Saturday, March 19, 2005

Radical New Changes in BC WINE biz

It may not be apparent to the average BC wine drinker but the provincial industry is currently going through a regulatory refit.

The provinical government is working on introducing the new BC Wine Authority. This body will operate as an autonomous organization and will take over many aspects of the wine and grape quality program now run by BC Wine Institute through the VQA program. The VQA program will continue as a marketing, education, sales and advocacy instrument of the Institute.

All BC wineries will participate in the Wines of Marked Quality regulations administered by the new Authority.

Some of the features of the new Authority will be:
  • a registration system
  • wine standards
  • recognition of geographical indicators (sub-regions, vineyards designations etc.)
  • assessing compliance
  • establishmet of taste panels including eligibility of tasters and procedures

The point of the exercise has been to try and create a level playing field bewteen the larger interests and smaller, independent wineries. The program will be supported by proposed user fees that will be proportionate to the production levels of each winery operation.

On the surface, consumers may not see much change in everyday operations. But wineries will have an opportunity to try a new system that will attempt to harmonize regulations regarding quality and day-to-day opertions without the present bias towards larger operations.

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