Church and State Wines

Church and State winery-2The Victoria Estate Winery (subsequently renamed Church and State Wines) received local complaints early in its development primarily in relation to traffic and noise levels. More general criticisms regarding the development of winery-related services and agri-tourism on agricultural lands were also being directed toward the Winery, particularly from representatives of the local municipality. With a change in ownership in the Fall of 2004, the Victoria Estate directors wanted to improve their understanding of the nature and scale of these concerns.

The goal of the study was to obtain the range of perspectives and opinions regarding agriculture in Central Saanich and Victoria Estate operations. Research methods included a literature review of regulations and policies pertinent to agri-tourism and wineries; key informant interviews on land use and industry related issues; and a website survey on perspectives and concerns of Central Saanich residents and businesses.

Kim Walker contracted Clare Mochrie (global Frameworks Inc.) to assist with the survey. A total of 360 surveys were completed for a 66% return rate.   The survey results were statistically significant, giving a reliable representation of community perspectives and opinions.  Overall, the survey:

  • Clearly demonstrated community support for agriculture, agri-tourism development and the Winery;
  • Relayed constructive cristicsm to the client with ideas for improving community relations and matching local customer interests;
  • Highlighted the importance of corporate social responsibility and fluency with complex regulatory requirements to business success;
  • Identified some interesting distinctions in the way community members value agriculture, agri-tourism and wineries; and
  • Demonstrated an incongruity between community and local government support for new directions in agricultural development.

The research report was made available to local and provincial governments, as well as to agricultural, agri-toursim sector and economic development associations.

Accomplishments

  1. The process and results clarified issues and provided an opportunity for more constructive public dialogue.
  2. The survey was cited by an agri-tourism specialist in the provincial government as the first of its kind in North America.