The regional district is pushing for legislative changes that would allow for a wider range of B.C.-made alcohol in winery restaurants.

The regional district is pushing for legislative changes that would allow for a wider range of B.C.-made alcohol in winery restaurants.

Changes brewing for Okanagan winery menus

Regional district supports application to allow winery restaurants to sell B.C.-produced beer and spirits

Winery restaurants in the South Okanagan scored a win this month in their bid to expand their drink menus to include spirits and beer.

Most winery restaurants are licensed only to sell alcohol that’s produced on-site. In recent months, however, both Tinhorn Creek Vineyards and Hester Creek Estate Winery near Oliver have asked the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to support their bid to add beer and hard liquor to their menu.

“Times change. Golfers like beer,” Robin Openshaw, vice-president of corporate development at Hester Creek, told the RDOS board.

RDOS support is needed to obtain the necessary approvals from both the Agricultural Land Commission and the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch.

However, RDOS staff has opposed the changes, which would essentially turn winery restaurants into full commercial operations, contrary to both zoning bylaws and the intent of the Agricultural Land Reserve on which they’re located.

But the compromise suggested by Allan Patton, RDOS director for rural Oliver, appears to be gaining traction.

Patton, a staunch defender of agriculture, suggested the board agree that winery restaurants be granted permission to sell only B.C. spirits and beer. He pitched his idea to the ALC in March and restated his case at the RDOS board meeting.

“Instead of going the whole way and allowing these restaurants to be just like anything else that competes with restaurants in commercial zones in towns and stuff… we’re going with an expanded licence that still restricts them, and still has a relationship with agricultural land, where they’re supporting not only wines, but also B.C.-grown-and-produced beers and spirits,” he explained.

“We have no ability to restrict a winery from having a restaurant on the ALC…. That’s provincial legislation: If a winery wants a restaurant, they get it whether we like it or not. The only thing we can do is deal with the details of what kind of licence they’re allowed to have, that kind of thing.”

The ALC, from which the RDOS asked for clarification on the issue earlier this year, wrote in a letter to the board in May that it “is supportive, in principle,” of the expanded drink menus at winery restaurants. However, the ALC noted that such a policy would be in conflict with provincial liquor laws.

It pledged, however, to “consult more widely with stakeholders on this matter,” and encouraged wineries to continue to apply on a case-by-case basis.

Patton said the letter illustrates the need for wineries to lobby the LCLB for broader legislative changes.

The RDOS board agreed to approve Hester Creek’s non-farm use application to the ALC, but noted it supports only the sale of B.C.-made alcohol. The board granted a similar approval for Tinhorn Creek in February.


Just Posted

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Goosebumps helped scare off predators

Your morning start for Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Sue Birds captured this sunset photo that took place in between the rain and thunder Monday night, June 15, 2021. (Sue Birds)
Stormy sunsets over Okanagan Valley

Monday night had thunder, rain and stunning sunsets

Owner Daren McWhinney is really excited about the new location of Angry Vegan which just opened up at 536 Main Street. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton’s Main Street turns into foodie heaven

Angry Vegan, Wild Ginger, Twisted Chopsticks and Gratify recently opened

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-month-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

Vernon Elks Lodge secretary-treasurer Maureen Sather says special relief funding for the organization courtesy of Community Futures North Okanagan has been just that: a relief. (Photo submitted)
Zero funding for Vernon Elks club

Once-in-100-years grant denied after back and forth with city for support

Lyndsay Fillier and Braden Taylor have been living the van life for four years and they've detailed the first year of their adventures in a new book. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Okanagan couple details first year of van life in new book

Lyndsay Fillier and Braden Taylor have been living the van life for four years

A young child was taken to hospital after being struck by a vehicle on 30th Avenue in Vernon Friday, June 11, 2021. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Child OK after being hit by car in Vernon

Father says daughter was back home by supper time

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

Most Read