April 4, 2018 1:16 am

Province looks to fortify wine industry with official ‘B.C. Wine Month’

WATCH: Okanagan wine industry celebrates end of Alberta boycott


B.C.’s wine industry is hoping a boost from the provincial government can help it grow after what’s been a challenging year.

The province has declared April as “B.C. Wine Month,” and is launching a series of initiatives aimed at fortifying the wine sector. Those include showcasing B.C. wines at government run liquor stores, along with bringing in chefs and sommeliers for wine and food pairing events.

READ MORE: Okanagan wine industry celebrates end of Alberta boycott

For the province’s vintners, it’s a welcome assist. In February, the industry got caught in the middle of a messy pipeline dispute between B.C. and Alberta that saw the province’s eastern neighbour ban the import of B.C. wine.

Miles Prodan, president of the B.C. Wine Institute — which represents the industry — said it’s still unclear what the economic effect of the Alberta boycott is.

WATCH: Alberta puts a cork in BC wine shipments

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“It was a tough year for wineries, not just wineries, but people in the province of British Columbia. There were the fires, the floods and then this boycott so it affected a lot, especially the wine industry,” he said.

“It was definitely something that we didn’t want to see or set a trend.”

READ MORE: Restaurant industry likes list of changes proposed for B.C. wines

Prodan added that during the wildfires last summer, tourism took a hit — but fortunately the grapes came through unscathed.

“There was some smoke in the area and that’s always worrisome that it might affect the grapes or it might affect the wine, I’m happy to say it did not,” he said.

“But, you know, people read about it from outside, and they get worried about it and we definitely saw a fall off on tourism here in wine country. But in the end we weren’t hit anywhere nearly as hard as our fellow B.C. friends and family were in other parts of the province.”

Along with the in-store promotions, B.C. Wine Month will include special wine dinners, contests and activities, with details available at Winebc.com

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