BC’S Wine Grape Crop Devastated By Recent Climate Change Disaster

You may have heard about the winter cold snap damaging our British Columbia vineyards, but not the extent.  Below is the official announcement of the degree of vine damage.  It is high and as such, the amount of BC wine we can expect for the next few vintages is going to be more limited as vines will need to be replanted.  We indeed have an unforgiving, cool-climate growing area.  If you have some favourite BC wineries, I’d suggest buying their wines asap.  Here is the announcement:


For immediate release – 06/22/2023

BCWI - Winter Vineyards - Grey Monk Winery
BCWI – Winter Vineyards – Grey Monk Winery

British Columbia: 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.”

Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.