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Stand up to the World at the Fourth Annual Judgment of BC For immediate release:
October 26, 2018 KELOWNA, BC -

The Wines of British Columbia were put to the ultimate test at the fourth annual Judgment of BC on Wednesday, October 24, pitting 12 BC wines against 12 acknowledged global benchmarks. We are proud to announce BC's Poplar Grove Winery The Legacy 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley ranked first among the flight of Bordeaux-style red blends, with BC’s Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio BC VQA Okanagan 2015 close behind in second place. Roederer Estate Brut NV from Anderson Valley, California came out on top for the flight of traditional method sparkling wines with BC placing fourth, fifth and sixth.

Hosted by the BC Wine Institute, and curated by Vancouver based wine expert DJ Kearney, the Judgment of BC took place in Kelowna in the heart of wine country, during which 37 international and national wine judges blind tasted and ranked the 24 wines. 12 were traditional method sparkling wines and 12 were Bordeaux-style red blends, six of each were from BC and six were international benchmarks.

The BC wines selected for the Judgment were hand chosen through a blind tasting by a Selection Committee of Barb Philip MW, Rhys Pender MW, Dr. Janet Dorozynski, Kurtis Kolt, Michaela Morris and Jason Yamasaki, led by DJ Kearney. Ninety-nine wines were tasted prior to selecting the final 12 BC representatives.

“The fact that two BC wines topped the red blends challenge was a true testament to our distinct terroir and climate, but most of all to skilled farming and winemaking.” Says Kearney. Poplar Grove Winery, celebrating its twentieth vintage, first made The Legacy in 2004. Over the years have honed this style to a standard of high quality. Just as impressive, Laughing Stock’s stylish Portfolio beat out benchmarks from Bordeaux and Napa Valley.

Twenty-six top wine professionals from around the world and across the country had just spent four days immersed in Wine BC BootCamp. Hosted by Master of Wine Rhys Pender and the British Columbia Wine Institute, the group delved deep into BC’s wine culture learning, tasting and discussing everything BC wine during a series of Masterclasses, panel discussions and regional visits. A further 11 Canadian wine critics and sommeliers descended on the Okanagan Valley to join the group for the Judgment tasting.

“It has been the most fascinating tasting,” says International judge Christine Austin, British wine writer for the Yorkshire Post. "BC Wine can stand up on the world stage with their own character, flavours, personality and hold their head up high against some of the best wines in the world.

" Tasting both traditional method sparkling and red blends shows BC’s diversity. “Many regions say they can produce a variety of styles. British Columbia is unique due to its climate and geology in actually being able to produce many grapes and styles at high quality,” notes Master Sommelier James Tidwell. “I look forward to the day when these wines are more recognized in the international market.”

"Our traditional method sparklers showed elegance, finesse and refinement." notes Kearney. Blue Mountain’s Blanc de Blancs 2010 R.D. proved to be the top ranked BC wine, placing fourth place.

Vancouver based wine writer, educator and international judge Michaela Morris was impressed by how well the BC sparkling wines showed. "Most of my top ranked wines in the sparkling flight turned out to be from BC which I found very impressive."

"It was a fun, enlightening exercise that reinforced the point of the quality of wines coming out of British Columbia,” says Katelyn Peil Wine Director for the Heavy Restaurant Group in Seattle, USA. “The wines are exciting and fresh with a purity of fruit that also offers a sense of place. It is amazing to see the caliber of wines coming from this region and the rest of the world should be paying attention."

“As an industry, we are so thrilled and humbled that there is such close attention from the world’s top wine influencers on what is happening with BC wine,” notes Laura Kittmer, Media Relations Manager of the BC Wine Institute. “We had top palates from the UK, USA, Asia and across Canada all of whom were enthusiastic about the quality of the wines.”

