Two prolific South Okanagan winemaking regions are now able to market themselves as distinct regions on bottle labels.
The Naramata and Skaha benches are the two latest sub-appellations to be approved by the provincial government, allowing wineries to differentiate themselves from the rest of the Okanagan.
“The Okanagan Valley has always been known as one of our province’s premier grape growing regions, and today we are taking it a step further by celebrating and showcasing the talent of growers and wineries in Naramata and Skaha,” Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham said.
The Naramata and Skaha benches join Okanagan Falls and the Golden Mile Bench near Oliver as the four. Wines marketing themselves from each sub-appellations must be made with at least 95 per cent grapes from that area.
“Being the third region to receive sub-GI designation is especially exciting for the Naramata Bench, as we have a long history of taking great pride in our terroir,” Naramata Bench Hillside Winery winemaker Kathy Malone said.
“I committed years ago to using only Naramata Bench grown fruit, and we at Hillside, together with our supplying vineyards and our winery neighbours along the Naramata Bench, are pleased that we can now state on the label clearly where the grapes are grown: Naramata Bench—the heart of the Okanagan Valley.”
The Naramata Bench is being defined as the lands between Penticton Creek and Okanagan Mountain Park on the east side of Okanagan Lake.
Skaha Bench covers a 10-kilometre stretch from the outskirts of Penticton and along the eastern shore of Skaha Lake, including Blasted Church Winery.
“We are incredibly excited for the announcement of the Skaha Bench sub-GI. With this new designation, we will be able to push forward along with our neighbouring vineyards and wineries to tell the story of our unique terroir while continuing to produce wines that reflect our specific growing conditions,” Blasted Church proprietor Evelyn Campbell said.