bonamici Cellars, Liquidity Wines, Meyer Family Vineyards, Noble Ridge Vineyards, Stag’s Hollow Winery & Vineyard, Wild Goose Vineyards and Synchromesh Wines.
  • British Columbia now has 12 official geographical indications.
  • The other six geographical indications are British Columbia (provincial), Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands, Fraser Valley, Similkameen Valley and the Okanagan Valley.
  • Currently there are four eligible wineries in the Kootenay region, one in Lillooet, eight in Shuswap, and four in the Thompson Valley.
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