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Queen's BC representative to tour diplomats through wine country

British Columbia's Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon will take diplomats from foreign countries on a three-day tour of the province's award-winning wineries.

The July 24 to 26 tour is for Guichon, who represents the Queen in B.C., to personally deliver the 2013 Lieutenant Governor's Awards for Excellence in B.C. Wines.

According to a press release, "Members of the Consular Corps of British Columbia will accompany her when she makes these presentations so they can gain knowledge of British Columbia's renowned wine industry."

A directory on the B.C. government's website for the protocol and events branch lists 71 countries that have consular staff in the province.

A spokesperson for Guichon did not respond by publication time to an email asking who is paying for the diplomats' wine tour.

The award winners, chosen by an unnamed "panel of wine industry professionals", included 12 wines from 11 different wineries. All the winners are in the Okanagan, except for Eau Vivre which is in the nearby Similkameen Valley.

Red Rooster Winery won for both its 2012 Reserve Viognier and its 2010 Reserve Syrah. This is the 11th year the competition has been held and judges picked from 402 wines from 109 B.C. wineries. A complete list of winners is available on the Lieutenant Governor's website.

Update, June 25, 2013, 3:30 p.m.: "The Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wines are funded by the Government House Foundation," wrote a spokesperson for the Lieutenant Governor in an email. "This includes costs for the judging (wineries pay no fees) and the major costs for the tour itself. Winning wineries often provide samples of wine for tasting and snacks during the tour. Members of the consular corps pay their own costs for accommodations and most meals." Each year about 18 to 20 members of the consular corps go on the tour, she said.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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