Bordeaux wines in the BCLS spotlight
even as Okanagan wines celebrate

Fans of the plentiful and exceptional Okanagan wines might not give a hoot, but apparently the release of “highly prized” Bordeaux wines in BC is otherwise a big deal.

BC Liquor Stores (BCLS) will hold its annual release of the Bordeaux wines Sept. 29 at 30 signature stores — including one shop in Penticton.

The chain of provincial outlets will have 170 products available and more than 8,000 cases of the 2015 vintage available for sale this weekend.

Buyers from across Canada and around the globe apparently make an effort to visit B.C. for the annual Bordeaux release. But for BC wine growers, it’s business as usual.

“The truth is we’re so small that we don’t have the product to fill the space in all 200 stores,” said Miles Prodan, President & CEO of the Kelowna-based BC Wine Institute, welcoming the French wines to BC.

“French Bordeaux wine is world-class but it’s not inexpensive,” he added. “So go and try that and then try something from BC and you’ll find for much less money you’re going to get the same if not better quality.”

Wine enthusiasts will have plenty of opportunity to explore BC wines this weekend, with numerous fall events being held up and down the Okanagan Valley, including Festival of the Grape festivities in Oliver.

“Falls is when the reds get released — that’s why we’re having wine festival,” explained Mr. Prodan.

BCLS’s offering includes rare wines from perhaps the world’s most famous wine-producing region, as well as “affordable purchases that you can lay down or gift,” said Barbara Philip, master of wine, category manager for BCLS.

Since many wines have limits on the number of bottles that can be purchased, she is advising shoppers to arrive early in order to avoid disappointment.

According to BCLS, collectors and customers purchased nearly $3 million worth of Bordeaux wines in just two days during last year’s release.

Locally, the Bordeaux wines will be available at the Penticton Plaza location (1301 Main St).

Prices range from $25 to $3,500. The most expensive are from Chåteaux Petrus.

If you’re interested in sampling some of the finest BC reds, the Wine Institute earlier this month announced its Best of BC Wine Country awards and named Black Hills Estate Winery’s Nota Bene it’s top pick.

Delicious reds are also available at the other 40 or so members of the Oliver Osoyoos Wine Association.

And, of course, they’ll be available for sampling at Festival of the Grape.

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