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The Ottawa based effort to reform Canada's inter-provincial shipping laws has been gaining momentum with positive press coverage from across the country including, as previously reported, endorsement from the Globe & Mail and, now, from many other media sources. See the FreeMyGrapes.ca web site for details on the effort and their Facebook page for updates on the continuing publicity.

The current campaign is a call for a solution at the federal level to create a personal use exemption such that consumers can order wine from other provinces without breaking the law (as is now the case). I have just returned from the Direct to Consumer symposium in Santa Rosa, CA where the American approach was summarized. The U.S. now has a patchwork system with different regulations for wine shipping in EVERY state. As a result, wineries are faced with a nightmarish regulatory structure and must resort to specialized third party compliance businesses to ensure compliance (ShipCompliant is the leader). However, the current proposal for Canada would create a much better solution. If the problem were fixed at the federal level with a national personal use exemption - then wineries would have one national standard which would be easy to understand and to comply with.

As a friend in Napa told me ... Canada will have a better wine shipping system than the U.S. if the current proposal is successful. Please continue to support this initiative. These issues will be covered in more detail at the upcoming Wine Law in British Columbia conference on March 29, 2011 (50% discount on tuition for the wine industry!).