The BC Wine Institute is the latest organization to speak out against Alberta’s wine ban.
The Institute claims it is now challenging the constitutionality of the ban imposed by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC).
Miles Prodan, President and CEO of the BC Wine Institute, says the ban is severely harming B.C. wineries and grapegrowers, many of which are small, family-owned operations.
“The BC Wine Institute regrets having to resort to legal action to protect our industry and the families that rely on it for their livelihoods. We need to end this prohibition of B.C. wines.”
There are 276 wineries and 923 grapegrowers in B.C., which contribute to the local economy.
Business in the wine industry employ more than 12,000 people, whose livelihood is now at risk, according to Prodan.
“We believe it is unconstitutional to prohibit the import of Canadian goods into another province based solely on where they come from. All Canadians should be concerned, because if wine can be prohibited based on its province of origin, so can any product from any other province,” added Prodan. “We hope that the AGLC will take this opportunity to end the unfair targeting of the B.C. wine industry.”
It is the BC Wine Institute’s belief that consumers should be able to purchase the wine of their choice, but says this recent ban has divided provinces on permitting direct-to-consumer shipments of alcohol sales.
“Changes to the restrictions would protect our industry from being unfairly targeted by provincial governments engaged in unrelated disputes,” said Prodan.
According to the BC Wine Institute, for every $1 spent on Canadian wine in Canada, $3.42 in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is generated across the country.
Prodan also believes the ban could negatively impact the B.C. wine tourism industry; a 2015 study showed one million tourists visited BC wineries that year, generating $452 million in direct and indirect revenue for the broader British Columbia economy in 2015.