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B.C. wine subappellation moves ahead.

Penticton, B.C.--British Columbia's first subap-pellation is in sight, paving the way for additional proposals for new geographical indications in one of Canada's primary wine regions.

The three-member board of the B.C. Wine Authority (BCWA) asked the province's agriculture minister in October to formally approve and establish the Golden Mile Bench Designated Viticultural Area (DVA), after 10 wineries submitted an application in May to form the first subappellation within the larger Okanagan Valley DVA.

Government is unlikcly to act contrary to the recommendation of the authority, which oversees the province's wine industry on its behalf.

Wineries within the Golden Mile Bench DVA, which includes approximately 1,580 acres (790 acres planted to grapes) south of Oliver, B.C., include C.C. Jentsch Cellars, CheckMate Artisanal Winery, Culmina Family Estate Winery, Fairview Cellars, Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery, Hester Creek, Inn iski Ilin Okanagan, Road 13 Vineyards, Rus-tico Farm & Cellars Ltd. and Tinhorn Creek Vineyards.

Wineries that source fruit from local vineyards may also be able to label their wines using the new geographical indication if the wines meet content requirements.

"It's a maturation of the wine industry," Cynthia Enns, co-owner of Laughing Stock Vineyards, said of the BC WA's decision.

The new area occupies bench lands to the west of Highway 97 in an area long known as the Golden Mile. Running approximately 4.2 miles north to south at an elevation of between 1,066 feet and 1,673 feet above sea level, it is roughly bounded by Reid Creek and Testalinden Creek.

The vetting process for the new designation included interviews with proponents of the DVA as well as the scientists who assisted with the application. BCV/A directors visited the area and conducted a vote seeking a double majority (two-thirds) of affected members to ensure the industry itself accepted the new subappellation.

"Following an extensive review of the application, the authority's board has concluded that the application meets the requirements," the BCWA stated, promising to release its full report regarding the DVA application in due course.

Golden Mile Bench is the first subappella-tion the BCWA has considered since its creation in 2008, and as such it was a test case of sorts. The speed at which the application was processed and forwarded for government recognition pleased the B.C. Wine Institute. It also opens the doors to proposals from other regions including the Black Sage Bench and the Naramata Bench.

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Author:Mitham, Peter
Publication:Wines & Vines
Date:Dec 1, 2014
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