Sheri Wetherell, November 20, 2014
“Until recently, the wines from our neighbors just north of the border in British Columbia were extremely limited in the Pacific Northwest. In an exclusive relationship with Whole Foods Market, the Wines of British Columbia now offers a selection of eight handpicked red and white wines (see the list below) available in 15 of the Whole Foods Markets across Washington and Oregon.
Named “one of the world’s 5 best wine regions you’ve never heard of,” by enRoute Magazine, the area can boast of a number of prestigious international awards, winning more than 2,100 in 2013 alone. But what makes this relatively small region (about 9,800 acres) such a hot spot for wine? Most grape growing happens between 30 and 50 degrees latitude in both hemispheres. Many would think growing grapes north of the 49th parallel would be a fruitless endeavor, but something magical happens in the British Columbian valley. Unique environmental factors, such as various micro-climates and rain shadows, widespread differences in soil types, and an ideal topography make this area the perfect place to grow. The Okanagan Valley, for example, is warmer and more arid that Napa Valley, getting nearly two hours more sunlight per day than Napa during the peak growing season in July and August. The area also benefits from more intense light than other regions which is critical to their short growing season.
The most produced red wines are Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Gamay Noir. For white wines it’s Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Reisling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Viognier.”
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