BC's Wine Grape Crop Devastated by Recent Climate Change Disaster
British Columbia - June 23, 2023 (Investorideas.com Newswire) In a recent report commissioned by Wine Growers British Columbia, Cascadia Partners has found that the recent climate-change related freeze events in December 2022 resulted in devastating short-term and long-term effects on BC's wine grape crops.
"Initial forecasts following the freeze event showed a potential crop reduction of 39 to 56 per cent. Following budbreak, our industry-wide research concluded that our worst fears were realized with a 54 per cent reduction in 2023 and 45 per cent of total planted acreage suffering long-term irreparable damage," remarks Miles Prodan, President and CEO of Wine Growers British Columbia.
Production losses of this magnitude will have a severe impact on the economics of the industry, affecting the revenues of both vineyards and wineries, tax revenues collected by government, and, most importantly, the livelihoods of agricultural workers and other wine industry professionals with a projected job-loss of 381 full-time jobs.
"Our industry has taken several devastating hits over the past several years and this freeze event has really compounded the situation," states Christa-Lee McWatters, General Manager, TIME Family of Wines and Chair of Wine Growers BC. "The provincial support programs provided relief for some, however, with the widespread impact of climate change we require concerted government efforts in order to sustain the livelihoods of these important local businesses."
The projected losses are widespread throughout BC's geographical indications with the most significant impacts being in the south Okanagan Valley, Kelowna and Similkameen Valley - each showing potential losses of 60 per cent or more. With respect to loss by variety, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon suffered the most, each projecting losses of more than 65 per cent.
Agricultural and Economic Impact:
- 54% reduction in grape and wine production for the 2023 vintage
- 45% of total plant acreage suffered long-term damage
- 29% of total acreage needs to be replanted
- $133 million in direct revenue lost to the BC wine industry
- Over $200 million in indirect economic revenue loss to suppliers, BC Liquor Stores, restaurants etc.
- 20% reduction in full-time vineyard and winery employment
While other climate-change related disasters such as fire or flood are more visually impactful, the long-term damage from the unprecedented temperature drop in December 2022 has resulted in as much if not more loss to BC's wine grape crop yet is not receiving the same type of recovery support and the BC wine industry is appealing to both provincial and federal governments for additional support efforts including a dedicated AgriRecovery grant to support crisis relief, additional funding for the Perennial Crop Renewal Program, and aligning the provincial crop insurance program to cover unique climate-change related events such as this.
"The reality is wine growing is tough stuff. It is our duty to share the very finest of a vintages character, but we are also asked to take on the tough ones. Last years' December cold has been particularly hard for our industry's vineyards," says Charlie Baessler, Managing Partner at Corcelettes Estate Winery. "At Corcelettes, much has been learned in the last 12 years and we are taking this opportunity to further improve our vineyards and how we manage them. This year, wine growing is about making lemonade from really cold lemons. Our industry is rich in talent, creative thinkers and can-do attitudes, but we cannot get far without proper recovery funding. For our loyal BC wine fans, we are still hard at work crafting premium wines for you and although this too shall pass, I'd suggest stocking up on your favourite BC producers wine for the next 24 months."
To read the full report on the winter bud damage, click here. For more information about Wine Growers British Columbia, visit the Media page at WineBC.com and be sure to follow our industry LinkedIn and Twitter for the latest media updates.
ABOUT WINE GROWERS BRITISH COLUMBIA
Since 1990, WGBC has played a pivotal role in taking BC's wine industry from a vision to an internationally recognized niche region producing premium wines and providing exceptional wine tourism experiences. WGBC markets the wine and regions of BC; delivers quality trade, media and consumer tastings; and acts as the voice of BC's wine industry by advocating to government on behalf of industry that contributes $3.75 billion in provincial economic growth annually.
WGBC represents all wineries in British Columbia to grow the premium market share for the Wines of British Columbia, while driving awareness of our world-class wines and tourism product - as of 2019 drawing 1,191,500 visitors with $783.7million in tourism and tourism employment related economic impact on an annual basis.
For more information about Wine Growers BC programs and services, please visit WineBC.com.
For details on the Wines of British Columbia, go to WineBC.com.
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