Alberta trade ban shouldn’t harm Creston Valley wineries

The recent decision by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to ban the import of BC wines in Alberta should not have a major impact on Creston Valley wineries.

Notley’s ban was announced as a retaliation against the BC government’s delay in approving the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion until environment concerns have been addressed.

“It won’t affect us too much as our Alberta sales are relatively quite small really,” Bob Johnson said last week. Johnson co-owns Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery in Erickson with his wife, Petra Flaa. “Yes, we won’t be able to ship to restaurants and retailers in Alberta. Most of our Alberta sales are to tourists at the tasting room here in the Valley. I don’t think Albertans will agree with their premier on this one. This might even increase tasting room sales this summer (with us) being the closest winery to Alberta along with the Skimmerhorn.”

Skimmerhorn Winery, which did not respond to a request for comment, is also believed to have only a small presence in the Alberta retail and restaurant market.

Dave Basaraba, co-owner of Wynnwood Cellars Estate Winery in Wynndel, told CBC Radio last week that it was unfair for Alberta to target the wine industry in a pipeline dispute. But he said that Notley, whose family has a vacation property in Southeastern BC, would be welcome at Wynnwood, and that if she purchased wine to take home, “We won’t tell anyone!”

“It’s the bigger picture that is disconcerting here, “ Johnson said. “Two NDP provincial governments using small and large business as pawns. They have no respect for what they are doing and the costs to us. The rule of law needs to be maintained or all society breaks down.

“The two provincial government jurisdictions are perhaps in here, along with the local government in Burnaby and their MP calling for civil unrest. We need leadership from the feds here. There will never be agreement on this issue with such polarized groups. We also need to take better measure of other vocal groups who have no regard for the opinion of anyone but themselves. Do these groups represent the view of the silent majority?”

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