Program pairs local food and wine

B.C. Wine Institute initiative will showcase foods locally grown, raised and caught, along with their wine pairings

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick (holding plate) joins Miradoro restaurant chef Jeff Van Geest (right)

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick (holding plate) joins Miradoro restaurant chef Jeff Van Geest (right)

The B.C. government Buy Local program has raised a glass to B.C. VQA wine, injecting $100,000 into a consumer campaign.

The initiative will be led by the B.C. Wine Institute and will showcase foods locally grown, raised and caught, along with their wine pairings.

“Those dollars are going to go towards improving the amount of dollars that are used to purchase local products all around British Columbia,” said Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick at the announcement at the Penticton and Wine Country visitor centre on Wednesday. “We want to use those dollars to encourage restaurateurs to understand VQA and understand buying B.C. is a good thing. Not only does it help the palette but it also helps to drive the economy.”

The B.C. Wine Institute campaign, called B.C. Buy Local Perfect Pairings, will transcend traditional media platforms through the use of social media and establish a virtual meeting place where consumers can discuss B.C. wine and agrifoods.

“What it allows us to do is really showcase the fabulous food-friendliness of B.C. wines,” said Miles Prodan, executive director of the B.C. Wine Institute. “This program is a great opportunity for us to work with local chefs, local food producers and really help to show consumers and B.C. wine lovers how well they do pair.”

Prodan said over 2,000 awards are won annually with B.C. VQA wines and one of the features that comes back every time is just how crisp and fresh the wines are and how well they match with food.

A quarterly consumer media campaign will be established with the goal of reaching an audience of 1.3 million a week. There are also plans to offer a number of unique events featuring B.C. foods and B.C. VQA pairings including Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna and Whistler. The Buy Local program offers successful applicants matching funds up to $100,000 to launch or expand local food marketing campaigns. Already this year the Buy Local program has paired farmers and local restaurants in the Farm to Table initiative, the Born in B.C. Raised in the Okanagan by apple growers and a system to help consumers track the origin of seafood they are eating.

B.C.’s award-winning wine industry is home to more than 860 vineyards. The majority of the industry is concentrated in the Okanagan, although viticulture can be found in five different regions of the province, each with its own unique climate and soils.


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