Wineries from the Naramata Bench in British Columbia decided to slow traffic down to support the #freemygrapes campaign, attracting waves and puzzled looks from passers-by in downtown Penticton, BC. See more photos on our Facebook page; below is the news release explaining their “tractor convoy”.
The ultimate goal: have BC Premier Christy Clark present her fellow premiers with gifts of Naramata Bench wine during the Council of Federations meeting next week in Niagara, where Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne — her province is currently “closed” to consumer shipments of out-of-province Canadian wine — plays host. In BC, consumers may ship Ontario wine to themselves for personal use. Ontario has yet to reciprocate.
PENTICTON, BC – July 18, 2013: Traffic on the iconic Naramata Bench wine route went a little slower this morning as a colourful convoy of winery tractors held up traffic enroute to MLA Dan Ashton’s office on Riverside Drive in Penticton. Loaded with a precious cargo of wines that make up the Naramata Bench Wineries Association’s ‘Best of the Bench’ Collection, the contingent went with a clear request:
Pressure the Provincial Premiers to remove the antiquated barriers to trade of BC wines within Canadian borders for once and for all.
In the year since the passage of federal Bill C-311, only BC and Manitoba have put in place regulations and policies to actually allow for personal importation of Canadian grown and made wine into their provinces. Effectively this means it remains illegal for BC visitors to take wine home or have a case shipped to: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, PEI, Newfoundland, Nunavut, NWT, Yukon and Nova Scotia.
Recognizing that the provincial leaders will be meeting during the Council of Federations in Niagara on July 24-26, the Naramata Bench Wineries Association delivered the case of wine to MLA Dan Ashton today, with the goal of getting this symbolic case of Naramata’s finest to Premier Christy Clark.