Posts Tagged ‘National Capital Sommelier Guild’

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!




Savvy Friends & Links

Posted by Debbie

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Not only do our Savvy Sommeliers give you tips on good wines….count on us for tips on good web sites, blogs, authors and widgets that we find helpful in all things involving wine and food.


Award winning Wine & Food Writers…

Natalie MacLean – author of Red, White & Drunk all Over
Be sure to download her Food & Wine pairing matcher widget for your Blackberry or iPhone. Very useful…and fun too!

Tony Aspler – the Wine Guy
Reading all of the content on his web site, one wonders if Tony ever sleeps?  His ever popular ‘Wine Lovers Diary’ gives you insight to life as an acclaimed wine critic & wine writer. Tony makes it all look too easy!

Vic Harradine – author of Wine Current
Vic always has a pen & pad in one hand with a glass of wine in the other.  He reviews every wines at LCBO & Vintages

Ron Eade – Omnivore Ottawa Blog
Ron has a pulse on Ottawa’s food scene.  His blog is one of the top sites read on the Ottawa Citizen online – make it your resource to what is going on in Ottawa.

Rod Philips – author of The 500 Best value wines at the LCBO 2009
Rod’s monthly newsletter – Worlds of Wine give you insight on wine industry issues, news on wineries and winemakers dotted with wine tips.


There’s wine in your mailbox…

VINES Magazine
Editor Christopher Waters & team of wine writers constantly taste and review wines.  In addition to their articles about all things wines, the Buyers Guides help you to create a (long) shopping list of wines to try.


Wine Access Magazine
Each month, this magazine takes you on wine soaked journeys across Canada and to every corner of the wine world to meet winemakers, chefs & wine industry personalities.


Chefs & their talents…

Mary G’s Artisan Breads
It is easy for Jim to make you fall in love with homemade bread all over again! His trick: it is all in the equipment – his traditional woodfired brick ovens.  His seminars will convert you!

Chop Chop Catering
Call on Ken to be your personal chef or to offer fun cooking classes in your home.


Savvy places to shop…

CA Paradis
Drop by the store and ask for Diane Paradis to provide you insight on buying Riedel wine glasses and stylish decanters…or to simply ooh and ahhh over her wine cellars & fridges.  
TIP: bring your knives and they will sharpen them while you shop for wine accessories 

Wine Cellar Solutions
To buy a wine fridge? Or to build a wine cellar?  This big decision is easy when you call on Louis Titley to take you through your options or bring his team of professionals in to build a custom walk in wine cellar for your home.


Wine shows to add into your calendar…

Ottawa Wine & Food Show
THE wine show in Ottawa – don’t miss it!  Our team of Savvy Sommeliers organize the details of the wine competition – Cellars of the World – associated with the show.  We will see you there!

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival
The wine world comes to this event each year…and so does Savvy Company! There are seminars, tastings, lunches, dinners and a tasting room of 200+ wineries from every corner of the world.  Call on our Savvy Sommeliers to help you determine what to do at this festival. 


Wine clubs that the Savvy Team are members!

iYellow Wine Club of Toronto
The iYellow Wine Club is a free social wine club based in Toronto with exciting wine events, wine tours and monthly newsletters.

National Capital Sommelier Guild
Established for over 20 years, this member-run organisation located in Ottawa has numerous wine events for those serious about wines.  After each of the Savvy Sommeliers graduated, we joined this club to help keep a pulse on the latest releases of wines and to network with other Sommeliers and those in the hospitality industry.


We will continue to compile this list of Savvy Friends & useful links.  Bookmark this page…and share your tips too!


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