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The Meyer Family Vineyards, in Okanagan Falls, B.C., in an undated file photo.NETTIE/Handout

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The newly released 2019 B.C. Wine Grape Acreage Report offers a snapshot of how British Columbia’s wine scene is evolving. The province is now home to 11,086 acres of wine grapes, an 8 per cent increase from when the last report was produced in 2014. Back in 1999, the total acreage was 4,184.

Merlot, pinot noir and pinot gris are the most widely planted grape varieties, with pinot noir taking the second position from pinot gris since the last report. Cabernet franc and riesling also climbed in the Top 10 list.

British Columbia’s industry focuses almost exclusively on growing European vinifera grape varieties, with only 2.5 per cent of the vineyards planted with hybrid grapes, such as blattner, marechal foch and vidal. Red wine varieties increased to be 53.1 per cent of current plantings, while the cultivation of white grapes fell to 46.9 per cent from 49 per cent in 2014.

The report documents an increase in vineyards operated by wineries and independent growers, to 1,049 in 2019 from 929 in 2014, as well as an 11 per cent jump in licensed wineries processing local grapes in the province, to 282 at present from 254 in 2014. Home to 86.8 per cent of the province’s vineyard operations, the Okanagan Valley is the production and hospitality hub.

The information was collected through a province-wide industry survey and collaborative review of information reported to the B.C. wine industry associations. It’s helpful for the industry to monitor trends in wine grape farming and help improve industry planning and business forecasting. The data could be useful in predicting shortages or surpluses of various grape varieties and help to determine topics for upcoming research and development projects. You can read the full report here.

As a new component of its education and outreach initiatives, the Wine Growers British Columbia recently unveiled a set of 10 high-resolution topographic maps detailing the dramatic landscape of the province and its nine diverse wine regions in detail. The maps were designed to educate the trade, media and consumers about the province’s unique sites and growing regions.

British Columbia’s wine regions lay at the highest latitudes where grape growing is possible. Long hours of daylight, hot days and cool nighttime temperatures help to produce wines with bright fruit flavours and vibrant acidity. The maps are available at WineBC.com.

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