Print

The history of the BC wine industry has included many extensive debates surrounding the use of the "VQA" certification for wine, which was originally designed to provide a quality indicator for consumers of BC wine. Many wineries are part of the VQA program but others (mostly smaller producers) have opted out. The requirements for the use of the VQA certification are currently contained in the Wines of Marked Quality Regulation. The VQA debates have surfaced again as some wineries have raised issues with respect to the propriety of VQA standards relating to packaging, varietals and taste tests (the latter of which has probably been the subject of the most debates since inception). On packaging, the current VQA rules only permit packaging in glass bottles. Some wineries (such as Summerhill and Okanagan Crushpad) have sought to use other forms of packaging in an attempt to address consumer demand particularly as it relates to the environment and a wine's shelf life after opening. However, these wineries have been unable to apply for  VQA designation for wines packaged in alternative formats (such as bag-in-box) even though the same wine is also sold in bottles with VQA certification. The VQA rules also prevent certification for wine made from any grape varietals that are not contained in Schedule 5 of the Regulation. This has presented a problem for wineries such as Terravista Vineyards in Penticton which is making a tasty wine from the Spanish varietal, Albarino, which does not appear on the list. Finally, of course, the taste test issue has re-surfaced again (how could it not?): read Chris Coletta's interesting post on all of these subjects (It's Time for the BC Wine Industry To Do Some Fresh Thinking) along with Tom Di Bello's comments.