Drink Up: Wine to be Sold in Vancouver Grocery Stores

Wine sold at a Trader Joe's grocery story in the U.S. Photo credit: Mack Male | Wikimedia Commons

Wine sold at a Trader Joe’s grocery story in the U.S. Photo credit: Mack Male | Wikimedia Commons

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to pick up a bottle of wine while you’re at the grocery store?

For decades, Vancouverites have fantasized about this simple act, commonplace in so many parts of the world. Now, it’s finally becoming a reality.

Starting April 1 (and no, this isn’t an April Fool’s gag), grocery stores throughout British Columbia will be able to sell local wine.  Think of it as one small step for Vancouver, one giant leap for wine drinkers everywhere.

But before you race out to the corner Safeway looking for your favourite bottle, there is some fine print to consider.

Photo from Christmas Stock Images

Photo from Christmas Stock Images

For starters, grocery stores can only sell 100-percent B.C.-made wine, so don’t expect to find that Argentine Malbec or big Bordeaux on the shelves. Even this limited selection, however, is an improvement over the original plan.

Earlier, officials had decreed that grocery stores could only sell wine if they were more than 1 kilometre from an existing liquor store. Research by the Vancouver Sun revealed that there were only two grocery stores in the entire city that would have been eligible. So, officials backtracked and exempted grocery stores from the restriction provided they sell only local wine.

Wine sales in grocery stores will be done at designated registers, staffed by trained cashiers who have completed B.C.’s “Serving It Right” certification and are at least 19 years old.

Photo credit: Alex Brown | Flickr

Photo credit: Alex Brown | Flickr

But keep in mind not all grocery stores will have wine on their shelves this spring.  To actually stock wine, stores must either have a licence transferred to them from an existing wine store that sells only B.C. wine or get one of the limited number of new licences to be made available in the New Year. There’s no word yet on exactly how many grocery stores will offer wine or where those stores will be.

Maybe it’s more of a baby step for wine drinkers than a giant leap forward … but it’s a start.

Follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza

 

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