Wine industry joins forces

Chelsea Powrie

There was a conference room full of wine industry bigwigs at the Penticton Lakeside Resort on Tuesday. 

The first annual B.C. Wine Industry Insight Forum took place, bringing together representatives from 85 wineries and grape growers, members of the tourism industry, experts and educators to discuss the future of the province's wine industry. 

Attendees heard from speakers on everything from marketing strategies to the science behind grape growing, and how climate change may change the face of the industry.

"I think the one thing that I'm most excited about is some of the work that's being done around sustainability in the Thompson Okanagan," said Maya Lange, vice president of global marketing for Destination B.C.

"Just really looking at that footprint that we leave as tourists and the impact that has on industry and residents and so on, and looking for ways to minimize some of that impact."

B.C. Wine Institute president Miles Prodan said he hoped that the event would be the first of many to come which bring together all the different industry groups in the province that contribute to the success of B.C. wines.

"We're a very small grape growing region so we're very selective of where we can sell to, so we're fortunate that B.C. consumers really like B.C. wine," Prodan said. 

He also said the institute is looking for ways to expand the sales of B.C. wine in other province, on the heels of a contentious embargo with Alberta last month

"We're really hoping and working hard at opening up borders so we can ship our wine directly to Canadians around the country," Prodan said. 

The event included lectures and discussions throughout the day, and concluded with — what else — a wine reception. 

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