"Wine Month" is a Welcome Response

On the heels of Alberta's boycott of B.C. wines, the B.C. government has proclaimed April as B.C. Wine Month.

"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," said Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham. "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."

The BC government says these initiatives will support B.C.'s wine industry:

* 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.

* Promotion throughout the month with storefront displays.

* A greater variety of in-store tastings of B.C. wines.

* Funding for an 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.

* Funding to support the marketing of BC VQA wines to new international markets.

Miles Prodan, President and CEO of BC Wine Institute says something had to happen in response to the Alberta boycott of BC wine, stemming from the dispute of the Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion.  "Losing 25 percent of your market in an instant is catastrophic so the BC government stepping up and at least offering some short term mitigation, we're very thankful for that."  Prodan adds that no matter what happens in the dispute, the damage has been done.  "It's not like everyone will immediately switch back to BC(wines), there's long-term consequences to this...this is impactful to BC farmers and grape growers."

B.C.'s wine industry employs about 12,000 people, and has an economic impact of $2.8 billion annually.