Over a period of hundreds of years wineries in other countries have established which grape varietals do best in which regions. This has led to the proclamation of appellation regions in several countries and only certain varietals are planted in certain regions. The result has been that wines produced in these regions enjoy considerable status and they command high prices.
To establish which grape varietals will do best in which micro-climatic areas in BC, the BC Chapter of the Canadian Wine Library was established during 2002. The library can house 22,000 bottles of wine. The Wine Library operates under the auspices of a board of Directors who are knowledgeable about wines.
Wine makers nominate young wines produced in BC and wineries donate 24 bottles of each wine that have been selected for study in the WRC. These wines are aged in the Library under temperature and humidity-controlled conditions. Wines are tasted annually over a period of 24 years and, based on organoleptic and sophisticated chemical analysis by GC/MS and LC/MS, the WRC provides annual feedback to participating wineries to eventually establish a correlation between viticulture and enology practices in BC and the ability of wines to age well.
The Okanagan valley is currently being mapped by Dr. Pat Bowen using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to establish different microclimates in the valley. Information on how wines from different micro-climatic regions age will be invaluable to wineries for future plantings.