B.C. vineyards boast a treasure chest of grapes. We have more than 75 different grape varieties spread over 10,000 acres, a huge variety for such a small size. For comparison's sake, consider Bordeaux, which has thirty times the area as B.C., but just 8 principal grapes.
In our own backyard Pinot Gris and Merlot top the charts as the most planted vines, with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in close pursuit; and overall we have 49% white grapes to 51% red. All the expected grapes wine drinkers love thrive here, like Cab, Riesling, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc. But when is the last time you grabbed a bottle of Ortega from the shelves? Or Chasselas? Or Siegerrebe?
Challenge yourself to try something different this week. Wines greatest strength is DIVERSITY, and in B.C., diversity is our strength. Why so many grapes? The answer is two-fold: we are a young wine region finding out exactly what works best, and we are still in the experimentation phase. Our climate and special environment provides the other reason: we grow so many different grapes because we can. Northern latitude gives extra daylight, summer sun and heat allow red grapes to ripen, and our cool desert nights provide just what whites need for crisp acidity. There are very few grapes that don’t grow happily in B.C.
Our five featured wines are all made from grapes that belong to Vitis vinifera, the noble Eurasian vine family. They give you a chance to stretch your wine legs, and take advantage of B.C.’s unique grape diversity.