Earlier this month, Wine Growers of British Columbia (WGBC) launched a new campaign urging the public to "Fall for BC Wine" by visiting BC wine country to celebrate harvest and by choosing BC wine at restaurants and liquor stores.
After consultation and input from member wineries and key stakeholder partners, with funding in part from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Government of British Columbia through programs delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC, #FallforBCWine kicked off to inspire consumers across the province to buy local this fall. The campaign includes an inspirational video, seen below, capturing the resiliency and tenacity of the industry, as well as influencer partnerships, exciting BC wine visuals, media coverage, and more.
As of March 2023, there were 341 licensed grape wine wineries in the province. BC VQA Wine is the second-best-selling category in BC, with over 19 per cent of the market (behind only BC non-VQA wine). In 2019, BC wineries welcomed almost 1.2 million visitors, generating over $600 million in associated revenue for the province. Including both tourism and retail, BC’s wineries generally contribute about $3.75 billion annually to the provincial economy.
Recently, however, the sector’s exciting momentum has been disrupted by a series of challenging climate-related setbacks causing an estimated 54 per cent reduction in 2023 crops and longer-term damage to 45 per cent of the total planted acreage, with a projected $133 million in direct revenue lost this year alone. This setback was compounded by BC’s record-breaking wildfire season again impacting tourism to wine country and causing many in the winemaking community to be evacuated.
“Winemaking has never been an industry for the faint of heart — resilience is a prerequisite,” said Miles Prodan, President and CEO of WGBC. “However, these setbacks are temporary. We’ve always been fortunate to have enormous support for the wines of BC from local consumers, and with them behind us, we know the industry will overcome these challenges. We’re looking forward to an exciting future for BC wine.”
As part of the campaign—and to thank the community for its support—WGBC launched its Nominate a Community Hero contest, which sought to recognize deserving individuals who went above and beyond during this recent wildfire season, with one lucky community hero set to win an all-expenses paid VIP trip to the Okanagan in November. Tourism Kelowna partnered with WGBC to coordinate activities for the three-day itinerary, which will be hosted from November 3 to 5. The contest closed on October 24, so stay tuned to WGBC's channels for the winner's announcement.
Everyone is invited to join #FallforBCWine by downloading the assets and key messages provided by WGBC; these can be customized to your brand and shared by tagging @WinesofBC and using #FallforBCWine and #BCWine. Be sure to tag @tourismkelowna and include #exploreKelowna, so our team can watch for your content, too.