Genome British Columbia - Genome Genomics

image description


Uncorking The Secrets

Of the chardonnay genome

Growing Investment in

Commercial research applications



NOURISH our food supply



British Columbia's agri-food sector is an important contributor to the provincial economy, generating close to $10.5 billion in annual revenues and providing more than 61,000 jobs. However, hurdles abound at a fundamental level: animals and crops are susceptible to disease and environmental challenges, parasites and insects; water supplies for humans and animals can be compromised by contaminants. Advances in emerging genome-based technologies are offering new tools and solutions to our most significant agricultural challenges.

The opportunity for agri-food genomics in Canada: OURS FOR THE MAKING

Read our national sector strategy developed in consultation with sector stakeholders. (PDF)


Powering BC'S AGRI-fOOD Sector

Read our BC sector strategy developed in consultation with agri-food sector stakeholders. (PDF)


Mapping BC'S Agri-Food Sector

Read our asset map for BC's agri-food sector. (PDF)


"Chardonnay is one of the most important grapes in the wine industry in British Columbia. Getting a full picture of the genome of all 15 Chardonnay clones will enable growers and winemakers to make informed choices about which clones to plant — this means better grapes and better wine. Sequence data will also allow us to characterize Chardonnay clones which have not been identified before."


howard Soon

Master Winemaker —
Sandhill Wines

Senior Winemaker Western
Canada — Andrew Peller Limited


UnCoRKInG The SeCReTS oF The ChARDonnAY GenoMe

The grape growing and winemaking sector is a significant contributor to the BC economy. The number of wineries in BC has increased steadily and correspondingly so has output and economic value. Once produced, BC VQA wine generates sales of over $200 million annually. 

Chardonnay is the second most abundant white wine grape variety in the world and the second most planted white variety in British Columbia. Very little is known about the Chardonnay genome and even less about how characteristics including flavour profile, berry size, cluster shape, vine yields, and tolerances to heat, humidity and drought differ from vine to vine. Knowledge about these differences would help determine how to produce the best wine.

Dr. Hennie van Vuuren at the University of British Columbia is working towards identifying and mapping the genetic markers for Chardonnay grapes in his project, Sequencing the Chardonnay Genome. This information will provide the baseline for analyzing the clones, and thus how to replant vineyards and inform breeding programs.



Genome BC recognizes the need to remain engaged with stakeholders in the agri-food sector and will continue discussions to understand challenges facing the sector. Identifying promising opportunities to help access new markets or develop new products is just one way in which Genome BC will continue to catalyze collaborations and innovation.

We are actively looking to engage new partners in this work. To get involved and explore how the agri-food sector can further leverage the transformative power of genomics and related disciplines to its advantage, contact:

David Charest
Sector Manager, Agrifood and Natural Resources
604.637.4387 or