BC Out of Province Wine Shipping Ends

The LCBO and the Manitoba liquor control board have recently threatened two BC wineries for direct shipping to out of province customers (see Vancouver Sun story ). In addition, they contacted the BC LCLB who is now warning wineries that it is illegal to make such shipments under the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act. The legal background to these issues is covered in my earlier article on shipping for the industry .

The impetus for all of this is, of course, lost revenue. Direct shipments to wineries in other provinces bypass the relevant liquor boards and their regime of markups/fees/taxes. However, Manitoba and Ontario do not have a monopoly on this type of behaviour. BC's rules with respect to wine coming into this province are exactly the same (see s.65 of the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Act).

With 2010 on the horizon, isn't it time for Canada's liquor boards to reform this system? A prohibition era system of liquor distribution is simply not appropriate for Canada in the 21st century ... particularly, as we try to encourage and expand an increasingly successful wine industry.

Update (Sept  19/08): Please see my updated article on shipping for more information on this issue . A thorough legal analysis will also be posted shortly. Please contact me directly for additional information.

BC's Real Sales Tax on Wine: 90% or More?

When you buy a bottle of wine in a store or restaurant in BC, your receipt will usually indicate that you paid 10% provincial sales tax and 5% GST on your purchase. Have you really paid 15% tax on your bottle of wine? Absolutely not.

It may surprise you to hear that the real tax rate on imported wine in BC is much, much higher. It varies with the price of the bottle but, for example, if you go into a BC liquor store and buy a bottle of $14 California wine, the real cost of selling that bottle to you is about $6.45 (including LDB operating costs). The remaining $7.55 goes to both levels of goverment with the vast bulk going to the BC government. If you express the part that goes to BC as a percentage of the actual cost of selling the wine, then the "real" BC sales tax rate is about 111%.

Read more: BC's Real Sales Tax on Wine: 90% or More?

Wine Labelling Laws: Lessons from CA

There is an interesting article on California's wine labelling laws in the San Francisco Chronicle today . It covers the issues and obstacles that the Napa Valley Vintners have had in dealing with new sub-appellations within the larger designated California appellations such as Napa and Sonoma. The article explains the problems that arose when a new sub-appellation was proposed for Calistoga which affected the winery, Calistoga Cellars, which buys most of its grapes from outside Napa.


Read more: Wine Labelling Laws: Lessons from CA

Costco Loses Rehearing in WA

Costco has lost its bid to have its arguments reheard by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington in a case involving restrictions on beer and wine pricing . Previously, the court had ruled that most of Washington's state rules controlling discounts on beer and wine were permissible. Costco sought to have the case reheard.

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Welcome to WineLaw.ca! This site is dedicated to providing information on legal issues related to the wine industry in Canada. We will cover such topics as shipping laws, marketing laws, labelling laws, environmental laws and trademarks. All of the information presented here will be specifically designed for the wine industry. 

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