“The annual Judgment of BC allows us to gain insights and knowledge into how we compare internationally. Introspection is a critical part of ensuring we continue to make high quality wines, and also allows us to collectively celebrate as an industry. We have so many reasons to be proud, and the future is very bright.” says Kearney.


1. Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut NV California | 12% | $46.99
2. Champagne Veuve Clicquot Brut NV France | 12% | $69.99
3. Champagne Pierre Paillard Les Parcelles Bouzy Grand Cru Extra Brut XIII France |12.5% | $67.99
4. Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars Blanc de Blancs R.D. 2010 Okanagan Valley, BC | 12.5% | $39.90
5. Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery The One 2012 Okanagan Valley | 12.0% | $47.90
6. Sperling Vineyards Brut Reserve 2011 Okanagan Valley, BC | 11.5% | $50
7. Graham Beck Brut Zero 2011 South Africa | 12% | $29.99
8. Tantalus Vineyards Blanc de Noir 2015 Okanagan Valley, BC | 12.0% | $30
9. Segura Viudas Heredad Brut Reserva Spain | 12% | $33.99
10. The View Winery Pearls Traditional Brut 2016 Okanagan Valley, BC | 11.8% | $30
11. Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Fitz Brut 2015 Okanagan Valley, BC | 11.6% | $32.99
12. Mumm Napa Brut Prestige NV California | 13% | $25.99


1. Poplar Grove Winery The Legacy 2014 Okanagan Valley, BC | 14.0% | $52
2. Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio 2015 Okanagan Valley, BC | 14.9% | $50
3. Blackbird Arise 2015 Napa Valley, California | 14.5% | $86
4. Dominus Estate Napanook Napa Valley Red 2014 California | 14.5% | $125.99
5. Intersection Estate Winery Axiom 2014 Okanagan Valley, BC | 13.9% | $39
6. Chateau Poujeaux 2015 Moulis-en-Médoc, France | 14% | $65
7. CedarCreek Estate Winery The Last Word 2014 Okanagan Valley, BC | 14.6% | $84.99
8. Osoyoos Larose Estate Winery Le Grand Vin 2015 Okanagan Valley, BC | 14.0% | $45
9. DeLille Cellars D2 2013 Columbia Valley, Washington State | 14.3% | $85
10. Clos du Soleil Winery Signature 2014 Similkameen Valley, BC | 14.8% | $45
11. Chateau de La Dauphine 2015 Fronsac, France | 14.5% | $50
12. Chateau d’Armailhac Grand Cru Classé 5th Growth Pauillac, France 2015 | 13.5% | $90


Painted Rock Estate Winery

It is with great pleasure that we announce that Painted Rock Estate Winery has won Winery of the Year honours at the 2018-19 InterVin International Wine Awards. It’s the second time in five years that our estate was the top-performing producer at the respected international competition.

This year’s awards featured over 1,200 entries from 17 countries. Our 2015 Cabernet Franc, 2014 Cabernet Franc and 2014 Syrah were awarded gold medals and our 2014 Merlot, 2015 Malbec and 2015 Red Icon were awarded silver medals.

InterVin Head Judge Christopher Waters said Painted Rock has been a consistent performer at the wine competition. “Since entering InterVin for the first time in 2013, Painted Rock has always been in the hunt for the competition’s top awards,” Waters explains. “The ambitious family-owned estate winery overlooking Skaha Lake won Winery of the Year honours in 2014 and repeated that feat over wineries from 17 countries again this year.”

Consistency is key for Painted Rock as we continue to build our reputation both at home and internationally. “An award like this is extremely validating” according to Painted Rock Proprietor John Skinner. “Our journey has always been to create the highest quality wines from our single vineyard estate. It is through the efforts of our winemaking and viticultural teams, both overseen by our Bordeaux consultant Alain Sutre, and lead by Assistant Winemaker Gabriel Reis and Vineyard Manager Barry Green, that we have been able to harness the potential of the estate. My focus now is introducing the world to Okanagan wines. Waving the flag for Canada and winning business for our community.”

