Alberta BC Trade Dispute

February 8, 2018 4:02 pm
Updated: February 9, 2018 6:03 pm

How long until Alberta runs out of B.C. wine?

WATCH ABOVE: We're now starting to get a sense of how quickly B.C. and Alberta's trade war could affect wine drinkers. The bottles in Alberta warehouses will likely be gone in just weeks. Fletcher Kent has details.

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It looks like Alberta could run out of British Columbia wine before April if Rachel Notley’s government’s ban isn’t reversed.

The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) told Global News Thursday there are 160,000 cases of B.C. wine in their warehouse. That’s about 30 to 35 days of regular orders, AGLC officials said.

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READ MORE: ‘We’re standing up for the national interest’: Trudeau weighs in on Alberta, B.C. dispute

But the province’s liquor and gaming watchdog cannot say how many of those cases have already been purchased and is already in the ownership of liquor stores, restaurants, bars and other liquor licensees.

Michelle Hynes-Dawson with the AGLC said Thursday it’s too early to tell whether there will be a high demand from retailers wanting to restock quickly before the warehouse runs dry.

“It’s also too early to tell if Albertans are going to get different tastes in terms of: are they going to drink more Ontario wine? Or more Nova Scotia wine? Or California or whatever it might be.”

WATCH BELOW: Alberta Liquor Store Association shares impact BC wine boycott will have on local retailers

Rob is a liquor delivery driver. He called in to The Ryan Jespersen Show on 630 CHED Thursday morning and said liquor stores have told him their upcoming liquor deliveries will be larger than normal.

“It’ll be gone before [30 days] and sitting in the stores because the guys are trying to get it while they can.”

The ban came after B.C. Premier John Horgan announced at the end of January that his government would be introducing the Environmental Management Act. That would give the government the right to take action that would protect B.C.’s coastline and environment, according to Environment Minister George Heyman.

READ MORE: ‘This is a fight between B.C. and the rest of Canada’: Alberta not backing down on B.C. wine boycott

Then, Notley announced on Feb. 1 that her government would be suspending talks around increasing the amount of power purchased from B.C.

The wine ban was introduced on Feb. 6.

“We have to send a clear message to B.C now, by boycotting B.C. wine,” the premier said.

Horgan responded to Notley’s ban by saying there were no plans to retaliate. B.C.’s agriculture minister had previously suggested there could be a ban on Alberta beef coming, but Horgan backtracked that on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Global News asked Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson for his thoughts on the dispute and he said he believes B.C. is trying to stall the Trans Mountain project.

LISTEN: Fletcher Kent shares on the details on Calgary Today

“I think it’s time for the federal government to make clear that this pipeline is in the national economic interest and get on with it,” Iveson said at a launch event for the Silver Skate Festival in Edmonton. “With that said, maybe it’s time to reopen the conversation with Ontario about a wine pipeline to the east.”

Retailer reaction

David Owens with Sherbrooke Liquor Store said they’ve had some customers coming in and stocking up, and other customers that have been coming in looking for alternatives to B.C. wine.

Their store isn’t too worried about losing their stock of B.C. wines. He said when the stock runs out at the warehouse, they’ll focus on other Canadian wines.

“It’s just going to open up another opportunity for Ontario wines. We’ll always have a large Canada section.”

Tzin Wine and Tapas Bar has a similar attitude when it comes to the 10 to 14 per cent of its wine list that comes from B.C.

READ MORE: Federal officials dispatched to tackle B.C., Alberta pipeline battle

“When that supply does run out, we’ll have to find ulterior areas of the world to find wines that are equivalent to B.C. wines,” manager Cory Levin said.

“We do pride ourselves on having a local product as far as our food program, we do like to keep our wine local. We are Spanish-influenced so we do keep our wine from all over the world, but
B.C. wine is special because it’s local to Canada.”

WATCH BELOW: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced a ban on B.C. wines on Feb. 6

There are currently 22,000 other wine labels available across Alberta, according to the AGLC. Hynes-Dawson said if Albertans’ tastes change, the commission will follow suit with what’s
available.

“There’s no shortage of other options out there right now and if demand changes, we’ll make sure they’re available as well.”

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