A view from the Naramata Bench.

A view from the Naramata Bench.

Okanagan Valley leads wine scene

The British Columbia Wine Institute received funding for its Wine and Culinary Tourism strategy this week

The British Columbia Wine Institute received funding for its Wine and Culinary Tourism strategy this week.

For 25 years, the BCWI has played a pivotal role in taking B.C.’s wine industry from a mere vision to an internationally recognized region producing premium wines and providing exceptional wine tourism experiences.

“We are honoured to continue to be recognized as the BC Wine Industry’s lead voice as we look ahead at continuing to grow B.C.’s vibrant wine and food culture, giving visitors more opportunities to discover our pristine region and developing our premium industry into a world-renowned wine and culinary tourism destination,” said Miles Prodan, CEO and president of the B.C. Wine Institute.

Last year B.C. experienced record high numbers in visitors and wine sales. Direct from winery sales have increased significantly over the past three years with 2015 up 17.8 per cent over 2014. There are multiple factors affecting this growth including increased supply of product, number of wineries and of course more tourists choosing to wine tour as part of their vacation.

B.C. Wine Institute marketing director Maggie Anderson said one of the key differentiating factors between B.C. and the closest competing wine region, Washington State with more than 800 wineries of their own, is the culinary experience that B.C. offers both in the winery and surrounding the wine regions.

“Washington wineries are not able to have on-site restaurants, so this is definitely something we can use to our advantage.”

There are 43 winery restaurants open in BC offering fresh, local cuisine to go with their wine experiences. Recently Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards was named among the top winery restaurants internationally.