Cowichan Valley wineries and grape growers are rallying behind a proposal to create Vancouver Island’s first sub-appellation.
A proposal to designate the Cowichan Valley a sub-geographical indication (GI, or appellation) of the larger Vancouver Island appellation was filed with the BC Wine Authority on April 16.
“The proposed sub-GI has been identified as a unique area with respect to landform, landscape position, meso-climate, air drainage and soil materials,” says the proposal, prepared by Bailey Williamson of Blue Grouse Estate Winery and Vineyard in Cobble Hill on the strength of scientific studies by former federal soil scientist Scott Smith, principal of Eterna Consulting, in consultation with scientists at the Summerland Research and Development Centre.
The proposed sub-GI is 350 square kilometres and includes 14 wineries representing approximately 150 to 175 acres of vineyard. All stakeholders support the region’s designation as a sub-GI.
The proposal follows votes last year in favour of establishing sub-GIs cover the Naramata Bench and Skaha Bench, as well as the previous establishment of sub-GIs for Okanagan Falls and Golden Mile Bench.
Williamson said he hopes an industry plebiscite and establishment of a sub-GI for the Cowichan Valley will complete by the end of this year. This would allow local wineries to label wines made with local grapes from this year’s vintage with the new designation.