Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Vintners Association’

It’s Canadian Wine Day!

Posted by Debbie

Friday, June 28th, 2013

For Immediate Release: Wine Industry Calls on Provinces to Open Borders to Direct Wine Delivery

Today-  June 28th, 2013 – marks the one-year anniversary of the passage of Bill C-311. This momentous bill, sponsored by Dan Albas, Member of Parliament (Okanagan-Coquihalla), effectively amended the prohibition-era Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act, removing the federal restrictions prohibiting individuals from transporting wine from across provincial borders when purchased for personal use.

One year later, only two provinces – British Columbia and Manitoba – have permitted for the direct shipment of wine from a licensed Canadian winery to residents, while the remaining provinces and territories continue to object to the national legislation. Thus, despite Bill C-311’s unanimous federal support, the majority of Canadian wine consumers are still prohibited from purchasing directly from out-of-province wineries.
“The Canadian wine industry applauds the federal government for removing an 84 year old law which had restricted the opportunities for Canada’s growing wine industry to satisfy consumer demand for direct sales and delivery,” said Dan Paszkowski, President and CEO of the Canadian Vintners Association (CVA)

“There are now over 500 wineries in Canada, and with each vintage, more wines are produced than can be stocked or sold by liquor stores; however, that shouldn’t prevent an adult from purchasing Canadian wine directly from an out-of-province winery,” stated Paszkowski. “Consumers expect to be able to purchase the wines they want, in the manner of their choosing: from liquor stores, at the winery, through winery wine clubs, or online. Direct-to-consumer delivery would satisfy consumer demand, help local wineries grow their business, and augment liquor store sales. It is also good for rural communities and the entire Canadian economy.

A recent study calculated the annual economic impact of the Canadian wine industry to be $6.8 billion, supporting over 31,000 jobs in Canada, and contributing over $1.2 billion in annual government tax revenue. Statistics also show that Canadian consumers are increasingly selecting wine as their beverage alcohol of choice, yet Canadian wines only account for 30% of total wine sales in Canada.

“Canadians want to appreciate the excellence found in their own backyards and prohibiting consumer exposure to local wines is detrimental to our industry, and in particular, small family wineries,” said Tony Stewart, President of Quails’ Gate Winery in British Columbia and CVA Chair.

The CVA will continue to respond to widespread support for expanding consumer choice in Canadian wine, by working with legislators where provincial/territorial law prohibits consumers from purchasing wine directly from wineries across Canada.



About the Canadian Vintners Association

Canadian Vintners Association
The Canadian Vintners Association (CVA) is the national voice of the Canadian wine industry, representing more than 90% of annual wine production. CVA members are engaged in the entire wine value chain from grape growing, farm management, grape harvesting, research, wine production, bottling, retail sales and tourism.


Media Contact:

Beth McMahon,

Vice-President, Government and Public Affairs

Canadian Vintners Association

(613) 755-2736



Free my Grapes – The Ontario Sequel . . .

Posted by Susan

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Bill C-311 states “…the importation of wine from a province by an individual, if the individual brings the wine or causes it to be brought into another province, in quantities and as permitted by the laws of the latter province, for his or her personal consumption, and not for resale or other commercial use.”

In June 2012, Bill C-311, presented by Dan Albas, MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla, received royal assent just before the House of Commons rose for the summer. Why do we care?  Laws governing the transport and sale of alcohol across provincial boundaries dated back to 1928 and the Prohibition Era. Until the passage of Bill C-311 by unanimous vote of the House, it was a criminal offence to take or ship wine across provincial boundaries. Talk to European winemakers about this and they just shake their heads – “How can this be? You are one country, are you not! In Europe there is no issue shipping wine across national boundaries. We don’t understand why there is an issue in Canada!”  The goal of Bill C-311 was to remedy this situation by making legal:

Free My Grapes, in the person of Shirley-Ann George, was a driving force behind the Bill and its successful passage by the House. So we’re celebrating, right! Not so fast, as Shirley-Ann explained at a recent presentation to the National Capital Sommelier Guild. Read that excerpt again—‘as permitted by the laws of the latter province’.  Manitoba and British Columbia have essentially moved to respect the spirit of the law, allowing ordering and shipping of wine across their boundaries. Credit for BC changing its laws within two weeks of the passage of Bill C-311 goes to the many BC wine lovers and wineries that ensured this issue was front and centre on the political agenda for more than a year. But monopolies such as the LCBO and SAQ, who actively lobbied against C-311, have yet to clarify their positions.  While provincial law in Ontario is silent with respect to the importation or possession of wine from other provinces, the LCBO has issued a ‘policy statement’ restricting wine imports to in-person transport only. While this policy statement probably has no legal effect, there are stiff penalties for violation of Ontario liquor laws – for the individual, fines of up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year! Why should you have to take this risk?

This brings us to Bill 117, introduced as a Private Member’s Bill by Rob Milligan, Conservative MPP from Northumberland – Quinte West, to the Ontario Legislature at the end of August 2012. While the prorogation of the Ontario legislature means the bill has died, Milligan has committed to reintroduce the bill when the parliament resumes. So it’s still worthy of our consideration.  A summary follows:

“The Bill amends the Liquor Control Act to add a provision that permits individuals who are 19 years of age or older to import or cause to be imported wine into Ontario from another province if the wine is for their personal consumption and not for resale or other commercial use. The Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s powers do not apply to wine imported by an individual in accordance with that provision. The Government of Ontario is required to encourage the parties to the Agreement on Internal Trade to implement or amend measures to allow for the free movement of wine within Canada. A progress report must be tabled in the Legislative Assembly within three months after the Bill comes into force and every six months thereafter.

Similar provisions are added with respect to the importation of beer from other provinces. Those provisions only apply if the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (Canada) authorizes the inter-provincial importation of beer. “

Free My Grapes is working with the Canadian Vintners’ Association, among other groups, to support the passage of this Bill. We need the same type of all-party unanimous support for this Bill as that given for Bill C-311 at the federal level. Given that MPP Milligan is a member of the opposition party, it may take even more support from Ontario wine lovers to win the day!  There’s nothing like concerned wine-consuming citizens making their opinions known to their MPPs to ensure the appropriate level of awareness, understanding and attention to this matter.

If you want the opportunity to order wine from British Columbia, Nova Scotia, or any other province into Ontario, Free My Grapes encourages you and your friends/colleagues to first and foremost write your MPP asking her/him to vote in favour of Bill 117 or a similar bill that makes it legal for Ontarians to buy and ship red wine and white wine across provincial borders for personal consumption.   A sample letter and links that will help you find your MPP’s address can be found at Free My Tweeters can get updates on progress by following @FreeMyGrapes. The website is also a good source of information on what is happening in both Ontario and across Canada on this important matter.

It’s time to put an end to the outdated prohibition era laws that punish Canadians for buying great Canadian wines.

Together we can finally Free My Grapes!