B.C. supplier of official Calgary Flames wine fears impact of Alberta ban

An Okanagan winery that supplies all the vintages served at Calgary Flames home games is worried about how Alberta's boycott of B.C. wine will affect its partnership with the hockey team.

'Obviously we are extremely concerned about it,' says winery's sales director

TIME winery in Penticton produces wine with the official Calgary Flames logo for sale at the NHL team's home games. (Brady Strachan / CBC)

An Okanagan winery that supplies all the vintages served at Calgary Flames home games is worried how Alberta's boycott of B.C. wine will affect its partnership with the hockey team.

Last year, a month ahead of the 2017-18 NHL hockey season, TIME winery in Penticton, B.C. was announced as the official wine partner to the Calgary Flames.

TIME produces bottles of Pinot Gris and Cabernet Merlot with the Flames' distinctive flaming "C" logo on the wine label, along with the slogan "It's Go TIME."

TIME winery director of sales and marketing Christa-Lee McWatters Bond is hoping B.C. and Alberta settle their dispute so she can resume shipping wine into Alberta. (Brady Strachan /CBC)

"That means that at the Calgary Saddledome that all the wines on the concourse level are wines from TIME winery," said Christa-Lee McWatters Bond, director of sales and marketing for the winery.

"So you will see our logo on the board, on the Jumbotron, throughout the concession stands as well. So it's just a great partnership that we have with the team."

A dispute between the B.C. and Alberta governments over increased shipments of bitumen through the Trans Mountain pipeline, and the resulting B.C. wine boycott by Alberta has McWatters Bond worried how her winery will continue to supply the Flames organization.

"Obviously we are extremely concerned about it," she said.

"We are a small family-run business and it's a huge amount of our volume that we project for the year and is currently selling."

About a third of the winery's vintages are sold to customers in Alberta, according to McWatters Bond.

She said the winery has a "fairly good inventory" of wine in Alberta to supply the Flames organization, but if the wine ban continues long term there could be problems.

"We are a little bit surprised that we are caught in the crossfire here," she said.

McWatters Bond is also board chair of the B.C. Wine Institute, which represents 276 wineries in the province.

According to the institute, 30 per cent of all wine sold in Alberta is from B.C.

Calgary Sports and Entertainment, the corporation that owns the Calgary Flames, said it would not enter the debate about the trade dispute or comment on the implications for its partnership with TIME.

"Everyone regrets the need for such actions but we respect the need for political leaders to make difficult decisions in the interest of all Albertans," said president and CEO Ken King.

"As a sports organization we do not provide political opinions or views on such matters. ... We do hope that a greater good will be served as a result of this decision."

About the Author

Brady Strachan

CBC Reporter

Brady Strachan is a CBC reporter based in Kelowna, B.C. Besides Kelowna, Strachan has covered stories for CBC News in Winnipeg, Brandon, Vancouver and internationally. Follow his tweets @BradyStrachan