New rules will allow B.C. wine drinkers to bring bottles from home to drink in licensed restaurants, Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman announced Thursday.
“This is big for a lot of people in the hospitality sector,” said Coleman.
He said the change will mean more flexibility for restaurants.
“It allows customers to pair their favourite wine with their favourite restaurant,” said Coleman.
Restaurants will be allowed to charge a corkage fee to open, serve, and re-cork the bottles for their patrons. It is up to restaurants whether they want to take part in the new option or not, and they can charge a corkage fee of any level.
Coleman and Ian Tostenson, president of the British Columbia Restaurant and Food Service Association, said fees charged in other parts of the country have been between $10 and $20 for most restaurants, and up to $50 for high end places.
Rules about not serving minors and banning over-serving won’t be altered, Coleman noted. Restaurants will still be responsible for their patrons consumption, even if the bottle comes from outside.
Tostenson said similar rules have been tested outside of B.C.
“This type of regulation is happening in other provinces of Canada, it’s happening in the U.S.,” he said.
He hoped it will be good for restaurants that have small wine cellars, and for local B.C. wine producers that don’t sell a lot of bottles into restaurants.
The new rule takes effect immediately. They will affect only wine, not beer or spirits.