Buying BC Wine at the Source

Here’s another reason I’m looking forward to the Wine Bloggers Conference in Penticton, BC this week:

I can bring home as many bottles of BC wine as my Volvo will carry!

In 6 years of attending the Wine Bloggers Conference, this is the first time I won’t have to cross a border to get home.

No more agonizing about which local producer’s wines to bring home. No more sweating bullets about whether Canadian customs will ask how much alcohol I’m packing. This time I can bring home all the BC wine I want and nothing’s going to stop me but my VISA limit.

That’s right, I’m coming to buy. I’m not going to beg for samples or settle for swag bottles. I want to stock up without feeling obliged to write about bottles of BC wine that are given to me. Not that I won’t accept samples – I’m not loony – I just want wines for drinking, without thinking, like a normal, non-blogging wine lover.

And, I’m looking for bargains.

I’m a dyed-in-the-must value buyer, lover of over-delivering wines, seeking to spend 15-25% under the VQA price. Gimme a deal, please.

BC Wine Wish List

Here’s what I’m looking for:

Pinot gris

Tropical pinot blancs

Dry auxerrois

Unoaked chardonnays

Frisky young rieslings

Spicy gewürztraminers

Crispy ehrenfelsers

White blends that don’t include chardonnay

Full bodied pinot noirs

Smoky cabernet francs

Hearty syrahs

Elegant marechal fochs

Ripe cabernet sauvignons

Affordable red blends

White icewine

Wine Clubbing

Not only that, for the first time in my life I’m joining wine clubs.

Living in Sonoma County, I could never see the point of being in a wine club. It’d be like a fish buying bottled water. The Okanagan Valley is not an ocean but a pond of wine where the best stuff doesn’t flow to Vancouver. Now, having an address in Oliver, it makes sense to get shipments. Or, better yet,  pick up from the wineries.

So far, we’ve joined Tinhorn Creek, Black Cloud, and Covert Farm’s wine clubs – as well as being deputized at Rustico – and are open to joining a few more.

So, hit me your best pitch. I’m in a joining mood.

Take It Home

I may be lucky to live in the same country as the 2013 Wine Blogger Conference, but Americans should not flinch at stocking up either.

In the 8 years we’ve driven over the Peace Arch crossing, Customs officers have never asked about alcohol.

Unlike Canadian Customs, who will pounce on any chance to charge duties, Americans don’t seem to care squat about the BC wine you bring across its border. The BC wine business is a mouse compared to their elephantine industry, so they are hardly threatened. What they do care about is fresh fruits or veggies, and even the smallest apple will make you subject to inspection. Once, an orange almost screwed up our trip south.

So, I encourage bloggers to take home more than the posted two bottles because you know what? Americans just don’t care.

Looking forward to seeing all the American wine bloggers in the mighty Okanagan Valley and eager to hear what you think of BC wines.

And, what are you planning to buy?

Mari Kane

Mari is a writer, blogger and WordPress consultant, living in Vancouver, BC, the most wine-soaked town north of the 49th Parallel. She also blogs about WordPress web design at Blogsite Follow her on Twitter or Google Plus.