Lytton-Lillooet could soon join the ranks of the Okanagan and Cowichan valleys as a destination in BC’s roster of must-visit wine regions.
While the number of wineries in the province grows annually, the local wine grape supply has halted given the decreased availability of suitable land coupled with increasing property prices in popular wine-producing regions.
In pursuit of available and affordable land, the BC Grapegrowers’ Association identified the Lytton-Lillooet area as an alternative region to begin planting wine grapes. The only question that remained was: will the grapes actually grow?
They soon discovered they were not the first to consider wine grape production in the region; in fact, experimental vines were established as early as 1965. Building upon more recent research of experimental plantings, the association assessed the feasibility of growing a variety of commercial grapes in the area by monitoring the grapes and vineyards as well as the surrounding climate.
Comprehensive reports of the project results are now available online (www.grapegrowers.bc.ca) to help interested grape growers successfully plant in the Lytton-Lillooet area.
According to project leader Christ’l Roshard, the reports are enjoying extensive use.
“Prospective growers, as well as grape industry investors seeking winery sites, are able to access and capitalize on these resources,” says Roshard. “Some vineyards – such as Fort Berens Estate Winery – have even been established thanks to this project.”
This project was funded by the Investment Agriculture Foundation (IAF) through former federal adaptation programming. IAF is a not-for-profit organization that manages and distributes federal and provincial funds in support of innovative projects to benefit the agriculture and food industries in British Columbia.