NEW GLASGOW – A local entrepreneur will be heading to court Friday to fight an injunction he says could drastically affect his business.
Charles Patton, owner of Water N’ Wine in New Glasgow, said he was served a summons Wednesday afternoon to appear in a Halifax courtroom today to face an injunction imposed by the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation ordering him to refrain from mixing, storing or fermenting wine in his store.
“This could pretty much shut us down,” said Patton who was on his way to Halifax to meet with two other businesses that have also been named in the court order.
The injunction application was served 18 months after the provincial government introduced liquor laws aimed at preventing businesses from allowing customers to brew beer or ferment wine within the store.
Patton spoke out against the change in legislation when it was passed in December 2011 – and believes that’s the reason he is one of three businesses being targeted in the injunction.
“We were starting to relax and thinking they weren’t going use it, but once you relax, that is when they get you,” he said.
The court documents state that the liquor corporation wants the Nova Scotia Supreme Court to stop the business owners from providing any service that involves mixing, storage and fermentations of alcohol in their stores.
Patton said in December 2011 that he had more than 700 customers who take advantage of his storage space and let their wine ferment in his back shop. His customers buy the wine-making kits from him and then pay him a fee for storage and use of equipment. The customers spread the yeast themselves which allows the fermentation to begin and he doesn’t touch the kit once the process has started.
He said three business owners, which also includes Wine Kitz Halifax and Wine Kitz New Minas, were meeting in Halifax Thursday afternoon to discuss their options and determine which lawyer would be representing them in court.
Patton said he’s hoping the court will adjourn the case to a later date so that their lawyer will have time to look over the court documents.
Meanwhile the Progressive Conservatives are accusing the NDP government of treating U-vint retailers as criminals rather than businesspeople.
“Instead of creating a climate that welcomes and helps businesses, like Wine Kitz, to prosper, the Dexter NDP continues to put up roadblocks,” said Conservative MLA Alfie MacLeod. “Job creators should be freed up from red tape and unnecessary government interference in order to help spur growth in our economy.”