Wine war trade challenge

B.C. is challenging Alberta's ban on B.C. wines through the Canadian Free Trade Agreement.

Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston announced the move Monday in support of the province's wine producers.

The challenge will be made through the CFTA dispute settlement process.

"B.C.'s wine industry is an important contributor to our economy, creating good jobs and other economic benefits," Ralston said in a press release. "We're standing by our wine producers and the communities that rely on this important industry by launching a formal trade dispute, and we are confident we will be successful."

It will be the first formal dispute to occur under the new CFTA.

"Alberta's actions threaten the livelihood of the families that have worked so hard to build B.C.'s world-class wine industry," Ralston said. "These actions are inconsistent with Alberta's obligations under the CFTA, and we will protect our reputation and the interests of British Columbians."

The province is also expanding opportunities for small and medium producers to get their products on B.C. liquor store shelves, and additional funding is being provided to market B.C. VQA wines to new international markets.

  • B.C.'s wine industry employs about 12,000 people, and has an economic impact of $2.8 billion annually on the province.
  • B.C. is home to 929 vineyards, including over 350 licensed wineries.
  • There are just under 3,900 hectares of wine grapes grown in B.C.
  • The top markets for B.C. wine in 2016 were China (54 per cent), Taiwan (23 per cent) and the United States (11 per cent).

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