End of an era at Black Hills Estate Winery!
After 11 years at the helm of Black Hills Estate Winery, director/president Glenn Fawcett is officially stepping down from the day-to-day operations. After leading a remarkable evolution of the business since 2007, he is now embarking on a three-month sabbatical to recharge his batteries and spend time with family.

In early 2019 Glenn will return to the wine industry to take on the newly created position of “Chief Wine Evangelist” for the parent company, Andrew Peller Ltd. (APL). In this capacity, Glenn will bring his energy and ideas to the other APL Canadian wineries while lending his entrepreneurial perspective to potential new ventures within the business. He will also serve as an advisor to and “Bon Vivant” for the winery so dear to his heart, Black Hills!

“I am so thrilled to have had the opportunity to lead this winery since 2007 and to have the continued support from our shareholders, employees and customers along the way,” says Fawcett.

“Going forward, the day-to-day operations of the business will be managed by talented team members running the respective Vineyard, Winemaking, Estate and Marketing operations of the business, while they are reporting to and working closely with the team from APL. It gives me great satisfaction to know that the passionate team from APL shares the same values for the Continual Quality Evolution of the Black Hills Estate Winery wines. This will bode well for what I am sure will be an exciting future for better and better-quality wines for our customers and trade partners. Best of all, I still get to come to the major parties and events of Black Hills and help maximize the fun factor for our guests.”

Please join us in congratulating “G-Force” on his many accomplishments over the years, to his upcoming sabbatical and his new position as “Chief Wine Evangelist” with our parent company.

Your friends at Black Hills Estate Winery


Penticton, B.C. (September 6, 2018)

— Great Estates Okanagan announced today it will open the Great Estates Wine Experience Centre in Penticton, B.C. on September 22, 2018. The Centre will serve as a hub for visitors to the region to learn more about the wines and wineries in the South Okanagan within the Great Estates Okanagan portfolio which includes Black Sage Vineyard, Inniskillin, Nk’Mip Cellars, Jackson-Triggs, Sunrock Vineyards, Dark Horse, Steller’s Jay, See Ya Later Ranch and Sumac Ridge.

Located in downtown Penticton on Lakeshore Drive, the Great Estates Wine Experience Centre will offer a variety of daily tastings and educational seminars throughout the year. Single-vineyard, winery-exclusive and regional-specific selections will be available for tasting and purchase at the Centre, offering visitors a taste of differing South Okanagan terroirs.

“The Great Estates Wine Experience Centre will offer visitors the opportunity to discover and taste what makes this area of B.C. so special,” said Josie Tyabji, Senior Director, Great Estates Okanagan. “We believe the Centre will provide a rich educational backdrop to our vibrant region, offer a wide-range of experiences for guests, and be a must-stop destination before they set out to explore the award-winning wineries within the South Okanagan.”

Designed by Penticton’s Landform Architecture, the Centre houses three distinct tasting areas and is also available for private functions. The Tasting Bar will rotate wine selections daily and offer four tastings for a $10 fee (CDN), refunded with a purchase of $50 (CDN) or more. Other experiences – such as food and wine pairing classes focused on specific varietals or types of cuisine – will have a fixed price based on the experience and food provided. The Great Estates team will lead educational seminars covering topics ranging from the history of the South Okanagan to growing regions and bring in guest educators for select classes as well. More information and a complete list of experiences can be found at

The Centre will be open throughout the Summer from May 1st to September 31st, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily and October 1st to April 30th, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily.

ABOUT GREAT ESTATES OKANAGAN Great Estates Okanagan is a collection of Okanagan wine brands and wineries. The portfolio includes Jackson-Triggs, Inniskillin, Nk’Mip Cellars, See Ya Later Ranch, Sumac Ridge, Steller’s Jay, Sunrock Vineyards, Dark Horse and Black Sage Vineyard. Hospitality experiences are available in Summerland, Osoyoos and Penticton.


