The NDP government has declared April as B.C. Wine Month, just over a week after the Alberta government banned all imports of wine from the neighbouring province.
The month will include a special promotion at all public liquor stores.
“B.C.’s wine industry is made up of family-run vineyards and wineries that have chosen farming and wine-making as their passion and their profession,” Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham said in a statement.
“In addition to delivering fantastic wine, they also provide good jobs in communities throughout the province, and we are proud to shine a spotlight on the work they do and the wine they make. We told British Columbians we would fight for our wine-making community, and devoting an entire month to B.C. wines is a wonderful way to do just that.”
Along with the proclamation, the government will be supporting the wine industry with increased opportunities to have B.C. wines in local BC Liquor Stores, including local wines from small and medium producers that are not typically available outside of the wineries.
There will also be promotion with storefront displays, a greater variety of in-store tastings of B.C. wines, funding for the expansion of the Buy BC: Eat Drink Local campaign, to further develop partnerships between the BC Wine Institute and the British Columbia Restaurant and Food Services Association, and funding to support the marketing of BC VQA wines to new international markets.
The government also said the Ministry of Agriculture has been in communication with wine producers throughout the province. According to the provincial government, B.C.’s wine industry employs about 12,000 people and has an economic impact of $2.8 billion annually.
Wednesday’s declaration is the latest move in B.C. and Alberta’s fight over the $7.4 billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. The dispute began two weeks ago when Premier John Horgan’s government announced a ban on added levels of oil through pipelines while it studies safety issues.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has created a task force to firm up what measures could be taken in response to B.C.’s proposed restrictions on diluted bitumen shipments. She has also cut off talks to purchase $500 million worth of electricity from B.C.
Horgan said last week that he will not be distracted by the province’s retaliatory moves.
With files from The Canadian Press