Friday July 10, 2020 ~ DUNCAN, BC
by Mary Brooke, editor ~ West Shore Voice News
The Cowichan Valley is being recognized as a new sub-geographical indication (sub-GI), an official and protected term under B.C. law used to help consumers identify B.C. wines’ origins.
The Cowichan Valley sub-GI is roughly defined as the area 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,” says 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 the Cowichan from the grapes grown in the valley, and the designation both respects and promotes that.”
Wineries in the Cowichan Valley include Alderlea Vineyards, Averill Creek Vineyard, Blue Grouse Estate Winery and Vineyard, Cherry Point Estate Wines, Damali Lavender and Winery, Deol Estate Winery, Divino Estate Winery, Emandare Vineyard, Enrico Winery, Glenterra Vineyards, Rocky Creek Winery, Saison Market Vineyard, Unsworth Vineyards, Venturi-Schulze Vineyards, and Vigneti Zanatta Winery.
The wineries are in Cobble Hill, Cowichan Bay, Duncan, Glenora, Mill Bay and North Cowichan.
Popular varieties grown in the Cowichan Valley include Ortega, Bacchus, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Marechal Foch and Pinot Noir.
Defining geographic zones:
Defining geographic zones on wine labels connects consumers with the unique geographic area the grapes are grown and the wine is made in and increases exposure to the region for both wine and tourism businesses.
“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.”
Wines labelled with geographical indications and/or sub-GIs commit to consumers that the wine was produced with a minimum of 95% of grapes grown from the specified region.
Nine geographical regions in BC:
British Columbia is home to 929 vineyards, with over 60 different grape varieties grown in the province.
There are nine official geographical indications in the province and five sub-geographical indications. The Cowichan Valley is the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan and joins the Golden Mile Bench, Naramata Bench, Okanagan Falls and Skaha Bench in the Okanagan Valley.
“Having Cowichan Valley officially recognized as a distinct and unique wine grape growing region in B.C. is testament to the maturity of the wine growers and producers in the region,” says Miles Prodan, president, BC Wine Institute.
Wines must be BC VQA certified in order to display the geographic and sub-geographic indications in B.C.
Map of the Cowichan Valley sub-GI is available at: http://www.bcvqa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Cowichan_Valley_GIrev_2020.pdfA
Geographic and sub-geographic indications in B.C.: http://www.bcvqa.ca/wine-regions-of-bc/
Cowichan wines and visiting the valley: https://www.tourismcowichan.com/eat-drink/wineries/Blue Grouse Estate Winery and Vineyard: https://www.bluegrouse.ca