Kristine Wilkinson Milk Creative Communications

Brittany Siddall Arterra Wines


For Immediate Release August 15, 2018

Osoyoos, BC First Urban Winery for Osoyoos Bruce Fuller, formerly the Founder and Proprietor of Rustico Farm & Cellars today announced that he’d entered into a Preliminary Agreement to develop the first Urban Winery in Osoyoos.

To be located on Main Street, Osoyoos it’s expected that the Osoyoos Urban Winery will complement many of the recommendations the town has been considering for their downtown revitalization initiative and certainly attract renewed activity to the core area. Fuller had been looking at a number of alternatives over the past months since the closing of Rustico Winery in January 2017 and while there were a number of winery and vineyard properties on the market in the South Okanagan, he was not able to identify one that met his site selection criteria and decided to explore the “Urban Winery” concept, now trending in parts of the U.S. and Canada.

“I needed to fully understand the unique differences between a traditional winery-vineyard operation and the, “Urban Winery” model. Simply put, an Urban Winery is a real winery that does not have an adjacent vineyard property, but does have a limited, small-lot production capability right on the premises.

Conceptually Osoyoos Urban Winery will be an old-west, cowboy-style Saloon paying tribute to Osoyoos’ colourful border history. If you ever visited Rustico Winery near Oliver... you'll get the drift. Fortunately we’ve been able to collaborate and share insights with the co-founder of the well-known, Vancouver Urban Winery. For instance, while Osoyoos Urban Winery will be presented with an old-time look, we’ll be installing a sophisticated, state-of-the-art Wine-On-Tap system allowing guests an extensive wine selection from many of our neighbouring South Okanagan wineries. In this way we can provide a terrific showcase for folks wanting to sample wines they may not be familiar with or otherwise miss from many of these local wineries.” Fuller said.

From a timing perspective Osoyoos Urban Winery will open later this year but is expected to be fully operational in early Spring 2019. -30-


The BC wine industry, it turns out, may not be as resistant to change as some feared. Involving an onerous ‘double majority’ approval (BCWA requiring support from at least 65% of all wineries AND support from member wineries that produce at least 50% of all BC wine), and uniquely including all licensed grape wineries in BC, the plebiscite demonstrated support for the strong consensus amongst industry in general.

Unfortunately with the change to a new provincial government and other delays, Ministry of Agriculture’s and Cabinet’s review of the amendments was slow.
Finally last week, a number of key amendments were announced, including Thompson Valley, Shuswap, Lillooet and the Kootenays being recognized as new BC VQA Geographical Indications (GIs), standard elements of appellation systems used around the world. Also, there was a streamlining of the process for recognizing sub-GIs. Previously Golden Mile Bench was the only sub-GI, but wineries on the east side of the Okanagan Valley, from Vaseux Lake to just north of Shuttleworth Creek, now are permitted to label their wines with the “Okanagan Falls” sub-GI.

An additional change implements a flat fee for small wineries to enable and encourage more wineries to participate in the BC Wine Authority’s programs. The change has already borne fruit, with Vancouver Island’s Rocky Creek Winery’s and Unsworth Vineyards’ wines receiving BC VQA certification, and both wineries joining as BC Wine Institute members.
While it’s taken some time, and there’s still work to be done, changes to the Wines of Marked Quality Regulation reflect the dynamic and evolving BC wine industry.

