Osoyoos market one of first to offer wine sampling, sales
Osoyoos’ Market on Main is now offering visitors a chance to taste and buy local wines at both the Saturday morning and Wednesday evening markets.
Osoyoos was one of the first farmers’ markets in the province to take advantage of new B.C. liquor regulations allowing wine sampling and sales, said Janis St. Louis, chair of Market on Main’s board.
“It adds a new dimension to it,” said St. Louis. “It’s always nice if you have a variety of types of vendors.”
The new liquor regulations came into effect June 22 and just six days later two local wineries had their paperwork approved and were offering samplings.
So far, Robin Ridge Winery from Keremeos and Forbidden Fruit Winery from Cawston have set up booths at Market on Main.
St. Louis said the market’s board has so far approved five local wineries to be vendors. Wineries also require approval from the B.C. Liquor Control Board (LCB) and these approvals have also been issued.
Other wineries approved by the market include Rustico, River Stone and Oliver Twist.
St. Louis is also hopeful that craft breweries and a distillery will be able to participate at a later date.
To be able to offer wine tasting and sales, a bona fide farmers’ market board must approve the practice and individually approve each winery, St. Louis said.
Municipal approval was also required.
There are also requirements such as that the person providing samples at the booth must have taken a Serving It Right course and that the size of samples is strictly controlled.
Some of the wineries aren’t yet in the liquor stores so being able to offer wine at the market gives wineries visibility and makes people aware of their products, St. Louis said.
Tim Cottrill, owner and winemaker at Robin Ridge, was recently set up at a Wednesday evening market at Gyro Park.
He was letting visitors sample Flicker, a dry rosé, as well as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot.
“It’s another opportunity for us to market our wine,” said Cottrill. “I think nowadays convenience is a big thing for people. If you’re at a farmers’ market picking up produce, then a chance to grab a bottle of wine for dinner is a great convenience and a new opportunity for wineries.”
Cottrill said that initially many people were surprised to see the wines because they hadn’t been following the news.
He’s also applied to other markets for an opportunity to sample and sell wine elsewhere.
Market on Main runs on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Town Square next to the Osoyoos Town Hall.
During the summer, it also operates Wednesday evenings from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Gyro Park, but will be moving July 30 also to Town Square.
So far, visitors to the Wednesday markets have been few and there have been only a few booths.
“I think a lot of people don’t know we’re there and we’re not so visible,” said St. Louis. “Up on the Main Street people drive by and they see all the activity and they pull over. It’s a little harder (at Gyro). We’re hoping to get more local people to come down. My idea was to make it more like a little concert in the park like they have in Oliver where you can hear music.”