Saturday, February 10, 2007

Here a vineyard, there a vineyard, everywhere a vineyard!

Old McDonald had a farm... but now it is a vineyard. Everywhere you go in North America, new vineyards are being planted and new wineries are getting established.
Including here on Vancouver Island, BC. One of the oldest and well established vineyards and winery is the Blue Grouse Vineyards in the beautiful Cowichan Valley. This picture was taken just prior to their bountiful 2006 harvest.
An amazing 1000 new wineries were added last year in North America. Colorado saw the largest % increase (46%) in new wineries of any of the states. Have a look at this well made video taken at the Winter Park Winery. You can almost smell the grapes.
Canada also had a large % increase with 128 new wineries added and British Columbia leading the way with 46 new wineries. Other wine regions, notably Chile, Argentina, Russia, India and China are also adding new wineries at a fast pace. Why is this happening? Certainly here in North America, it is fuelled by the tremendous surge in interest in all things related to wine, not the least of which is the health implication of drinking wine, especially red wines. Our love affair with wine is infectious and the exuberance shown by our younger generation is rapidly making wine an accepted and well established part of our culture.The consumption of wine by the Millennial generation has increased from 10 percent in 2004 to 17 percent in 2006.
We are making our own decisions as to which wines and what style we prefer. The Wine Spectator and The Wine Advocate are not nearly as influential with our new found knowledge and desire to make our own decisions.
"Designation and certification of American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in the United States and Designated Viticultural Areas (DVAs) in Canada has been, and continues to be, the necessary first step in shifting the North American wine culture to the kind of appellation-focused paradigm that will greatly broaden interest and expand markets." The foregoing is a direct quote from Appelation North America's publisher Roger Dial. As usual Roger has hit the nail right on the head. Be sure to read this interesting article.
One final note. We have all heard the expressions "So much wine, so little time" and "Life is too short to drink bad wine" My thought is that life is too short... period. So have another glass of wine and enjoy them all while you can. I know I will.


Ben said...

Hello Wilf, This is the best summary I have seen on the increasing number of wineries in North America. I have read that there were over 300 wineries (including wine labels with no production facilities) established in California alone last year!

The point you bring up about AVAs and DVAs is quite relevant as well. I agree that branding by geographic region is the best bet to increase consumer consciousness; but I think that the regulators also need to be careful to resist creating too many tiny sub-regions that are not properly marketed and run the risk of watering down the whole system. That said, I am entirely in favor of regional distinctions, but consumer education needs to go hand in hand with this process. It will be interesting to see how the sub-AVA debate plays out in Paso Robles. That region's grape growers and wine producers association has spent a lot of money over the years developing the Paso Robles "brand," and it now resonates with consumers. But there are clearly climatic and terrain differences within that large region that warrant sub-AVA status. It's a tricky issue that touches on the legitimate authenticity of regional distinctions as well as the real demands of marketing to the consumer. Great post!

Wilf Krutzmann said...

Ben, thank you for your well thought out comments. We truly live in an exciting and interesting time for wine consumers. Marketing will definitely have a great role and influence upon the ultimate success of the new wine regions.

cookingchat said...

wow, that is some rapid growth! I don't know of Canadian wines much other than ice wines--what's good from the Vancouver area?

Wilf Krutzmann said...

David: Funny you should ask. I just happen to be giving a presentation to about 30 sommelier and wine judge types tomorrow evening. My topic? "Tasting and judging wines and the relevance of point systems" I will be doing a blind tasting of two BC Pinot Noirs and am looking forward to how they will be judged. I won't tell you which they are, in case one of the group happens to be looking at this comment. I will let you know how it went.

Joe said...

Hello Wilf. Nice to see another Canadian blogger. I have had some good experiences with Okanagan wines, but I have never tried the wines from the adjacent valleys, nor the wines of Vancouver Island. Any wineries in those regions you can recommend?

Wilf said...

Thanks for posting your comment. You have already had the opportunty to taste Quails Gate's wines and yes they are very good. Some of my favourites from the Okanagan are from Cedar Creek Estate Winery, Tin Horn Creek, Lang Vineyards,St. Hubertus,Mt.Boucherie, Summerhill and a couple of small wineries like Arrowleaf Cellars and one that is making some really good wines with Brad Cooper as the winemaker, Township 7. The Similkameen Valley is also showing some promise. The Fraser Valley now has a string of wineries but the original and still the best is Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery. On Vancouver Island there are some interesting wineries but again one of my favourites would have to be Blue Grouse Vineyards. Their Pinot Noir is outstanding.There are others of course but we'll leave them for some other time.

Joe said...

Thanks, had some of those, and definitely liked the Cedar Creek (especially the whites). I was particularly interested in the Similkameen and Cowichan - sounds like you have the material for a new post!