- Miles Prodan, President & CEO. BC Wine Institute


For immediate release:
July 13, 2018

Suggested Tweet: New Board of Directors for @WineBCdotcom & industry leaders recognized at the 2018 Canadian Wine Industry Awards ceremony on July 10 #BCWine #RootedinCool

KELOWNA, BC – Following another successful Annual General Meeting (July 10, 2018 at the Delta Hotel, Kelowna), that brought together winery owners from across BC, the BC Wine Institute (BCWI) is pleased to announce its new Board of Directors.
Nine voting BCWI Directors represent all British Columbia wineries. Newly elected or re-elected members of the Board of Directors are:
- Christa-Lee McWatters Bond from Encore Vineyards
- Josie Tyabji from Arterra Wines Canada
- Erik Fisher from Monte Creek Ranch Winery
- Charlie Baessler from Corcelettes Estate Winery

Also continuing their terms on the Board are Greg Berti (Andrew Peller), Ezra Cipes (Summerhill Pyramid Winery), Leo Gebert (St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery), Tony Holler (Poplar Grove Winery) and David Wilson (Mark Anthony Group). BCWI President & CEO Miles Prodan, BC Grapegrowers' Association representative David Kozuki and Independent Director Douglas Friend remain on the Board as ex officio non-voting members.
“It has been a busy year in the BC wine industry, and we appreciate the time commitment and dedication of our volunteer Board of Directors and committee members,” notes Prodan. “We look forward to working with our newly appointed Board member Charlie Baessler and continuing Board members, including BCWI Chair Christa-Lee McWatters Bond, to evolve the BC wine industry and take the vision of our member wineries to the next level.”
The BCWI would also like to thank outgoing Director Ian MacDonald (Liquidity Wines) for his contributions to the Board during his term.

In the evening, the BCWI welcomed the Canadian Vintners Association (CVA) to co-host the 2018 BC Wine Industry Awards alongside the Canadian Wine Industry Awards aimed to recognize individuals that have gone above and beyond to support and enhance Canada’s grape wine industry.

BCWI President & CEO Miles Prodan was honoured to present CJ Smith, a champion ambassador for BC VQA Wine, with the BCWI Industry Recognition Award in gratitude of her many years of outstanding contribution to the British Columbia wine industry.
“CJ’s passion for BC wine, ability to build community, and eagerness to help others transformed the local Westwood Wines BC VQA Wine store into a vibrant part of the local community and a vital contributor to the BC wine ecosystem,” remarked Prodan. “Today we thank CJ for her industry contributions and for supporting BC VQA Wine and wineries for more than eight years.”

The BCWI Award of Distinction was presented to Vera Klokock, founder of Hillside Winery in recognition of her outstanding leadership, commitment and passion for the advancement of the British Columbia wine industry.
“Vera Klokocka was one of few female winemakers in the Okanagan in the early 1990s whose fortitude and pioneering spirit were instrumental in shaping the BC wine industry as we know it today,” said BCWI Chair Christa-Lee McWatters Bond. “Vera’s role in leading the charge to bring about the Farmgate Winery Policy in 1989 changed the BC wine industry and until today she remains an unsung hero.”

The Canadian Wine Industry Award of Distinction, regarded as the highest form of peer recognition in the Canadian wine industry, was awarded to Anthony von Mandl, founder of Mission Hill Family Estate, and proprietor of CedarCreek Estate Winery, CheckMate Artisanal Winery, and the radical new gravity-fed Martin’s Lane Winery.
“Anthony’s lifelong commitment to putting the Okanagan Valley on the international map as a region producing world class wine is remarkable,” said Dan Paszkowski, President and CEO of the CVA. “His vision and dedication have been instrumental in the development of the BC wine industry, a region whose exceptional quality wines can stand alongside the best in the world.”

The Wine Industry Champion Award was presented to David Lawrason, a prolific wine journalist and authority on Canadian wine, who has spent more than 30 years reporting on wine, travelling across Canada tasting and making wine more accessible to Canadian consumers.

The inaugural Karl Kaiser Canadian Winemaker Award, created to celebrate great Canadian winemakers in honour of the legacy of the late Karl Kaiser, a Canadian wine industry pioneer and viticultural visionary, was awarded to Bruce Nicholson, Senior Winemaker at Inniskillin Niagara. With more than 30 years of experience in both British Columbia and Ontario, Bruce has made world-class wines and continues to demonstrate the endless potential for Canadian wines.

