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Province uncorks rules to licence VQA wineries in B.C. grocery stores

Left to right: Save-On-Foods president Darrell Jones, Premier Christy Clark, Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson and Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick are pictured in this contributed photo at Save-On-Foods at Kelowna's Orchard Plaza, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016.
Image Credit: Contributed
February 19, 2016 - 10:00 AM

VANCOUVER - Grocery stores hoping to sell British Columbia's high-quality wines, ciders and sake will have to bid against each other for the chance to apply for a licence.

The province has released details of the next step in moving some sales of 100 per cent B.C. wines onto designated shelves in specific supermarkets.

The right to apply for a licence to sell the alcohol will be auctioned off through BC Auction, with the first round in late April.

Only grocery stores that meet strict criteria will be eligible to bid, and they'll have to go through a registration and pre-screening process before paying a $25,000 deposit for every licence they are seeking.

The process is the second part of B.C.'s proposed revision of liquor sales involving VQA — or Vintners Quality Alliance — wineries.

It adds to the store-within-a-store model, where private liquor licences are transferred into a grocery store, which can then operate a stand-alone liquor store within its premises.

The Save-On-Foods store in the Orchard Plaza in Kelowna has become the first grocery story in the southern Interior to sell B.C. wine and hosted a media conference with Premier Christy Clark yesterday, Feb. 18.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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