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Plan to sell only local wines at grocery stores upsets Australian winemakers

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The province’s plan to allow local wines to be sold exclusively on grocery store shelves starting next month has prompted Australian winemakers to write to the Premier asking her to reconsider.

This comes after a similar letter from winemakers in California earlier this month.

Given BC wines don’t have any restrictions in the land down under, Andreas Clark with the Australian Grape and Wine Authority says it’s unfair local wines will have an advantage in our country.

“We fail to see why additional preferences or support is needed for the BC wine community,” says Clark. “They already hold around 21 percent of the total wine market. Australia’s share is about eight percent.”

Clark has outlined his concerns in a letter, but the province says this move is within its rights under existing trade agreements.

“We should all strive to provide a level playing field,” says Clark. “If a sales channel is going to be open to BC wines, then it should also be open to imported wines, especially Australian wines.”

Starting April 1, BC wines will have exclusive access to grocery store shelves, while imported wine will continue to only be sold within liquor stores.