Sunset Organic Bistro
Ezra Cipes, Sumerhill's CEO enjoying Scandal lager with Katie Bruce on the deck at the Sunset Organic Bistro.
Ezra Cipes had good reason to raise a brew when the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB), after over a year of deliberations, issued a “food primary” license allowing full service of wine, beer and spirits at Summerhill’s Sunset Organic Bistro in early September.
“Now guests of the restaurant, whether they are international visitors or neighbours seeking a local experience, can be better served with a selection of organic fruit wines, beers and spirits from an array of B.C. producers,” Cipes says.
The first winery restaurant situated on land governed by the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) Act to receive such a license, which replaces the restrictive “winery lounge” license, it will surely not be the last.
To make the breakthrough possible, Summerhill first had to convince the Agricultural Land Commission to grant the winery a “Non-Farm Use” exemption to the ALC Act, which prohibits commercial activities that are not ancillary to agriculture on the ALR. After initial rejections, the commission finally approved the request for “non-farm use” exemption, specifically for the purpose of operating Sunset Organic Bistro, in 2012.
“The commissioners recognized the importance of international tourism to the B.C. economy,” Cipes says. “Most recently,” he adds, “Burrowing Owl, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards and Hester Creek Estate Winery have applied for “non-farm use” exemptions, utilizing the precedent set by Summerhill.”