The B.C. Wine Institute isn’t sour after a U.S. Trade Representative announced they would challenge the policy of grocery stores only carrying regional wines.
Last year, the province opened up wine sales to select grocery retailers, provided they stock 100 per cent B.C.-grown VQA wine.
American trade representatives say the decision will damage U.S. winemakers and have sent a letter to the Canadian government trying to resolve the issue through consultation.
But President Miles Prodan says the numbers don’t support the international wine market is taking a financial hit.
“B.C. VQA wine, 100 per cent B.C. wine has 17 per cent market share here in the province. That means everything else is imported. So they are dominating the B.C. market and they aren’t being harmed in any way. That’s one of the requisites for any challenge is showing some sort of harm.”
Prodan thinks part of the problem is that private liquor stores have not been able to relocate into grocery stores.
If consultation fails, the U.S. says they will ask the World Trade Organization to create a panel to review the case.
The U.S. has won all 26 challenges they’ve initiated through the WTO.