A grocery store in Sussex has become the first in the province to offer wine for sale.

The new Co-op grocery store in Sussex now offers 64 varieties of wine as part of a pilot project by NB Liquor.

wine

The new Co-op grocery store in Sussex now offers 64 varieties of wine as part of a pilot project by NB Liquor. (CBC)

There has been a lot of positive response since the new stock arrived about a week ago, but assistant store manager Shane McQuinn admits not everyone is keen.

McQuinn says offering New Brunswick wines is what sold him on the idea.

“We have the Mott's Landing which they're based out of Cambridge Narrows, we also have Gillis of Bellisle from Bellisle, and we have Dunnam Run from the Kingston Peninsula,” he said.

NB Liquor has authorized a half dozen stores from Tracadie to Fredericton to carry wine that is not offered at the liquor store. The stores cannot sell beer or spirits.

Rocky Price, general manager of the Co-op, says he has already needed three extra deliveries of local wine since he put it in the racks.

“We've been selling since last Thursday, and the local product has been our most popular … accounting for about 50 per cent of our business. So that's very promising, and very enticing. Very exciting,” he said.

The demand is especially exciting for small wine making operations like Motts Landing, located just down the road in Cambridge Narrows.

David Craw and Sonia Carpenter, who operate Motts Landing Vineyard and Winery, are preparing for their season's opening this weekend.  

They were thrilled to hear just two weeks ago, their wine would be carried at the local Co-op.

“It does make a difference for us. We can deal directly with the food stores, making arrangements for the purchase of the wine, and therefore we can cut out the middleman, and therefore the growers in New Brunswick and winemakers have a chance to make a little bit more money,” said Craw.

The New Brunswick Liquor Corporation says the pilot project will be assessed in a year and half.