KELOWNA, B.C. - Wines made from foreign grapes will be moved out of the B.C. products section in government-run liquor stores, Agriculture Minister Steve Thomson says.
New selling regulations for the stores are an attempt to ensure customers know which wines are produced using only BC-grown grapes, and which involve foreign content.
"They're going to change the display areas in the stores," Thomson said, after a weekend news conference to announce that government subsidies for grape-growers and apple orchardists would be continued.
Kelowna-area winemakers who use only BC-grown grapes applaud the pending re-organization of the liquor store layouts, saying it was important for customers to be able to clearly identify domestic products.
"It's about time," said Steve Dale, winemaker and proprietor of Rollingdale Winery in West Kelowna. "Tell people where the wines are really from, that's the bottom line."
"I'm happy to see this clarification," said Andy Gebert of St. Hubertus Winery. "For consumer's it's been something of a confusing situation."
For years, several large companies have produced inexpensive wines made partly or completely from foreign grapes. As long as the production is done in B.C., the wines can carry the label description 'Cellared in BC'.
Industry officials say such products are an important part of their revenue stream and provide less-expensive wines that many people enjoy. However, critics say Cellared in Canada labelling misleads consumers into thinking the wines are made from BC grapes.