If you’re a fan of wine, cider, or sake – good news: they’ll soon be appearing on grocery store shelves around B.C.
Well, on some of them anyway. If you live in Vancouver you’re out of luck for the time being.
LISTEN: Guest host Drex speaks with Miles Prodan of the B.C. Wine Institute about grocery store wine
Miles Prodan is the president and CEO of the B.C. Wine Institute, the organization that represents B.C. VQA certified wine.
He says the move is good news for B.C. wine producers.
The new regulations will only allow 100% B.C. grown product to make it to the shelves – but Prodan says even more important is that it opens space for smaller, family run wineries that produce under 2,000 cases a year.
He says they often can’t make it into government or private stores because they can’t keep up.
“It’s hard for a winery to get on the shelf. They’ve got requirements – you’ve got to have a certain amount of supply, you need to be able to have some consistency.”
Odd one out
But what Prodan can’t understand is why Vancouver insists on being the odd one out.
The city has banned wine sales in grocery stores while it conducts a wider Liquor Policy Review, and shot down a staff recommendation last December that suggested it allow a pilot wine-sales program while the review was underway.
Prodan says that’s left some retailers in the lurch, who had already started making arrangements for the shift.
“We’ve got a grocery partner in Urban Fare who’s built the shelves, has got the space, has got the wine…”
Prodan says it doesn’t make sense to ban the sales when the province has given the green light, and rules are already in place.
“Every regulation that you’d require for running a liquor store the grocery has to comply with. So you go to a checkout, you’re asked for ID and they’ve got all the proper training and certification for that.”
But he says he’s hopeful things could change if Vancouverites who want to be able to buy a bottle of wine with their dinner speak up.
“It’s all about consumers, and politicians have consumers too- they’re called voters.”
The city of Vancouver has not put a timeline on the completion of the Liquor Policy Review.