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Canadian Wine Shipping Law Reform Coming Closer

Bill C-311, which would amend the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act to permit the inter-provincial shipment of wine for personal use in certain circumstances (see earlier story: Reform Process for Wine Shipping Law Begins) will return to the House of Commons in Ottawa this Tuesday, May 29th. The Bill will then, hopefully, receive third reading and pass a final vote in the House before it goes to the Senate (see this update from its sponsor, Dan Albas MP). A rally to support the Bill was held at Poplar Grove Winery in Penticton this past Friday with Dan Albas, and BC Premier, Christy Clark, both in attendance (see Politicians Rally Around Wine Bill).

It is important to remember that the amendment, if and when it becomes law, will permit each province to define the amount of wine that is a reasonable amount for personal consumption. As a result, if real progress is to be achieved, it is essential that the provinces set realistic limits for what is a reasonable amount. As one of two leading wine producing provinces (and as the only one that is actively supporting this Bill), British Columbia is in a unique position to take leadership on this issue and to establish a precedent for the other provinces in advance. It is hoped that British Columbia will act soon on this matter. I have long argued that the limit should be 24 cases per person per year. This limit is almost the same as the 2 cases per person per month limit that they have in Oregon (both CA and WA have no limits for personal consumption). However, an annual limit would more easily accommodate wine tourism since occasional visitors would be able to take advantage of the larger exemption available on a fewer number of seasonal trips.

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