BY DALE BOYD
Special to OsoyoosToday
Fifty-eight per cent of B.C. wine drinkers prefer to sip wines produced in their home province, according to the results of a new Insights West poll.
The 2017 Winery Brand Reputation Insights Monitor also found 41 per cent of B.C. wine drinkers are drinking more locally produced varieties than they were five years ago.
Jan Nelson, director of sales and marketing at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards near Oliver, said the uptick in local consumption has been noticeable.
“What we find at Tinhorn Creek is our visitor numbers, people who visit us from both outside of the valley and inside, have steadily grown every year since at least 2014,” he explained.
“There is a strong following of loyal and local customers,” Nelson said, “but they bring their friends who visit, or attend events put on by the winery. As a response to that we’ve seen quite a bit of growth over the last few years.”
He added that the experience of wine tourism has also improved, particularly over the last decade, in the Okanagan.
“Only recently we have seen people travelling to the Okanagan as wine tourists as their primary objective. It used to be something else they would do in the Okanagan; now they’re coming for wine,”
He attributes it to the attractiveness of the experience, but also awareness of what the Okanagan has to offer.
“If you look at the wine industry overall in B.C., it’s relatively flat. Yet B.C. VQA and B.C. wine has continued to grow,” Nelson said.
The poll was conducted online over two days in October and garnered responses from 613 adult British Columbians who drink wine at least several times a year.
Other notable findings from the survey were 63 per cent of respondents from the B.C. Interior said they prefer B.C. wine – five points higher than the provincial average.
It also found 36 per cent of B.C. wine drinkers prefer red versus 26 per cent who like white the best. The balance were undecided.
Finally, the poll found 43 per cent of millennials – those aged 19 to 34 – prefer wine made in B.C., and 53 per cent say they are drinking more of it than they were five years ago.
The poll, conducted in partnership with Will Creative, is considered accurate within four per cent, 19 times out of 20.