B.C. wine industry cautiously optimistic as Alberta lifts ban

Click to play video: 'B.C. Wine Institute happy ban lifted but still concerned' B.C. Wine Institute happy ban lifted but still concerned
B.C. Wine Institute happy ban lifted but still concerned – Feb 23, 2018

The B.C. wine industry is raising a glass Thursday night as the Alberta border is reopened to its product.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced earlier in the day that she would instruct the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) to begin restocking B.C. vintages.

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The move came after B.C. Premier John Horgan stepped back from plans to ban increased shipments of diluted bitumen through the province, saying B.C. would refer its case to the courts to decide.

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The British Columbia Wine Institute (BCWI), which represents the industry, had previously initiated plans to seek a court injunction against Alberta’s ban on the grounds that it was being unfairly targeted and would suffer irreparable harm.

READ MORE: BC Wine Institute seeking injunction against Alberta ban of B.C. wine

On Thursday, BCWI CEO Miles Prodan said that while vintners are pleased at Alberta’s decision, they still have concerns.

“Uncertainty remains. We still are concerned about the precedent of a province, a provincial government, believing it has the constitutional authority to impose trade bans on a Canadian product based on their origin.”

Prodan said that his organization is still studying the situation, and left the door open to continued legal action in one form or another.

READ MORE: B.C. government to formally challenge Alberta’s wine ban

“Over the next couple of days we’re going to look at this a little more closely, talk to our legal counsel and our members and figure out the best way to move forward so that we’re not in this position again,” he said.

Earlier this month, the Wine Institute surveyed its members to get a sense of the economic cost of the Alberta ban.

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It said that based on a response from just 93 or B.C.’s 276 wineries, the industry had already suffered about $1 million in losses.

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