Member Benefits


MARKETING: Promoting & Elevating the Wines of British Columbia Brand

The Wines of British Columbia (BC VQA) are to be trusted, loved and cherished because they are made in comparatively small quantities and handcrafted to bring out distinct flavours unique to our region. -- Brand Promise, Wines of British Columbia

Marketing the Wines of British Columbia brand makes up a significant portion of the BCWI’s annual budget, with a goal of growing the BC VQA market share.

Our annual strategic marketing plan and subsequent marketing projects are approved by the BCWI’s marketing committee, board of directors and winery members.

Events – Dominating the wine and food calendar in BC.

  • Bloom. BC VQA Spring Release Tastings
    • Held annually in Victoria and Vancouver 
    • Combined these events bring out over 700 trade and media. 
  • Discover BC VQA Spring Release Tastings
    • Held annually in the spring in Calgary
    • Combined these events showcase new releases to over 200 trade and media
  • Colour. BC VQA Fall Release Tasting
    • Held annually in Vancouver.
    • Over 450 trade and media attend
  • Discover BC VQA Fall Release Tasting
    • Held annually in Calgary
    • This event brings out 175 trade and media
  • ChefmeetsBCGrape
    • Our signature consumer wine and food pairing event in 2016 showcased 80 wineries and 11 local restaurants to a sold-out crowd of 500 people.
    • In 2017, we are expanding ChefmeetsBCGrape to Victoria and Calgary (in addition to Vancouver). The event immediately follows the spring Bloom and Discover events.
  • Vancouver International Wine Festival

Retail Programs – Telling the story of the Wines of British Columbia in-store.

Four comprehensive retail campaigns per year keep the Wines of British Columbia (BC VQA) top-of-mind with consumers at over 200 BC Liquor Stores and 21 BC VQA Wine Stores during key months of the year.

Printed Material – A hands-on experience with the brand.

In 2011 the BCWI partnered with Tourism BC to produce the most comprehensive winery touring maps in the province. Every fruit winery in the province that has a tasting room was given the opportunity to be included. More than 40,000 guides were produced for the 2016 tourist season. Distribution includes Tourism BC Visitor Centres and Kiosks, BC VQA Wine stores, BC Liquor Stores, wineries and at many events and one-off locations.

BC VQA Wine Stores – Promoting an exclusive distribution channel.

We develop marketing tactics that fit the needs of the retail environment in each of the 21 stores, and work in partnership with our appointed operators on innovative ways to utilize their extensive knowledge and friendly service to drive sales of BC VQA Wine. Although the smallest channel in terms of the number of stores by a significant margin, during the year ended March 31, 2016, BC VQA Wine stores accounted for 6% of all BC VQA Wine sales in the province - a testament to their strength as promoters of premium, 100% BC wine.

Consolidations – Competing on national and international levels.

BCWI members’ BC VQA Wines are consolidated by the BCWI to be forwarded to select annual national and international competitions.

These consolidations represent a significant cost, time and effort savings for BCWI members. Member wineries can participate in the consolidation program on a pay-to-play basis, and are also responsible for covering the cost of their wines, competition entry fees, and delivery of wine to the BCWI office.

To view specifics, click here.

To view the awards won by BC Wine Institute members, click here.


The BCWI has secured key industry relationships to further promote the Wines of British Columbia.

    • The BCWI pays for its members’ listings on, Tourism BC’s premiere travel planning website for British Columbia.
  • Dine Out Vancouver Festival (DOVF)
    • The BCWI is the official wine sponsor for Tourism Vancouver’s Dine Out Vancouver program which showcases prix fixe menus (paired with BC VQA Wines) from over 200 Vancouver and area restaurants.
  • Dine Around & Stay in Town Victoria
    • The BCWI is also the official wine sponsor for Tourism Victoria’s Dine Around & Stay in Town Victoria which features prix fixe menus (paired with BC VQA Wines) at over 75 restaurants.
  • Dine Around Thompson Okanagan
    • Another great festival in which BCWI is also an official wine sponsor for the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association's Dine Around Thompson Okanagan which features prix fixe menus (paired with BC VQA Wines) at over 55 restaurants.
  • Savour Magazine
    • The BCWI has partnered with Savour Magazine (A Niche Media publication) in an exclusive BC VQA Wine content section of the magazine. Members can take advantage of BC VQA advertising rates and value advertising bundled packages. The editorial line up will include new member and winery profiles, features on the BC wine industry and wine tasting notes by Master of Wine Rhys Pender. For further information please contact the editor of Savour at

FedEx and Canada Post offer discounted shipping rates for BCWI winery members, grapegrower partners and BC VQA Wine stores. For more information please contact:

Rate savings for BCWI members at:

  • Watermark Beach Resort, Osoyoos 
  • Hyatt Regency, Calgary

COMMUNICATIONS: Getting the message out

Strategic communications are a necessity for growing market share. Our communications are closely linked to marketing and advocacy objectives and are designed to achieve maximum impact, while positioning the BCWI as the key voice of BC’s wine industry.

Communications include media relations, member communications, issues management, public relations, government relations and education.

