The following was recently released by Wine Growers British Columbia. While AromaLoc’s market is global, we are proudly based in the Okanagan Valley, and care deeply about the present and future of BC’s wine industry.
In response to the compounding climate-change related crises being faced by grape-growers and winemakers in British Columbia, the BC Wine Grape Council (BCWGC) recently commissioned ‘An Opportunities Assessment for the BC Grape and Wine Industry’ that outlines recommendations and demonstrates the financial support required for the future success of the industry.
The primary recommendation in the assessment is funding for a crop renewal program solely focused on the BC grape wine industry to the tune of $162 million to $317 million.
The study provides empirical insights into the replant needs in British Columbia:
— 29% of the industry’s 12,681 acres are estimated to have succumbed to winter damage;
—30% are estimated to suffer from permanent viral disease and require replanting to avoid mass spreading;
— In total, between 3,814 and 7,492 acres need to be replanted in BC;
— Average re-establishment cost per acre is $42,360;
— Estimated costs associated with the replant are between $162 million and $317 million.
With BC wineries already suffering from reduced yields and decreased tourism revenue due to the climate-change related winter freeze and wildfire events, government support is critical for replant efforts of this scale.
“The challenges facing grape growers and winemakers today are unlike anything we have experienced in the past,” remarks BC Wine Grape Council Chair Ross Wise. “Climate change disasters along with increased incidence of virus and disease pressure are threatening the economic viability of our industry and we need funding in order to combat these major issues.”
“The replant funding outlined in this study is in line with federal and provincial investment seen elsewhere in Canada and is certainly warranted given the significance of the economic impact of BC’s wineries,” notes Christa-Lee McWatters, Wine Growers BC Board Chair. “In 2019 the total economic impact of the BC wine industry was $3.75 billion with $440 million in tax revenue alone.”
Earlier this year Cascadia Partners worked with BCWGC and Wine Growers British Columbia (WGBC) on the Winter Bud Damage Report, which projected the preliminary results from this year’s harvest to confirm the vineyard crop loss of 54% across the board resulting in a 20% reduction in vineyard and winery employment (totalling 381 lost jobs), $133 million decrease in the total revenues of vineyards and wineries and $100 million reduction in government tax revenues attributable to 100% BC wine with a further economic impact on wine tourism-related hospitality and accommodation businesses throughout rural BC.
“While the challenges being faced right now are unprecedented, this is not the first time that the BC wine industry has faced such a crisis,” added McWatters. “In the early 1990s, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) dramatically transformed the competitive environments for local producers when industry and all levels of government came together and delivered the cost-shared Grape and Wine Adjustment Assistance Program (GWAAP) that transformed the BC wine industry into a producer of truly unique, high-quality wine and laid the foundation for more than 30 years of growth.”
In order for the replant program to be successful, industry stakeholders agreed that specific program guidelines would be required to ensure the health and vitality of the new plantings. Click here for more details on the program recommendations and additional opportunities to re-establish a strong foundation for the future of the BC wine industry.