B.C. urges wine drinkers to buy local amid Alberta boycott

Click to play video: 'Province encourages British Columbians to ‘drink local’' Province encourages British Columbians to ‘drink local’
The provincial government is encouraging British Columbians to drink local wine in the battle with Alberta over the Kinder Morgan pipeline. John Hua has the story – Feb 12, 2018

It’s a boycott that has British Columbians seeing red.

A ban on imports of B.C. wine from the province’s neighbour to the east.

Coverage of B.C. wine on

The industry has found itself caught in the middle of a provincial trade war, and it all has to do with opposing positions on the Trans Mountain pipeline.

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“People will say that wine’s not connected to oil,” Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said.

“The key principles that we are working with is to do the least amount of damage to the Alberta economy.”

And Notley has shown no sign of backing down on the ban.

“If [B.C.] didn’t get it a week ago, I certainly hope that they get it now,” she said.

B.C. has found one way to fight back against the boycott: urge people to buy local.

The government has taken out a full page ad with interlocking corkscrews and the slogan, “Together, let’s support B.C. wine.”

It’s one way to encourage consumption of a product by businesses who say they have nothing to do with the spat between Alberta and B.C.

READ MORE: ‘A flaming clown car driving off a cliff’: how you saw the Western Canada wine war

“Wineries, farmers, winemakers really don’t have a dog in this fight,” said Brian Ensor, general manager at Chaberton Estate Winery.

“We’re making a product, we’re small businesses, and politics aside, it’s really nothing to do with us.”

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B.C.’s Family Day weekend had the right conditions to give B.C. wineries a boost amid the interprovincial conflict.

Sunny weather meant that people could enjoy a glass outside.

But it’s not necessarily just British Columbians consuming their province’s wine. Industry staff have said even a few Albertans have still been looking to B.C. for a bottle of Merlot.

“We do get a lot of travellers coming through,” Ensor said.

“And to hear people in Alberta are on our side too, well that’s extremely gratifying.”

For her part, Notley has suggested that she might not stop at a wine ban.

She previously said that Alberta could boycott B.C. beer, too.

“All I will say is there are other tools that we have at our disposal that will turn the temperature up or the volume up more than we have,” Notley said Monday.

“We will reserve our right to roll those out in the most strategic timing possible.”

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