Daily bite: British Columbia Wine Institute pulls sponsorship of Calgary's The Big Taste restaurant festival

BC VQA removes their support of Calgary's The Big Taste festival in light of recent political actions

Image for Daily bite: British Columbia Wine Institute pulls sponsorship of Calgary's The Big Taste restaurant festival
updated Feb. 16, 2018

Today is the final day that the Albertan government will accept wine shipments from its neighbouring province into distribution centres. It’s hard to envy anyone in a governmental position where polarizing choices have to be made, but in a province where the food and beverage industry is already struggling with minimum wage increases, new small business taxes and other concerns, the newly imposed ban on B.C. wine is about as tough to swallow as a glass of sickly sweet Apothic Red.

To make the hot topic boycott situation even more sticky in Calgary, the British Columbia Wine Institute has decided to withdraw its sponsorship for Calgary's large-scale dine-out festival, The Big Taste. BC VQA has been a prominent partner of the annual festival for years, but given the current boycott on B.C. wine, things are a little different now.

"The Wines of British Columbia have been a proud sponsor of Big Taste Calgary for many years, as we have a passion for sharing and celebrating B.C. wine with our Alberta friends. The nature of our sponsorship agreement was to offer B.C. wine exclusively, and in the current climate, this may not be each consumer's choice," explains BCWI CEO and president, Miles Prodan. "Respectfully, we have withdrawn our sponsorship, and support the decision of each restaurant and winery to offer B.C. wine or not in the best interest of their guests. We look forward to working with Calgary restaurants again when this political issue is resolved by the elected leaders."

Prodan egoes on to say that the reason behind the decision to remove the BC VQA's sponsorship from The Big Taste is so that event organizers, Calgary restaurants and its patrons are not drawn into the policy debate that the BC wine industry has been forcefully pulled into.

As of now, there has not been a replacement sponsor announced for the festival and though it could not be disclosed, it is our understanding that as a major sponsor, the sponsorship was both monetary and in-kind. What we do know is that B.C. wineries who still have a healthy, yet dwindling, amount of product in Alberta warehouses shall continue to supply different restaurants with their wines in-kind for whatever events they can.