Wine Industry Launches Sustainability Certification - SWBC Press Release October 2020

Wine Industry Launches Sustainability Certification - SWBC Press Release October 2020


Press Release – October 20, 2020 - For Immediate Release

Wine Industry Launches Sustainability Certification

Kelowna, BC: Soon, BC wine lovers will be able to easily identify bottles made with the people and planet in mind.

Starting November 2, 2020, earth-friendly vineyards and wineries will take stock of their sustainability efforts and apply for certification, with SWBC Certified wine hitting the shelves as early as spring 2021.

The new certification was developed by volunteer Sustainable Winegrowing BC (SWBC) committee members, representing all aspects of the BC wine industry.

“When we started promoting sustainable practices in 2008, we knew the wine industry was going to grow” comments SWBC committee chair Karen Gillis, Vineyard Operations Manager for Andrew Peller Ltd. “SWBC has become a hub for wine industry knowledge, sharing best farming practices that contribute positively to the land, our neighbours and our economy. Certification is the next step.”

Criteria to become a certified vineyard or winery are extremely comprehensive, including high standards for water conservation, ecological diversity, soil health, worker safety, social benefit and more. Wine businesses are audited by a third party, track their progress and must continually improve to stay certified.

Jane Campardo, representing Okanagan Crush Pad, has been volunteering for eight years with SWBC: “After a decade of leadership, our wine industry is ready to game up to the next level. We are holding ourselves accountable to some of the most rigourous sustainability standards in the world.  We listened to growers and wineries to make our certification process as meaningful, and easy-to-use as possible. It’s set up so that the smallest family business, or the largest multi-holding winery can participate.”

SWBC committee member Galen Brarnhardt, Winemaker at Monte Creek Ranch Winery, is optimistic about the success of the certification. “We know that wine lovers care about our planet, and grape farmers want to keep our vineyard land as alive and vibrant as possible. This certification is a way for consumers to find wineries that share their values.”

Wineries across the province are poised to start the certification. “BC wine consumers expect quality at every level and every price point, and the sustainability certification is one way of maintaining the fresh, high quality wine we are known for,” explains Karen Gillis.

“Our British Columbian culture values not only the land, but the health of our people and our industry. This is a made-in-BC solution the wine industry can be proud of.”

After years of working closely with the development of Sustainable Winegrowing BC, Kathy Malone, Winemaker at Hillside Winery and Chair of the BCWGC says; “The British Columbia Wine Grape Council (BCWGC) is pleased to launch an industry first for BC vineyards and wineries, a world class, yet locally developed sustainability certification program, SWBC Certified. The program has been 10 years in the making, with strong time and financial commitments from the BCWGC Board of Directors and Sustainability Committee. Our sustainability standards, which lay the foundation for the program, have been freshly updated with an emphasis on transparency and data quality; measuring the change we want to see through commitment to people, planet and prosperity. We will continue to work closely with our industry partners such as the BC Wine Institute, the BC Grape Growers Association, Summerland Research & Development Centre, UBCO, Okanagan College, the Ministry of Agriculture, industry groups and all industry members to support our collective and individual journeys toward sustainability.”

Prepared by Terroir Consulting, March 4, 2020. Revised Oct. 17 by SWBC.

Sustainable Winegrowing BC

Sustainable Winegrowing BC (SWBC), a project of the BC Wine Grape Council, was created by a pro-active team of BC wine industry volunteers, who gathered local knowledge and expertise and learned from programs in other winegrowing regions. SWBC manages the new
 Certificated Sustainable WineGrowing BC program for vineyards and wineries, as well as providing educational resources and training to establish sustainable practices.


The Certified Sustainable Winegrowing BC program is managed by Program Manager Katie Pease and overseen by a hard-working volunteer industry committee. For further information or quotes, please contact:

SWBC Committee Chair: Karen Gillis, Andrew Peller Ltd.
Mobile: 250-859-1027 Email: [email protected]

SWBC Committee Director: Jane Campardo, Okanagan Crush Pad Mobile: 778-516-3336 Email: [email protected]

SWBC Committee Director: Galen Brarnhardt, Monte Creek Ranch Winery Mobile: Email: [email protected]


Funding for this program is provided by the BC Wine Grape Council and the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.