This year set a benchmark for the BC Wine Industry with BC VQA Wine reaching an all-time high of 18 per cent of wine market share in BC (litres). BC VQA Wine sales (litres) experienced a 7.3 per cent growth over the previous year.
- 30 -

Editors: Photos are linked for your consideration with the following cutlines,
Photos 1 - British Columbia Wine Institute Board of Directors (Back Row L-R: Charlie Baessler (Corcelettes Estate Winery), Greg Berti (Andrew Peller), Ezra Cipes (Summerhill Pyramid Winery), Erik Fisher (Monte Creek Ranch Winery), Leo Gebert (St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery) and Douglas Friend (Independent Director). Front Row L-R: Josie Tyabji (Arterra Wines Canada), Miles Prodan (BC Wine Institute), Chair Christa-Lee McWatters Bond (Encore Vineyards), David Wilson (Mark Anthony Group) and David Kozuki (BC Grapegrowers' Association).

Photos 2 - British Columbia Wine Institute and Canadian Vintners Association Industry Award Winners (L-R: Bruce Nicholson (recipient of the Karl Kaiser Canadian Winemaker Award), CJ Smith (recipient of the BC Wine Institute Industry Recognition Award), Anthony von Mandl (recipient of the Canadian Wine Industry Award of Distinction), Dan Paszkowski (President and CEO of the Canadian Vintners Association), Miles Prodan (President & CEO of the BC Wine Institute), Vera Klokocka (recipient of the BC Wine Institute Award of Distinction), David Lawrason (recipient of the Canadian Wine Industry Champion Award), Christa-Lee McWatters-Bond (Chair of the BC Wine Institute), Geoff McIntyre (Representing MNP, Sponsor of the Canadian Wine Industry Awards), David Wilson (Chair of the Canadian Vintners Association).
For the complete image gallery click here.



Olivier Humbrecht MW joins Phantom Creek Estates as Consultant

Oliver, British Columbia: Phantom Creek Estates is pleased to announce a long-term collaboration with Olivier Humbrecht MW of Alsace’s Domaine Zind-Humbrecht. Phantom Creek is Humbrecht’s first and only winery consulting project.

Olivier Humbrecht, France’s first Master of Wine, is the owner and winemaker of Domaine Zind-Humbrecht. The renowned estate has been in his family since 1620, and today is one of the world’s leading Pinot Gris and Riesling producers. Humbrecht initiated the winery’s transition to organic and biodynamic practices in 1997. He is now the President of Biodyvin, a prestigious biodynamic certifying body based in Europe.

As Phantom Creek expands its portfolio to include Pinot Gris and Riesling, two of British Columbia’s signature grape varieties, Humbrecht will be instrumental in helping to select and develop vineyard sites that have the potential for excellence.

“Having visited three times already, I know the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys are capable of producing exceptional Pinot Gris and Riesling with great vineyard character,” said Humbrecht. "With the ambition of ownership and the skilled team at Phantom Creek, I am enthusiastic about what we can achieve.”  

Working closely with Winemaker Ross Wise, Humbrecht will have an integral role in Phantom Creek’s white winemaking program. The state of the art winery, including an Alsatian inspired foudre room, was designed with Humbrecht’s input.

Humbrecht will also guide Phantom Creek’s transition to organic and biodynamic farming practices. The winery’s 67 acres of estate vineyards on the Black Sage Bench, including the historic Phantom Creek and Sundial Vineyards, have been farmed according to organic practices since 2017.

“We believe organic and biodynamic farming will result in the highest quality fruit from our estate vineyards,” said Ross Wise. “As the authority on biodynamic farming, Olivier is an indispensable source of knowledge.”

Phantom Creek’s inaugural wines will be released in Spring 2019, coinciding with the opening of the winery. Since 2016, the winery has farmed heat-seeking varieties ideally suited to the South Okanagan, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah.


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