Whether for health or just taste, Canadians are drinking more wine than ever, and a growing proportion of those wines are being produced right here in British Columbia.
On March 26, Comox Valley residents will have a chance to taste some of the best wines B.C. has to offer at the grand opening of the Courtenay VQA Wine Store, the Valley’s first store dedicated exclusively to promoting B.C.’s finest wines.
“For a young industry taking up a small growing region on the world map, B.C. VQA wines are gaining a lot of recognition and respect,” said Cindy Holland, owner and operator of the innovative new store. “They’re something we can all take a lot of pride in, and I’m really pleased to promote them.”
VQA, which stands for Vintners Quality Alliance, is a designation that guarantees a wine’s high quality and Canadian pedigree. In British Columbia, the B.C. VQA designation guarantees that a wine’s grapes are 100 per cent B.C. grown and that the wine is produced “from vine to wine” within the province. B.C.
VQA wines must also meet demanding standards for production and certification within their particular varietal, such as Chardonnay, Chablis or Merlot.
“People are always surprised at how many wines are being produced around the province,” added Holland. “There are about 140 wineries in B.C. and more than 100 are part of the VQA program, so the selection is really very broad. I’m able to bring in far more varieties than the liquor store, but at the same prices.”
The Courtenay VQA Wine Store carries more than 300 different wines, including ice and dessert wines, and Holland expects to offer more than 400 by summer. A small sample will be available for tasting this Saturday.
From 11 a.m to 1 p.m., guests can sample a Sauvignon Blanc with Saltspring Island goat cheese, crackers and other spreads; from 1 to 3 p.m., sparkling wine and cupcakes will be served; and from 3 to 5 p.m., a “big red” will offer pure indulgence alongside local Dark Side chocolate and Natural Pastures cheeses.
A portion of the proceeds from Saturday’s event will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross for Japanese disaster relief.
Holland invites all local wine-lovers and wine-likers to raise a glass, sample some local artisan crackers, cheese and spreads and enter to win a variety of door prizes from her extensive selection of wine accessories.
“There’s a B.C. wine for every occasion,” she noted. “Even if you’re new to wine, we’ve got the know-how to point you in the right direction and give you serving and pairing tips. Whatever your taste, you’re going to find something you’ll love.”
The Courtenay VQA Wine Store is located at 7–3195 Cliffe Avenue, across from Future Shop. Store hours are Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information, visit www.courtenayvqawines.com or call 250-871-1444.
— Courtenay VQA Wine Store