It’s fascinating to watch the rapidly unfolding machinations surrounding today’s announcement that BC will now allow its residents to bring in wine from other provinces free of the usual BC mark-up—as long as the wine is made at the winery with 100 percent Canadian grown grapes and is shipped directly from the winery.
Faced with mounting pressure as a direct result of Dan Albas (Federal) private member’s bill, which coalesced into the Twitter fueled #FreeMyGrapes movement, the Provincial Government moved surprisingly fast on this.
As the province says, it’s hoping the rest of the country will follow BC’s lead, thereby making it truly beneficial for BC’s smaller wineries, who would like to be able to (legally) do what comes naturally—allow visitors to have their purchases shipped home to wherever they reside in Canada.
In other words, this is as much about tourism as it is about wine.
However, before we all get too excited, wine legal guru Mark Hicken offers some cautionary thoughts as to whether the change in law could actually stand up in court, as it favours Canadian made wine, while Alberta and Manitoba’s response allows for the inter-provincial shipment of all wines for personal use.
Also, this is about grape wines, not apple or Saskatoonberry wines. Although, you can be sure, it’s only a matter of time before hopheads weigh in about being able to bring in their preferred suds from wherever. I mean. why wouldn’t they? *** See below.
Ontario currently allows folks to bring with them one case of Canadian wine without being charged markup, so it will be interesting to see how or if it (i.e. the LCBO) responds to BC’s unlimited allowance.
Nobody at this time is talking about just how this might be monitored or enforced. But that’s another discussion altogether.
One province we haven’t heard from yet is Quebec (SAQ). We wait with bated breath …
(Also, the timing of the announcement does offer a distraction from the current controversy over the privatization of BCLS wholesale distribution … but we digress.)
Kudos to the province for sticking its neck out on this one. But ultimately it’s as much about the other provinces as BC. Let’s see if the ROC (Rest of Canada) gets it!
The bottom line? To anyone living outside of Canada, this whole discussion must seem truly bizarre—although perhaps, also, just very Canadian.
We could go on … and likely will later. As they say, this story has legs—and not just in the glass.
In the meantime, we’re calling Bruce Ewert for some of that great L’Acadie Prestige Brut.
*** Member of Parliament Dan Albas sent us this link which talks also about cider.
Also updated to encompass all wines, including fruit wines, which we gather are also covered.