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Shoppers can buy wine with groceries in Coquitlam starting Sept. 1

Wine sales as well as food demonstrations among the offerings at the new Save-On-Foods store opening at Sunwood Square mall in Coquitlam.
Save on foods-diane photo
The exterior of the Sunwood Square Save-On-Foods in Coquitlam, which opens Sept. 1.

Food inflation might be hitting shoppers across the Tri-Cities.

But there's some good news in the grocery business as a western Canadian chain is making big moves in Coquitlam.

On Aug. 31, Save-On-Foods will be closing its Pinetree Way store and re-opening on Sept. 1 at a new location at Sunwood Square.

"We are excited to officially open our doors at Save-On-Foods Sunwood Square on September 1," a spokesperson confirmed to the Tri-City News.

A pharmacy currently on site at the Pinetree Way store will also relocate to the new branch the same day.

But probably the biggest news about the change is that Tri-Cities shoppers will have the ability to purchase B.C. wines with their groceries.

The new store, located in the open-air mall at 3025 Lougheed Hwy., will have a selection of B.C. VQA wines, with more than 1,300 varieties from more than 180 wineries, in addition to groceries and bread baked daily.

Cooking demonstrations

And, as Save-On Foods meets rapidly-changing customer needs, more personalized experiences are set to be offered at the new Sunwood Square location.

There will be staff who can help customize your order, offer tips and advice, and the store will offer demonstrations and tastings to show consumers how to prepare home-cooked meals, the spokesperson further stated.

Allowing wine sales at Save-On in Coquitlam follows a council discussion earlier this spring.

Coquitlam council unanimously green-lighted the bid for a 1,650 sq. ft. wine section in the Sunwood Square building, where Safeway was a former tenant, according to an earlier Tri-City News story.

The 72,825 sq-ft. store has been under renovations since last spring.

Under the license, sales are allowed daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

What is B.C. VQA Wine?

Save-On-Foods has 21 wine shops at its grocery stores across the province and its staff are educated in the B.C. wine industry, as well as liquor regulations and security, council heard at the June 13 public hearing.

VQA stands for Vintners Quality Alliance.

To qualify, VQA wine must meet quality standards with respect to their origin, vintage and varietals.

These wines are assessed by a qualified panel and must meet the criteria for quality characteristics before they can be designated as BC VQA.

- with files from Janis Cleugh, Tri-City News