B.C. Wine Month is well underway and, in Kamloops, that means great opportunities to celebrate and acknowledge not only B.C. wines, but also local wineries.
Now in its fourth year, B.C. Wine Month recognizes the efforts of hard-working, local grape growers. April is a month-long celebration and acknowledgement of the individuals who contribute to B.C’s wine industry, from grape growers and winemakers to retailers and those in the tourism industry.
Normally, the month of April sees an industry media launch, along with events at wineries and restaurants.
With pandemic-related restrictions on gatherings and events, those types of traditional events are not taking place this year.
However, the wine industry has pivoted to make the most of B.C. Wine Month in other unique ways.
In Kamloops, there are opportunities to experience four wineries: Harper’s Trail Winery, Monte Creek Winery, Privato Vineyard & Winery and Sagewood Winery.
All have tasting rooms and outdoor patio areas.
How to get involved and celebrate April B.C. Wine Month:
• A special campaign, A Year in the Life, will celebrate winemakers and farmers and seek to connect consumers to the faces and hard work behind every bottle of B.C. wine.
• The campaign is supported by billboards, in-store point-of-sale materials, social media and a consumer contest that features a chance to win an exclusive behind-the-scenes trip for two to one of B.C.’s pristine wine regions once it is safe to do so.
• Local retailers are showing support with special displays and point of sale materials in support of B.C. wine.
• Many local wineries are offering free delivery to consumers who wish to order their wines online directly from the wineries.
“Being unable to welcome consumers from outside our region to visit our wineries, we have focused a lot of our tourism marketing efforts on local consumers,” Trish Morelli, executive director Kamloops Wineries Association, told KTW.
“We are very thankful for our Kamloops and surrounding area residents that have been so supportive and so amazing.”
“Local wineries have adopted several new safety protocols to ensure the health and safety of our guests and staff at all times. They are operating at half — or less — capacity to ensure social distancing can be achieved, incorporating customer contact tracing, following enhanced surface cleaning and mask-wearing, adding Plexiglass barriers and creating unique tasting pod areas.”
Morelli said all wineries have adopted a reservation-based tasting system to better control visitors and to ensure improved customer experiences.
She said it relates to a more hands-on wine-tasting experience.
Making the experience more seamless, Morelli said, is the recent focus on e-commerce. Wineries have upgraded their e-commerce websites, making is easy for customers to enjoy wines from the comfort of their homes.
As well, local wineries continue to offer free delivery incentives for online wine purchases.
Morelli noted the impact the local wineries have on Kamloops is significant.
An average bottle of wine generates $48.17 in business revenue, local wages and taxes.
Under normal conditions, Kamloops’ wine industry draws 15,000 visitors annually to the city, generating an estimated $8.5 million in tourism-related economic impact.
Locally, that impact is seen in the current major expansion underway at Monte Creek Winery, which is adding a 19,000-square-foot gravity flow production facility, which will expand production capacity to about 50,000 cases.
In addition, Tranquille Farms is developing a master plan, which includes significant vineyard plantings and a new winery overlooking Kamloops Lake.
The future, Morelli said, appears bright for Kamloops’ wine-lovers.