The purpose of the BC Wine Grape Council is to coordinate, facilitate, and fund research and education on viticulture and enology to broadly benefit the British Columbia wine grape industry and to represent growers on a variety of agriculture-related issues.
The mission of the BC Wine Grape Council is to promote the development of a strong and viable wine grape industry that will result in the production of world-class wines and that will enhance the economic and environmental benefits to British Columbia.
In 2006, the Wine Grape Industry supported the formation of the BC Wine Grape Council through a plebiscite that was approved with a majority 83% of participating growers located on the British Columbia Mainland. The plebescite was supported by the Minister of Agriculture and Lands, the Honourable Pat Bell, who took the motion to Cabinet for final approval; in turn creating the Council under the Farming & Fisheries Act of British Columbia.
Under the plan, which was approved in the plebiscite, the Council was given the authority to collect levies, primarily for the purpose of research, on all grapes grown on Mainland British Columbia. As such all wineries growing grapes on Mainland BC and/or purchasing grapes for processing from growers on Mainland BC are required to remit a levy of $10.00 per short ton (2,000 lbs.) to the BC Wine Grape Council on an annual basis. While wineries on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands are exempt from remitting levies on their own grapes, they do still have to deduct and remit levies on all grapes purchased from Mainland BC.
What are the levies used for? The fund collected from the levies is intended mainly for research and development and educational projects; as well as other purposes such as to liaise with government agencies and other organizations regarding water, pest, land, and air issues.
Individuals, partnerships or corporations located on Mainland BC, growing grapes used in the production of commercial wine become members by paying a $10/short ton (2,000 lbs. or 909 kg) which is collected at the first point of sale. Wineries using the metric system for crop weights should collect $11/metric tonne (1,000 kg). All levies are subject to applicable taxes. This mandatory levy was established under the Farming and Fishing Industries Development Act in 2006.