Country Life in BC

February 27, 2019

Two new wine regions recommended

by PETER MITHAM

Two new regions – known as geographic indications (GIs) – could soon be approved for use on wine labels.

Naramata Bench and Skaha Bench, both located within the Okanagan Valley have been forwarded to Victoria for final approval by the BC Wine Authority.

Wineries and growers in the two areas approved the designations late last year after several months of discussion and consultation. Since they’re part of the Okanagan Valley, itself a recognized viticultural area, the two areas will be known as sub-GIs. If approved, they’ll appear on wine labels alongside “Okanagan Valley,” a practice known as conjunctive labelling.

While approval of Skaha Bench, located south of Penticton, was a relatively straight-forward process, many industry members contested the Naramata Bench designation.

Use of the region’s name by local wineries had built significant equity in what was primarily a brand identifying a cluster of wineries making wine from grapes grown across the valley. The sub-GI designation limits use of the regional name to those wineries making wines from grapes grown on the bench.

The designation will give local wineries a stronger sense of place, and help consumers appreciate the importance of place of origin on the character of the wines they enjoy.

Naramata wineries that wish to make wines from grapes grown elsewhere will still be able to do so, but may not call the wines Naramata Bench wines.