Discover Wines stores set to shut down in Kelowna and Kamloops after company sells licenses to Overwaitea

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THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Two VQA wine stores in Kelowna and another in Kamloops have agreed to sell their wine licenses to the Overwaitea Food Group, paving the way for wine sales in local grocery stores.

Tracy Gray, owner of Discover Wines in Kelowna and Kamloops, confirms the sale and pending closure of her stores, saying the B.C. Wine Institute, which controls VQA wine licenses, wants to see them move to grocery stores.

“We could have kept the license however the B.C. Wine Institute’s model is changing,” Gray says. “Overwaitea is good because they are a local chain and understand the importance of small business.

Discover Wines was, in 2003, amongst the first businesses to operate under the current B.C. VQA license model, B.C. Wine Institute president Miles Prodan says in a press release.

Under new liquor regulations enacted last spring, grocery stores may sell VQA wine products under an agreement with the wine institute.

Kelowna Museums, operator of the VQA wine store in the Laurel Packinghouse in downtown Kelowna also announced it would sell its license.

The transfer of the licenses has been approved by the wine institute, Gray says. Her stores will close early in the new year.

Overwaitea did not immediately return a request for an interview but the wine institute says the B.C.-based grocery chain is waiting for approval from the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch.

To contact a reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald@infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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