Tourists learn about icewines and table wines produced in the Okanagan on Jan. 24, 2020. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

Wineries and liquor stores should be essential services: B.C. Wine Institute

The institute said you don’t have to travel to support B.C. wine

B.C. Wine Month is only a week away and the British Columbia Wine Institute (BCWI) is asking people to support local wine.

With the COVID-19 pandemic putting a strain on travel and tourism, the industry is slowly feeling the strain of the virus outbreak.

But BCWI director of marketing Kim Barnes said it’s important to remember we don’t need to travel far to get a taste of good B.C. Wine.

She said one can go to a grocery store or a liquor store and easily find them.

BCWI president and CEO Miles Prodan said they are doing their best to help BC wineries by working with the provincial government. He said part of their efforts include advocating for wineries and liquor stores to be labelled as essential services, a delay in the next minimum wage increase, allowing businesses to defer the Employer’s Health Tax, and asking municipalities to delay property tax increases.

Prodan and Barnes said these measures are to help the industry through the current crisis, save jobs, and have a resilient wine industry at the end.

“It’s important that wineries are recognized as the farms that they are,” Prodan said.

“It is essential given the fact that we are growing and processing agricultural products. So (the government) recognizing us as an essential service would be critical for us.”

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Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
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