July/August 2020 – Facing the Music

With a mission to inform, empower, celebrate and advocate for British Columbia's current and aspiring business leaders, BCBusiness go behind the headlines and bring readers face to face with the key issues and people driving business in B.C.

Issue link: http://digital.canadawide.com/i/1273655

Contents of this Issue


Page 52 of 79

APRIL 2020 JULY/AUGUST 2020 BCBUSINESS 53 canopy of a Dale Chihuly glass chande- lier, a shop featuring wines up to $100 a bottle—seems designed to level up to VIP tier quickly. "But none of this matters if we do not have a seamless visitor experience," explains Cilley, an Argentinian recruited from Napa who's part of an international team that includes a New Zealand wine- maker and team members from Austria, Portugal and France. "We've looked all over the world for talent," he says. "That is part of the need here: for technical knowl- edge, vineyard workers, tasting-room staff. I wish there was a single college, one program I could go to, but there is not." Remote areas like Vancouver Island have their own struggles attracting tal- ent. "The Okanagan has all kinds of infra- structure because of the sheer volume of wineries there—a network of winemakers, tasting-room employees, marketing exper- tise—that we don't have," Blue Grouse's Brunner says. In the competitive Interior, where talented workers can relatively easily bounce from winery to winery, employers like Mt. Boucherie are adding smart amenities like bike parking, a big staff room and cool uniforms to retain the right staff. B.C. could be not just a magnet for global wine experts but an incubator for talent. That starts with having a concen- tration of people and facilities. UBC, which has long based its Wine Research Centre within the faculty of land and food systems in Vancouver, is building a brain trust of chemistry, biology and business research- ers at its 15-year-old Okanagan campus near YLW. And on the Penticton campus of Okanagan College, manager Wes Peterson oversees a series of bright white chem- istry and microbiology labs, offices and meeting and event spaces that form the new BC Beverage Technology Access Cen- tre ( BCBTAC). It's one of a dozen federally funded centres designed to help small and medium-sized companies in various indus- tries with everything from technology and equipment to business planning and prod- uct research and development. With at least 220 wineries, 24 craft breweries, 19 cideries and 16 distilleries in the region, Peterson has already shep- herded projects from recycling winemak- ing byproducts to testing wine-can liners to conducting consumer taste research. "For wineries that have an idea but they are resource-constrained, we can help them with that," he says. "That's really where I see the new innovation coming into the valley." Developer Greyback Construction is building a different kind of South Okana- gan incubator, near Gallagher Lake in Oliver. "I call them incubator wineries," says wine industry veteran and director of development operations Mike Daley of District Wine Village's units, contain- ing a crush pad (an equipped contract winemaking facility) plus a tasting-room storefront and patio, as well as common spaces for everything from culinary pop- ups to weddings and events. Models from Vintner's Village in Prosser, Washington, to Tin City in Paso Robles, California, have shown that adding local entertainment and food to wine makes a potent agritour- ism draw—and a launchpad for fledgling wineries, breweries and distilleries. "What we wanted to do is make it a low-capital investment," Daley explains. In a recent Town & Country article, author Jay McInerney wrote that a visit to the Okanagan felt like touring Oregon's Willamette Valley 25 years ago. Legendary wine writer Jancis Robinson has said that the valley's spirit reminds her of Napa's pioneers. Part of a global market valued at more than US$300 billion annually and expected to grow by more than 5 percent a year, the B.C. wine industry is putting on rosé-coloured glasses. n "We've looked all over the world for talent. That is part of the need here: for technical knowledge, vineyard workers, tasting-room staff. I wish there was a single college, one program I could go to, but there is not" –Santiago Cilley, CEO, Phantom Creek Estates Quality Check WINES WITH THE BC VQA STAMP OF APPROVAL KEEP GAINING MARKET SHARE SOURCE: BC LIQUOR DISTRIBUTION BRANCH $316,958,031 BC VQA WINE SALES AT BC LIQUOR STORES IN 2019, UP YEAR-OVER-YEAR 2.9% 5,807 BC VQA SKUS IN 2019, UP ALMOST FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR 8% $15-$20 FASTEST-GROWING WINE PRICE BAND FOR BC LIQUOR STORES $15.93 AVERAGE PRICE FOR A 750-ML BOTTLE OF BC VQA WINE AT GOVERNMENT STORES IN 2019, VERSUS $15.05 OVERALL

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of BCBusiness - July/August 2020 – Facing the Music