British Columbia’s Golden Mile might soon be a little more golden.
Earlier this month the British Columbia Wine Authority submitted an application for the approval and establishment of the Gold Mile Bench Designated Viticultural Area (DVA). The province’s agriculture minister is expected to approve the request, making Golden Mile the first subapellation within the Okanagan Valey DVA.
The final steps in the process are the result of an initiative in May in which 10 wineries submitted applications for Golden Bench subappellation.
Mark Sheridan, general manager of Hester Creek Estate Winery, said the area’s unique geography is the main reason the wineries sought DVA status.
According to Sheridan, alluvial fans in the area have created unique sections of land which differ in slope, soil composition, draining and sun exposure.
In an interview in May, Sheridan pointed out the diversity of factors that led to the push for DVA designation.
“There’s not one distinguishing feature; it’s a number of factors in play represents that Golden Mile Bench,” he said.
The Okanagan Valley DVA is home to more than 80 percent of British Columbia’s vineyard acreage. Amid its 8,060 planted acres, the region’s top grapes merlot, pinot gris, pinot noir and Chardonnay. The area is home to 131 licensed wineries.
The British Columbia Wine Institute’s website highlights the area’s geographic diversity.
“An ever-changing panorama, the valley stretches over 250 kilometers across distinct sub-regions, each with different soil and climate conditions suited to a growing range of varietals,” it says.
The DVA application included an extensive vetting process in which members of the British Columbia Wine Authority studied scientific data and met with stakeholders in and beyond Golden Mile Bench.