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Wine Law Reform – Everywhere But BC?

Wine Law reform efforts appear to be making progress in many places … except BC:

WA State Privatization: Another liquor privatization initiative is on the ballot in Washington state for the November 8th election. Once again, Costco is leading the \”Yes\” side\’s effort to reform the state distribution system while liquor wholesalers are financing the \”No\” side in favour of the status quo. There has been plenty of analysis (see both \”pro\” and \”con opinions from the Seattle Times) and here are a couple of other articles if you are interested: Citizen\’s Guide to Initiative 1183 and Liquor and Long Term Initiatives Leading in New Poll. Leading WA wine writer, Paul Gregutt, weighs in here (My Vote on Initiative 1183) with his support for the YES side.

Hong Kong Creates Wine Boom: In 2008, the Hong Kong government repealed its high (80%) import taxes on wine. The repeal of the taxes created a huge boom in the wine business and in three short years, HK has now established itself as \”Asia\’s prime wine trading hub\” according to Decanter magazine. HK\’s wine imports will likely exceed $1 billion this year.

Wine Shipping Reform Continues at Federal Level: Dan Albas\’ private member\’s bill (C-311) continues to work its way through the House of Commons at the federal level. If passed, the Bill will produce the first reform in almost 90 years of Canada\’s arcane prohibitions on the interprovincial shipment of wine. The conclusion of second reading debate on this Bill is set for December 8th, after which the Bill will go to the Finance Committee.

Unfortunately, here in BC, nothing has happened on the wine law reform front despite pleas from many groups (here are just two new examples: restaurants and movie theatres). Last year\’s trade practices reforms (announced over 15 months ago) have still not been implemented and we are still stuck with one of the most outdated wine regulatory systems in the western world. If the initial comments on the Vancouver Sun\’s movie theatre article (Arcane Liquor Laws Kill Rio Theatre\’s Business) are anything to go by, then most British Columbians are just as frustrated with the failure to modernize as I am!

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