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Wines of British Columbia Expands U.S. Reach with Whole Foods Market Partnership in the Pacific Northwest

October 02, 2014

PRESS RELEASE

SEATTLE - Starting October 1, Wines of British Columbia has increasing availability to U.S. wine consumers.

Eight hand-selected BC VQA wines will be available for purchase at 15 Whole Foods Market stores across Washington and Oregon.

"This partnership is part of the BC Wine Institute's strategic plan to increase our exports to key markets, of which the West Coast USA is a primary focus," said Miles Prodan, president and CEO of the British Columbia Wine Institute."Whole Foods Market is a natural partner for us, as it is committed to selling premium-quality products that are sourced and produced locally, which is tantamount to the mandate of the Wines of British Columbia.

"Whole Foods Market has a long-standing commitment to bringing our customers high-quality wines," said Erez Klein, Whole Foods Market wine buyer of the Pacific Northwest region. "This partnership with Wines of British Columbia provides another way for us to satisfy and delight our very passionate wine shoppers. We hope our customers try something unexpected and fall in love the way we have."

This new wine program offers a mix of red and white wines curated by Klein.

St Hubertus Estate Winery - 2013 Pinot Blanc
Quails' Gate Winery - 2012 Pinot Noir
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards - 2013 Pinot Gris
Tantalus Vineyards - 2013 Riesling
Nk'Mip Cellars - 2012 Merlot
Meyer Family Vineyards - 2012 Chardonnay
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery - 2011 Cabernet Franc
Black Hills Estate Winery - 2012 Nota Bene

The launch of the program also includes a contest for Washington and Oregon residents to win a trip to BC wine country (winebc.com/contest). Select Washington stores will be hosting free in-store tastings featuring the eight wines (see tasting schedule), which will also help to promote the new program and enhance sales in the stores.

This release expands on the WineBCUSA.com program that was launched last year and allows direct-to-consumer shipments of BC VQA wine via a distributor in the U.S. Participation in that program also continues to grow. In addition to many of the same wineries that are participating in the Whole Foods Market program, WineBCUSA.com, also features wine listings from Laughing Stock Vineyards, Painted Rock Estate Winery, Church & State Wines and Vista D'oro Farms & Winery.

The BC Wine Institute's strategic focus on the US market is not limited to exports. Working closely with Destination BC, growing wine tourism has also been a key focus for the BC Wine Institute.

"Growing tourism to BC wine country from the US market is an excellent economic generator for wineries," says Prodan. "Now with more BC VQA wines available for purchase in their home market, American travellers will be able to return home and continue to purchase their favourite BC wines in their local area. It's a win-win."

To learn more about Wines of British Columbia, visit winebc.com. For more information on Whole Foods Market, visit wholefoodsmarket.com.

About the BC Wine Institute (BCWI)

Since 1990, the BCWI 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 quality wine tourism experiences.

Representing 134 wineries throughout the province, the BCWI supports and markets the Wines of British Columbia (BC VQA), which gives consumers assurance they are buying a wine that is from 100 percent BC grapes. BCWI membership represents 95 percent of total grape wine sales and 94 percent of total BC VQA wine sales in British Columbia.

The BCWI also markets the wine 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 its members.

About Whole Foods Market

Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market (wholefoodsmarket.com, NASDAQ: WFM), is the leading natural and organic food retailer. As America's first national certified organic grocer, Whole Foods Market was named "America's Healthiest Grocery Store" by Health magazine. The company's motto, "Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet"™ captures its mission to ensure customer satisfaction and health, Team Member excellence and happiness, enhanced shareholder value, community support and environmental improvement. Thanks to the company's more than 69,000 Team Members, Whole Foods Market has been ranked as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in America by FORTUNE magazine for 15 consecutive years. In fiscal year 2011, the company had sales of more than $10 billion and currently has more than 325 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.


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