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  What is the VQA wine program*?
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Early in its existence, the British Columbia Wine Institute adopted the Vintners' Quality Alliance (VQA) program as a cornerstone of its wine certification and marketing strategy. Also utilized in Ontario, VQA defines and mandates standards for wine and certification, and provides market development support for premium wines produced by participating wineries.

Highlights of the VQA Standards

  • Wines bearing the label designation "Product of British Columbia" must be produced from 100% British Columbia grown grapes.
  • Optimum growing standards are encouraged.
  • Wines bearing the name of a viticultural area are derived from a minimum of 95% of the grapes grown in the named area.
  • Where a vintage date is stated on the label, at least 95% of the wine is obtained from the designated year of harvest.
  • Wines labeled as "estate bottled" are produced from grapes grown in a vineyard owned or controlled by the winery, and all processing steps from crushing to bottling are performed at the winery.
  • As a final check on quality, the wine-tasting panel tests and approves each wine.

The VQA standards monitor the following areas of production:

·         Geographical Indication - only wines made from grapes grown exclusively in a specific region, such as Okanagan Valley or Frasier Valley, can display the name of the region on a wine label or bottle.

  • Vineyard Designation - only grapes grown exclusively from a designated vineyard may be named on a wine.
  • Estate Bottled - only wines made exclusively from grapes grown on an estate may be labeled as "estate bottled."
  • Wine Categories - determines if a wine is to labeled single-varietal, dual varietal, or blended wine; also regulates vintage dating, sugar content and sweetness descriptors.
  • Quality Standards - controls minimum brix levels at harvest, states acceptable oenological practices, prohibits the addition of water, limits the level of chaptalization, controls the use of sweet reserve, and prohibits the practice of fortification other than in wines labeled as such.

* All information courtesy of the British Columbia Wine Institute.




Be sure to visit the South Okanagan's premium BC VQA Wine Store located right here in Oliver at the Wine Country Welcome Centre.

Our complimentary daily VQA wine tastings are both fun and informative!

Over 400 VQA accredited wines at one convenient location!



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