Media Relations

We have established close working relationships with key wine, food and travel media. Our proactive media outreach attracts provincial and national wine and travel media to BC’s wine regions; we host selected journalists from BC and across Canada. Stories generated by these visits are key to developing BC’s wine tourism potential. Here are a few 2012 highlights:

  • Sommelier Journal media tour with David Furer
  • Wine Business Monthly media tour with Eric Jorgensen
  • Tidings Media Tour with Tony Aspler
  • Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards Judges Dinner for BCWI member winemakers and proprietors (held in the Okanagan once every two years).
    • The 2012 judges are key media and industry influencers from across Canada: Anthony Gismondi, David Lawrason, David Lawrason, Craig Pinhey, Janet Dorozynski, John Szabo, DJ Kearney, Brad Royale, Bill Zacharkiw, Ben Macphee-Sigurdson, Stuart Tobe, Rhys Pender, Heather Rankin, Remy Charest, Rick VanSickle, Tom Firth and Treve Ring.
  • Key media who attended our Bloom Spring Release tastings included: Anthony Gismondi, Bruce Stephen, Gary Hynes, John Schreiner, Kasey Wilson, Mireille Sauvé, Paul Rickett, Rhys Pender, Sheila Whittaker, Sid Cross, Tim Pawsey, Treve Ring, and the team from Wine Access. 

Training and Education – Creating ambassadors.

The BCWI plans and organizes tours and training for retail, trade and media personnel to educate and inspire our best advocates of BC VQA Wine and the Wine Regions of BC. One of the largest is the BCLDB VQA Advocate Tour. Held annually in June, the BCWI assists in the planning and coordination of an Okanagan/Similkameen tour for 30 to 40 new BC LDB VQA Advocates and Product Consultants each year. Stephen Schiedel, BCLDB’s Portfolio Manager for Wines of Canada, USA and South America, is very proud of this program and its positive effects; “we try to make a measure of sales after the annual advocate tour. In 2010 our 10% growth in BC VQA sales are attributed to the annual investment we’ve made in bringing VQA Advocates and Product Consultants to the Okanagan. In addition to sales, employees are also more in-tune with their local wines, are able to tell the stories behind the wines and sell at higher prices.”

Stakeholder Bulletins & Newsletters

In addition to sending regular communication bulletins to members and industry stakeholders, the BCWI sends our e-newsletter, the First Press, monthly. We keep members informed on industry changes and trends, government policy changes, sales figures, competitions, conferences, business and education opportunities and networking opportunities.

Social Media

The BCWI is active on Twitter (@winebcdotcom) and boasts a rating of 96.4/100 as evaluated by Twitter Grader which analyzes the influence and usefulness of our account with respect to our marketing efforts. We have a strong following of 9,685 people including influential trade and media such as Anthony Gismondi, Tim Pawsey, John Szabo, Craig Pihney, John Schreiner, Terry David Mulligan, Rhys Pender, Kurtis Kolt, Jackie Cooke, Chris Waters and James Cluer to name a few. 

Strategic Messaging & Information Resource

The BCWI aligns key messages and plans joint strategic communications. We work with communications staff in member wineries and tourism associations to harmonize messages for media visits. We also work with communications staff in government departments to develop information bulletins for members and for media.

The BCWI also responds to media requests for information about the Wines of British Columbia (BC VQA) and BC’s wine industry in general. Our rapid response time to media requests, along with the targeted key messages, helps us shape the timing and content of media stories. We are often the first source of information and the first point of contact for media looking for information about BC’s wine industry.  In addition, we research and develop story ideas for BCWI members, Tourism BC, and local tourism associations, who then use these in their own media relations campaigns to promote BC’s wine industry.


ADVOCACY: Working with Governments

Government advocacy is a key service we provide to our members, and we are active on many fronts. We work on many issues with the provincial and federal governments, as well as with other organizations, lobbying to help market BC VQA Wines while trying to minimize negative financial impacts to the BC wine industry.


BC VQA Wine Store Sales Channel

Twenty-one BC VQA Wine Store licenses are held by the BCWI for the benefit of its member wineries. The stores represent 2 percent of retail outlets in the province, but sell approximately 6% of all BC VQA Wine sold – a testament to their strength as promoters of premium BC wine.

Following the separation of regulatory and marketing aspects of the BC wine industry in 2006, the BCWI members voted to allow non-member wines to be sold through the store system to encourage wineries to seek BC VQA certification and to use the BC VQA store channel to sell those wines, in turn showing one of the benefits that comes with BCWI membership.

In February 2009, the BCWI began levying a 6% surcharge on sales of all non-member winery wines through the BCWI’s BC VQA Wine Store system. This makes the effective discount for non-member wines 36%. This surcharge is calculated and deducted from payments to wineries each month.

With the surcharge, non-member wineries can still enjoy access to the stores. However, we encourage all wineries to look at becoming BCWI members, which will remove the surcharge on BC VQA Wine Store sales, but will also give you access to all of the other member benefits.

For more information on selling your BC VQA Wine in the BC VQA Wine Stores, click here

Price of Membership

In the funding structure developed by our Board and approved by our members, membership in the BCWI is based on the volume of wine (with 100% BC grape content) your winery sells in BC.

Low fee of $0.10 per litre.

Minimum annual flat fee of $100.

Payments are based on data reported by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch from the second-last quarter prior to the payment date.

To estimate your annual fee, simply multiply the number of litres you sell in the province of BC by $0.10.

For example, if you sell 2,000 litres (222 cases), your fee will be $200.

Click here to join the BC Wine Institute.

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