A toast to the Cowichan Valley: a newly recognized wine-producing region in B.C.

A toast to the Cowichan Valley: a newly recognized wine-producing region in B.C.
Blue Grouse Estate Winery
A photo of Blue Grouse Estate Winery in the Cowichan Valley

Whether you have wine nearby on this Friday morning or not, join me in a toast to the Cowichan Valley as they’ve just become specially recognized by the Province of BC for winemaking.

It seems evident the BC Government made this decision for all the right Rieslings too.

According to the BC Government, the Cowichan Valley is being recognized as a new “sub-geographical indication (sub-GI).” This now means that when British Columbians are sourcing their next bottle of BC wine, the area will be recognized and highlighted on labels for its grape-growing ability.

The Province has defined the sub-GI area as being between the Cowichan watershed, the eastern coastline from Mill Bay to Maple Bay and the western area of Cowichan Lake.

“The Cowichan is home to family-owned and operated wineries and grape growers who have been part of the valley for generations,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture.

“They take pride in the wines they produce and recognizing their hard work, skills and growing reputation on the B.C. and international stage is overdue. They make great wine in Cowichan from the grapes grown in the valley, and the designation both respects and promotes that.”

The Ministry of Agriculture points to increased exposure to the region for both wine and tourism as being a benefit that comes from having a geographic zone placed on wine labels. The Province feels it creates a connection to consumers with a certain area.

“Officially recognizing the Cowichan Valley as a distinct and unique wine grape-growing region in B.C. is a testament to the hard work, passion and dedication of the many local entrepreneurs and staff in the wine industry,” said Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley.

“This is a well-deserved accomplishment for all those involved in producing exceptional wines and memorable winery experiences.”

The new sub-GI recognition means the Cowichan Valley is committing to consumers that wine is being produced with a minimum of 95 per cent of grapes grown in its region.

The Cowichan Valley now becomes the fifth official sub-geographical indication for wine lovers in British Columbia to ‘uncork’ and discover. It joins an exclusive list of Golden Mile Bench, Naramata Bench, Okanagan Falls and Skaha Bench in the Okanagan Valley.

It also becomes the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan.

“Wine enthusiasts can now add Cowichan as an area to explore wines produced with this unique terroir,” said Jill Nessel, Executive Director of Tourism Cowichan.

“While the award-winning wines and beautiful vineyards draw thousands of visitors to Cowichan every year, it is the extraordinary people behind the wines that create memorable wine-tasting and tour experiences for locals and visitors from across the globe.”

According to the government, wines must be BC VQA certified in order to display the sub-geographic indication.

So for any Vancouver Islanders seeking their next wine-tasting destination, you might not need to look beyond The Rock.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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