British Columbia

Vancouver votes down wine sales in grocery stores, for now

The City of Vancouver has rejected a staff recommendation for a one-year pilot project to allow five grocery stores to sell B.C. wine — at least temporarily.

Councillors want a larger review of the new looser liquor laws before allowing wine sales in grocery stores

New B.C. liquor laws change the way alcohol is bought and sold in the province. (CBC)

The City of Vancouver has rejected a staff recommendation for a one-year pilot project to allow five grocery stores to sell B.C. wine — at least temporarily.

Instead council members asked staff for a larger review on how Vancouver should be dealing with the province's new looser liquor laws before they give the go ahead.

Wine is already sold at grocery stores in White Rock, Surrey, Tsawassen and Langley under the new law.

But after hearing concerns from a Vancouver Coastal Health medical officer, the councillors decided a stricter, more comprehensive framework is necessary. 

John Pullen, the operator of Church and State Winery, also spoke at the meeting. He wanted councillors to ensure smaller B.C. wineries end up on the shelves when the project goes ahead.

B.C. winemakers say they aren't getting a chance to sell their product in grocery stores across the province, because municipalities are hesitant to grant the required permits.

The Urban Fare grocery store on Alberni Street built a wine store within its premises shortly after the province announced the new rules. But the sales were never allowed by the city, despite a green light from the province.

With files from Deborah Goble

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