The B.C. government announced on July 27 that it has changed regulations so that Okanagan Falls can be recognized as a distinct wine-producing area – the province's second sub-appellation after Golden Mile Bench, near Oliver.
The changes to the Wines of Marked Quality Regulation mean that wineries on the east side of the Okanagan Valley, from Vaseux Lake to just north of Shuttleworth Creek, can put the words Okanagan Falls on wine-bottle labels as long as those wines also meet British Columbia Vintners Quality Alliance certification standards.
Liquidity Wines Ltd., Meyer Family Vineyards and Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery are some of these wineries.
Area-specific labelling is expected to help consumers recognize that these wines are made with local grapes. Wines from different regions often have distinctive tastes, even when they are made from the same grape varietals. This region-specific labelling, therefore, will enable people who like distinctive Okanagan Falls flavours to be able to find those wines more easily.
Okanagan Falls' status as a sub-appellation may also enhance the area’s reputation as a wine-tourism destination and be good for business.
"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," said Jim D'Andrea, Noble Ridge's proprietor.
"Our focus is to produce single vineyard wines to showcase the terroir of each individual vineyard,"
Wines from B.C.'s two sub-appellations will also be able to contain the words "Okanagan Valley" and "British Columbia" on the labels.
The province has long had four other regional appellations, in addition to the Okanagan Valley. They are:
•Fraser Valley; and
Recent changes to regulations added four more regional appellations to that list. They are:
The government also changed regulations to prohibit the use of unregulated geographical indications, or place names, on BC Wine Authority members’ wine labels.
“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 BC Wine Institute CEO and president Miles Prodan.
"This is a true testament to the maturation and progress of BC VQA’s premium wine industry.”