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What is “Ok-WINE-agan”?
Ok-WINE-agan is both a territory (Okanagan) and the dominant product industry within that area (wine). This combination is also the dominant winery and vineyard location within BC, and renowned around the world as producer of some of the best wines available anywhere! Also, one of the best Tourist Destinations. For example, the renowned travel website, The Matador Network, described the Okanagan Valley as "the rising star of North American Wine regions," and recognized it as one of the top seven mosy exciting places to travel to drink wine in 2019!
Ok-WINE-agan is also a word trademarked by Bruce Klippenstein, the self-proclaimed Ok-WINE-agan Town Crier. Use of this word requires that person’s approval, and may be used to promote any organization or activity in which this Town Crier is directly involved.
The Wine Industry, and its related products (info from Media Kit, Wines of British Columbia; updated since)
The wine industry in British Columbia is very vibrant, and has been earning a renowned reputation, both locally and internationally, for more than the past quarter-century.
BC has grown from 19 grape wineries in 1990 to more than 280 in 2019, located in these geographical Indicator Regions - Thompson-Okanagan-Similkameen; Fraser Valley & Vancouver; Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands; Kootenays.
The BC Wine Industry contributes $2.8 billion annually to British Columbia’s economy. Each year, BC’s wineries welcome more than 1,000,000 visitors. The industry employs about 12,000 staff.
With our reputation for quality wines, there has been increased demand for exporting the Wines of British Columbia and we expect to see strong growth in many key markets including the USA, Hong Kong, China and the UK.
High Product Quality and Recognition
BC VQA (Vintner Quality Assurance) Wines are frequent winners of prestigious awards, receiving more than 1,200 awards in 2016. VQA was founded in 2015, and recognizes only wines made from grapes grown in BC, and are fault-free.
BC vineyards have a very hot, short growing season, with lots of sunshine (2 hours/day more than Napa Valley!). This is unique in the world, and it makes unique wines! The Wines of British Columbia have bright natural acidity along with ripe fruit with pure and intense flavours. There is also natural tannin structure in the red wines that gives great ability to age. Our wines offer great acid, tannin, fruit and concentrated flavours - naturally.
A small sample of the awards won by Okanagan-based wineries in 2016 include:
• 13th Decanter World Wine Awards: 1 Platinum; and 5 Gold
• 34th Dan Berger’s International Wine Competition: The Chairman’s Award; 4 Gold
• 10th Struh Du Monde: 3 silver
• 77th Los Angeles International Wine Awards: Best of Class – Gold
• 36th All Canadian Wine Championships: Trophies – best red and best white wines of the year
• 36th San Francisco International Wine Competition: Best Varietal (2); Double Gold (10)
• 16th Wine Align National Awards of Canada: Best Performing Small Winery
• 19th Mondial Des Pinots: Gold
• Intervin International Wine Awards: Canadian Winery of the Year
Note: I could not find a list of awards for 2017 or 2018; therefore not updated.
Okanagan Location Importance
While grapes are grown in many parts of southern British Columbia, 84% of all vineyards are in the Okanagan Valley and 6% in the Similkameen Valley. At least 195 of the 280 wineries (70%) are in the Okanagan.
A winery in Peachland in 1978 was the first Canadian winery to produce Ice-wine, and only Okanagan and Simlkameen Valleys have suitable climate (cold enough Winters) to produce these. Canada is recognized as the world leader in ice-wine production.