Wine in Penticton Grocery Stores

A public hearing set for Monday in Penticton will focus on the issue of wine sales in grocery stores.

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said a requirement for grocery stores to include only 100 per cent B.C. wine will be discussed.

The public will have the opportunity to speak.

A second bylaw regarding the province’s one kilometre separation rule for liquor stores was defeated.

Jakubeit said he is aware that small winery owners have concerns about the grocery store sales, but he said this will be good for the community overall.

“The grocery store, (Save-on-Foods), can provide better representation and better distribution of these wines from small wineries,” he said. “They will have shelf space for 900-plus wine bottles, with a better selection helping the smaller and medium-sized wineries.”

He added that the changes were initiated by the province because people wanted more convenient access to wine.

“The wineries are big for tourism,” he said. “When they want to buy a bottle of wine to compliment dinner, it’s easier to go to Save On.”

Rob Ingram, owner of Perseus Winery in Penticton, and a member of a group of concerned liquor store and winery owners, said they have reason to be worried.

“If the same thing happens, as has happened in other jurisdictions, the food stores will have 70 per cent of all wine sale in B.C., and the small wineries won’t be able to compete with grocery stores and the bigger wineries,” he said.

Ingram added they are pushing for a delay on a decision to get proper information out there and studied.

Council is currently expected to make a decision following the hearing.

If the plan goes ahead, Penticton residents could see wine on grocery store shelves later this year.

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