The dispute fermenting between B.C. wineries and Alberta liquor stores has caught the attention of B.C.’s government.
Alberta’s government liquor wholesaler warned B.C. wineries it will no longer carry their products in retail stores, unless they stop shipping wine directly to consumers.
Roly Russell, B.C.’s parliamentary secretary for rural development, said in a statement Monday this couldn’t have come at a worse time, after challenges from extreme weather.
“These past few years, our grape growers and wineries have faced unprecedented challenges due to extreme weather events and the adverse effects of climate change. Our wine industry has grappled with unprecedented crop damage caused by two extremely cold winter-freeze events, wildfires and more,” Russell’s statement said.
“The causes of extreme weather are global – but their impacts are felt acutely here at home and many B.C. grape growers and wineries are struggling with production shortages.”
Russell said Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s public safety minister and solicitor general, has met with his counterpart in Alberta to “urge them to stop what they are doing.”
“That is just the beginning,” Russell said. “I know he is determined to get an outcome that will benefit our wine industry.”
Last month, Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, which regulates the sale of liquor in the province by controlling wholesale and distribution, sent a letter to wineries in B.C. It said the agency had been investigating the practice of consumers in Alberta ordering wine directly from B.C. wineries instead of buying it in Alberta stores.
Last Wednesday, Wines of B.C. issued a statement calling for a resolution in the conflict.
“While we are still unclear of the political motivation behind the recent AGLC letter, it is disheartening for our local growers and producers, who have already suffered great financial hardships over this past year,” the statement said. “We are concerned of being targeted once again for political gain that has nothing to do with our industry.”
With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Lauren Pullen and The Canadian Press