Island winemakers excited about new foreign trade deal

Island winemakers excited about new foreign trade deal

WATCH: Island wineries are beginning to bring in the harvest during a sunny last week of September. For those looking to export, there is good news. On Monday, the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance announced Vancouver Island’s new designation as a Foreign Trade Zone and it stands to benefit small businesses looking to grow into world markets.

Pickers started on the harvest for Cowichan Bay’s Rocky Creek Vineyards Tuesday and owner Linda Holford is enjoying the buzz of all the possibilities it’s bringing.

“It looks like a really good harvest this year,” said Holford.

“This is the start of where the money is made. We’re trying to pick at the best times we can.”

All signs are pointing to a very good year for Island wines after a scorching sunny summer.

And Monday’s announcement by the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance about Vancouver Island’s new Foreign Trade Zone designation has this mom-and-pop winery thinking expansion’s around the corner in a big way.

“We can go from here to a Mission Hill really,” said Holford. “The sky’s the limit.”

The Foreign Trade Zone designation means taxes and tariffs are deferred at the point of purchase when an Island business imports something they will use to make their product. It’s only once that product is made and sold will fees begin to be collected.

“The savings is you won’t have to pay all that duty and tax and tie up all of that money for whatever length of time that is,” said George Hanson, president of the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance.

“You’re only paying it later when you’re actually making money on the sale of that product.”

That translates to less upfront costs for companies like Rocky Creek that needs to bring in equipment from abroad.

“Yeah and this is timely for us because we are looking at expansion and reviewing what happens to Rocky Creek over the next five years so we were thrilled to hear the words about that,” said Holford.

Since Linda and Mark Holford started their family run winery 13 years ago, its grown six times in size and its output has reached 3000 cases a year.

“And we have to double that again,” said Rocky Creek Winery’s Mark Holford.
“In order to get to where we need to be to sustain two families living off this,” said Holford.

Because now with their daughters grown and looking to join the business, they’re planning an expansion to grow Rocky Creek Winery on Vancouver Island. One that like this fall’s sun drenched harvest couldn’t have come at a better time.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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