Nova Scotia

Wine shop owner: province not protecting small shops

The owner of a small wine kit shop in Spryfield says he's upset the provincial government isn't stepping in to stop a fight between the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation and some private wine shops.

NSLC trying to end in-store wine and beer brewing

The owner of a small wine kit shop in Spryfield says he's upset the provincial government isn't stepping in to stop a fight between the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation and some private wine shops.  

The liquor corporation wants to shut down three stores that allow customers to make and bottle their wine on premises.

In court on Friday, a lawyer representing the NSLC suggested the action was, in part, to protect other wine kit sellers from unfair competition.  

Dan Doherty, whose business was not targeted in the NSLC case, said he is disappointed Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald is taking a hands-off attitude.   

"The government's response to this seems to be typical of their disdain for small business," said Doherty.  

"I'm extremely disappointed in this government and the way they treat small business. If I was looking, if it was our group looking for $50 million for something they'd be right there handing it out, but when it comes to small business, no."  

He said the U-Vint operations are not affecting his wine kit business.   

The case will be back in court next month.  

On-site brewing convenient

Dick Ohlhausen has been making his own wine for 30 years, partly because it's cheaper but also because he likes working with his hands.  

"It was just something enjoyable and I was quite handy, liked to do things like that," he said.  

He started in the basement of his home but now that he's living alone in an apartment he doesn't have room for all the equipment. Instead, he rents space and gear in a U-Vint store in Clayton Park.

He said he's not happy the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation is trying to shut it down.

"Oh I think it's terrible. You've got a small business, employing local people, very competitive, very good for me cause it's a good deal."

Ohlhausen said he hopes to continue making wine.

He'd like the provincial government to do what five other provinces have already done, to make in-store wine fermenting or beer brewing legal.

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