EDITORIAL: Acquiring the taste of trade

It wasn’t all that long ago that B.C. wines made their way onto grocery store shelves, but thanks to the new trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, it looks like they’re going to have to share that space with wines from south of the border.

Industry experts predicted there would be a trade challenge to the B.C.-only designation as the options were being discussed in 2015.

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That arrived a few months after wines showed up next to groceries in the form of complaints to the World Trade Organization in 2016.

What’s actually killing that exclusivity, though, is the USMCA — the trade deal that replaces NAFTA — with B.C.’s wine industry being used as a bargaining chip in favour of central Canada’s auto industry.

It was pretty much inevitable the B.C.-only wine provision would disappear sooner or later. The questions are what effect will it have and what people can do moving forward.

Patrons can choose to not buy U.S. wines when they appear on grocery store shelves.

There is no need for a boycott. Why would a vino fan want to buy a lower quality, large-batch wine when offered quality small lot wines from Kamloops and area wineries, while supporting the local economy at the same time?

Price is an obvious answer and some will sacrifice taste if they save a few bucks. But one does not have to be a wine snob to appreciate the difference between good and bad wines. Since buying wine is a luxury purchase, why not spend a little more for a satisfying experience?

And, if people aren’t purchasing mass-market imports, grocery stores have less incentive to have them in their wine aisles. Trade agreements or not, a retailer can’t be forced to stock items that aren’t selling.

Quality usually trumps other factors and the quality wine produced locally — at Monte Creek, Harper’s Trail, Privato and Sagewood — should be enough to fend off inferior imports.

© 2018 Kamloops This Week

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