July 22, 2014 - 3:37 PM
PENTICTON - Local wineries and breweries are now able to sell liquor and hold tastings at Penticton farmers markets, but some concerns regarding space and competition are already arising.
Council passed an amendment at Monday night’s council meeting to change the definition of an outdoor market to include the sale and tasting of wine and other alcoholic beverages.
Moses Brown, a farmer and vendor at the Penticton Farmers Market raised some issues concerning space and a proposal made by the Downtown Penticton Association to make the 400 block of Main Street, currently used for the association's market, just for tasting and selling of wine, liquor and other locally made beverages.
Council only wanted to talk about the amendment being made — just because they passed the changes, doesn't mean wine vendors have to be at the market. But Brown said market organizers want to take advantage of the opportunity to grow and include new vendors into the mix. But there just isn’t enough space.
Brown said there are only two spots available for wineries at the Farmers Market that occupies the 100 block of Main Street on Saturday mornings. The idea is to rotate wineries every week to allow interested wineries a chance to sample their wines and interact with customers, he said.
Hugh McLelland of the Naramata Bench Winery Association said most of the wineries under the association are interested in selling wine at the markets but most are too big to qualify with the Farmers Market that only allows vendors with farms 15 acres and smaller.
However, if the Farmers Market wanted to have more wine vendors, they would need an expansion because there is just not enough space for many more vendors, Brown said. He asked council if it would be possible in the future for the Farmers Market Association to propose a space expansion, but council said that was not a discussion to have now because it had nothing to do with the amendment that was on the table.
“It’s the social event of the week,” Coun. Judy Sentes said of the market. “If anything, I think you’ve benefitted.”
The DPA holds the second half of Saturday’s market along the 300 and 400 block of Main Street, selling homemade goods, breads and cheeses, among other things. This market will not restrict wineries interested in selling at the market based on the size of its vineyard.
“If they create a market in the 400 block without those checks and rules, we won’t be able to maintain the integrity of our market,” Brown said. “I’m not sure why the city feels we need to have two markets.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014