Court day for B.C. wineries

Representatives from five small Okanagan wineries will have their cases heard in the Supreme Court of Canada on Wednesday and Thursday, fighting for improved national distribution of wine that is made in Canada.

The five wineries were granted intervener status two months ago in the R. vs. Comeau case, which will address legal barriers that exist with the interprovincial shipping of wine that is made with Canadian-grown grapes. 

Shea Coulson, founder of Vancouver-based Coulson Litigation who will represent the wineries, said during the two days Canada's top court will hear from "a couple dozen interveners."

Operators of the wineries who will be making a case are from Painted Rock in Penticton, Okanagan Crush Pad in Summerland, 50th Parallel in Lake Country and Noble Ridge and Liquidity in OK Falls.

Those five wineries make their wines with all-Canadian grapes, and produce less than 50,000 cases of wine annually. Their national distributions levels are limited, due to trade barriers from province-to-province.

In a news release, Coulson said that his clients plan to inform the Supreme Court how they are negatively affected in the wine business by the barriers that exist.

"My clients will argue that it is possible to incrementally change the law to permit interprovincial shipments of Canadian wine and liquor while maintaining health, safety, and other relevant regulations.”

He added that it could take up to a year for the Supreme Court to come down with a ruling one way or the other.


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