Within hours of the Alberta wine ban being lifted, Ex Nihilo Vineyards received a sizable order from the Alberta Liquor Depot.
“It’s business as usual,” said Jeff Harder, owner of the Lake Country winery, Friday morning.
Not much changed for Ex Nihilo in the time Alberta Premier Rachel Notley decided to block wine trade as part of the ongoing dispute between the provinces over the Trans Mountain pipeline, anyway.
Over the course of an average year, 30 per cent of the winery’s sales are to Alberta. This, however, is the slow season, meaning the impact was minimal. Plus, Albertan tourists who had been here skiing stopped into the winery to stock up.
The worst part of the ban was simply the feeling of being a pawn in a game you have no part in, said Harder.
“Alberta is an important neighbour. They’re our family next door and they support us with tourism,” he said. “We understand they need the jobs in the oil industry, and we need to look out for our environment…Overall it was sad we were used as pawns.”
Notley announced the end of the ban a day after the B.C. Wine Institute informed the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission it would be pursuing legal recourse and the provincial government filed a complaint under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement.
Notley did not say the ban would be permanently lifted, reserving the right to bring it back into force once more, depending on what happens with the pipeline dispute.
The Kelowna Chamber is pleased that the Alberta Premier has decided to lift Alberta’s short-lived ban on BC Wine imports and is optimistic both Premiers shelve any further mention or consideration of “boycotts” on any products.
“The Kelowna Chamber was extremely concerned about the boycott, particularly because of its detrimental impact to our region of the province of B.C., which, for the most part, respects the outcome of the Federal Review and approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion,” said Tom Dyas, the chamber president.
“For the life of us, we are not sure why the Alberta Premier singled out an industry in the interior of the province that is ironically also home to thousands of workers that depend on Alberta’s oil patch.”
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