On Thursday, the provincial government introduced a new program, called Bring Your Own Wine which allows people to bring a bottle of wine into a restaurant if they pay a corkage fee. Gavin Hill of Upper Bench Estate Winery on the Naramata Bench says the program gives people more options for the type of wine they can drink while dining out.
A Penticton hotel owner is reserving judgment on the provincial government's decision to allow people to bring a bottle of their own wine into their favourite restaurant.
David Prystay, general manager of the Penticton Lakeside Resort, said he'll discuss the new government program with his staff and make a decision within about a week.
Rich Coleman, minister responsible for housing and in charge of liquor control, made the announcement about the program, called Bring Your Own Wine (BYOW), on Thursday.
Participation in the BYOW is not mandatory and is at the discretion of the restaurant owner. However, to participate, a restaurant must have a food primary licence and a liquor licence, which means pubs and bars can't offer it.
The program does not apply to beer, hard alcohol or other drinks.
Restaurants will be allowed to set and charge a corkage fee for those who bring their own wine.
Prystay said participating in the program may allow the restaurants operating in the Lakeside to keep lower amounts of inventory on hand but he's unsure what kind of effect it will have on the type of clientele BYOW could attract.
"Hopefully nobody brings it back in the box," he said. "It's new. We'll probably participate in it and if we don't like it, we'll dump it."
When the co-owner of another Penticton restaurant, Villa Rosa, heard the news, he took to Twitter and sent a tweet announcing that he was in.
"It's a win-win," said Tyler Gable.
Villa Rosa was the first Okanagan eatery to announce it will allow diners to bring their own bottles of wine with them if they want to enjoy with their meal.
Gable doesn't think it will hurt wine sales.
"I used to live and work at restaurants in Alberta where it's legal and it really didn't have that big an impact," he said.
Gable expects to see some people bring in special expensive bottles they have at home so they can have a celebratory dinner at the restaurant.
Or maybe tourists have been wine touring and want to bring a bottle that's only sold through the winery.
"Maybe some of our more expensive wines won't sell as quickly," said Gable. "But for other wines, I think people will just order off our menu because it doesn't make sense for them to bring their own moderately priced wine to a restaurant."
Villa Rosa will charge a $15 corkage fee.
Generally wines at restaurants are marked up around 100 per cent meaning a bottle you can get for $15 at the government liquor store or winery will be in the menu for $30.
While that irks some people, it isn't going to change the math if they bring along their own $15 bottle to a restaurant and have to pay $15 corkage.
Villa Rosa's wine list runs the gamut from $6 glasses of house red and white to bottles moderately priced $29-$40 and a few splurges at just over $100.
Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia all have similar bring-your-own-bottle rules.