Hornby request for change to wine law ‘denied, denied, denied’

Hornby Island resident Stephen Bishop wants to sell wine made at his winery on Hornby Island to dinner guests at his family-owned lodge.

HORNBY ISLAND CARBREA Vineyard & Winery owner Stephen Bishop is frustrated by the provincial tied-house law

HORNBY ISLAND CARBREA Vineyard & Winery owner Stephen Bishop is frustrated by the provincial tied-house law

What Hornby Island resident Stephen Bishop wants is simple.

He wants to sell wine made at his winery on Hornby Island to dinner guests at his family-owned Sea Breeze Lodge, also on Hornby Island.

But, he is not allowed.

The provincial tied-house law prohibits Bishop from selling, promoting or even giving away his wine, made at Carbrea Vineyard and Winery, at the Sea Breeze Lodge — which are separated by a mere handful of kilometres — because he also owns a share of the family lodge.

“The guests that come and stay here and eat here, that’s the question I get asked so many times: ‘Can I get a bottle of your wine for dinner?’ And I’ve got to sit there and explain this law that I don’t understand to everybody,” said Bishop. “It’s called tied-house, it was put into place in prohibition days and it’s restricting me from doing it.”

The law was designed to stop a liquor producer from creating a monopoly by cutting down competition and selection in licensed establishments.

Bishop started his vineyard about 10 years ago, when he did not have shares in the family lodge yet, and he figured he could sell his wine in the dining room of the lodge as well as at his winery and various wine stores on Vancouver Island.

But about seven years ago, when his grapes matured enough that he could start making product, he also received a share in the lodge, and found out that he couldn’t sell his wine there.

He can sell it at his winery, and if he had a restaurant on the same property as his winery, he could sell it there, but because it’s a separate property, selling the product at the lodge is not allowed.

Bishop has been pushing government to change the law for the past seven years.

“It was denied, denied, denied. Every year since I’m up there talking to them about it and they say, ‘Oh, yeah, something’s going to happen, something’s going to happen,’ — it still hasn’t happened, of course,” he said, adding he met with past Comox Valley MLA Stan Hagen and they went down to legislature together to try to have the law changed.

“Stan of course was a total supporter for trying to get it changed, too, and at that point again with Stan and the liquor manager, everyone was saying ‘yeah it’s a ridiculous law and it should be changed.’ And so, again, that’s kind of the scenario the I’ve been dealing with over the years now.”

Rich Coleman, the minister in charge of the liquor control and licensing branch did not respond to a request for comment in time for the Record’s deadline. But, he had recently told another media outlet he supports changing the law, though he couldn’t give a timeline on when this may happen, or whether it would happen at all.

Meanwhile, Bishop said he would be happy if the law could be changed to have some sort of clause rather than fully eliminating it.

“Even a situation where it’s a certain percentage of my wine on my wine list, so whether it be 20 per cent or 25 per cent maximum, something like that would work out totally fine,” said Bishop, adding he has about 20 wines on his wine list, about 10 of which are B.C. wines, and would he keep 20 kinds of wine available if he could sell his own wine there. “The government would say they’re protecting my competition over me monopolizing my wine in my restaurant, well I can’t even compete — I’m not allowed to compete.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Arzeena Hamir, working her booth at the Comox Valley Farmers Market. LUSH Valley was recognized last month as a partner of the year by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets. Photo by Bill Jorgensen
LUSH Valley recognized for collaboration with Comox Valley Farmers’ Market

They won Partner of the Year award by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets

Chelsea Harry was last seen Feb. 21. Photo via Comox Valley RCMP
Comox Valley RCMP seeking help locating a missing woman

Missing person last seen in Courtenay on Feb. 21

A Coast Range Cannabis store has been approved for the Crown Isle Shopping Centre in Courtenay. Photo submitted
Courtenay council approves seventh cannabis retailer

Coast Range Cannabis to open second store in the Comox Valley

A map of the Village Forest Lands near Cumberland. Image, Village of Cumberland
Cumberland adopts forest management direction statement

Less detailed than full plan, documents sets out decision-making for village-owned land

Gp Vanier in Courtenay. Circa 2018. Photo courtesy Comox Valley Schools
Another COVID exposure alert for Vanier Secondary in Courtenay

Island Health has sent another exposure alert to parents of students attending… Continue reading

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

This was the scene outside North Saanich’s Parkland Secondary School after an attempted but unsuccessful break-and-enter into the school torched an ATM inside of it. Sidney/North Saanich RCMP did not make any arrests and currently lack suspects as the investigation continues. Members of the public who may have witnessed something or possess other information can contact police at (250) 656-3931 or to Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. (Submitted)
Money to burn: burglars torch North Saanich high school ATM

Police dogs searched the exterior and interior of the school after early morning break-and-enter

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read