How Can it Be the “Best in BC Release”…When It’s Not the Best in BC?

This week’s blog topic was an easy choice…as soon as I walked in the BC government liquor store and saw the “Best of BC Release”, I didn’t even really need to look at the brochure. Given past history, I almost knew that the best wineries – and wines – in the province weren’t represented and, surprise, surprise, I was right.

Mission Hill, Inniskillin, Jackson Triggs…the regular suspects were there, along with the likes of Painted Rock and Laughing Stock. Whereas the wineries that most wine dweebs like me recognize as the best in BC – old stalwarts like La Frenz, Nichol, Blue Mountain, and Kettle Valley, together with newcomers like Marichel, Howling Bluff, Moon Curser, Cassini Cellars, Orofino and Eau Vivre – were nowhere to be seen!

Now why the latter weren’t there isn’t actually that much of a surprise. Most of those wineries either don’t make enough wine to need to get listed in the government stores, or else they sell out at their winery and have no need to go that route. Interestingly, I noticed that Moon Curser has a couple of wines listed right now (the red Border Vines and white Afraid of the Dark), which are, ironically, better than the almost all of the others in this release.

And, when I think about it, I guess it doesn’t take much to figure out why the wineries and wines offered in the Best of BC Release are there. They are the biggest, with the largest marketing budgets and production levels. Money, as they say…well, you can finish that sentence.

But when it comes down to it, my problem is actually how the whole thing is promoted. “The Best of BC Release”? I don’t think so. And that is not fair to folks who don’t know that much about BC wine.

Maybe if it was “the biggest wineries in BC trying to sell their $35+++ wines”, then that would be a fair title.

But not the Best in BC.

And, by the way, those “1 bottle limits” for some of the wines? I expect those will be lifted very soon, otherwise there will be the embarrassing situation of the “Best in BC” sitting on the shelves, not selling.



Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “How Can it Be the “Best in BC Release”…When It’s Not the Best in BC?”

  1. Cynthia Enns Says:


    Ran across your blog entry and thought I’d provide you with a bit of perspective on the LDB”s Best of BC selection, from the point of view of the winery…. in our case, Laughing Stock Vineyards.

    The LDB approached US to include our Syrah 2010 in the offering as that wine had won the Lt. Governor’s award this year. My understanding is that the LDB was using the well recognized LG awards as a measure for the ‘Best of BC’. We are by no means ‘one of the biggest wineries with largest marketing budgets and production levels’. We are a small family owned winery, just like the many ‘missing’ wineries that you named.

    Our wines sell out each year and we still felt it had value to set aside some of the Syrah 2010 for this program as we don’t regularly list our products in the government stores.

    While I agree that many of the wineries you named are quality producers, some don’t participate in awards program like the LG awards that may get them on the radar of the LDB for this program. And some on your list are not VQA, which is one of the criteria the LDB requests.

    Cynthia Enns
    Laughing Stock Vineyards

    • sbwineblog Says:

      Cynthia, thanks for your comment and questions. And I certainly admit that Laughing Stock seemed like an anomaly from a size point of view.

      But while I appreciated your clarifications, my main point is that == for the buying public in BC, particularly those who don’t know very much about wine — something titled the “Best in BC” is misleading (intentionaly or not) the way it is currently presented. I know many of the wineries I referenced don’t participate on purpose, either because they don’t agree with how these things work, don’t have to (because they sell everything anyway) or aren’t VQA (which is a whole other debate on its own). But most people don’t know any of this, and may assume that these indeed are the “best”.

      And, of course, there is the issue of price. In my opinion, $40 (or more) for a BC wine is really pushing it. I’m all for allowing the market to dictate what people are willing to pay, but having tasted many of these wines against lower priced BC wines (let alone $25 – $30 wines from other parts of the world)…well, it just doesn’t add up to me, or that people might associate best with most expensive. Instead, i would point people to the 2011 Cassini Cellers Merlot; at $17.90, it is the best value red wine from BC I have tasted since Tinhorn Creek’s 1998 Merlot.

      I wish you all the best in the future, however. And I have enjoyed your Portfolio in the past, but now it is too pricey for me!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: