The regulations governing interprovincial wine trade within Canada are in need of an overhaul.
At present, three provinces, including British Columbia, allow out-of-province wineries to sell directly to the consumer. Others do not allow such sales.
This means while an Ontario or Quebec winery can sell directly to customers in British Columbia, our wineries cannot sell directly to customers in those provinces.
This is inconsistent and it adds a level of frustration for wineries and wine consumers.
Efforts have been made to improve the regulations surrounding interprovincial wine trade.
MP Dan Albas has been working towards a freer wine trade since 2012, when he introduced a private member’s bill on this topic.
And in the years following, some significant improvements have been made in the interprovincial wine trade.
Some interprovincial wine trade agreements are already in place, but these do not govern all provinces and territories.
For instance, an agreement was signed last month between Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.
It is a step forward, since wines from B.C. can now be sold to Quebec and Ontario customers. However, the agreement still does not cover sales direct to the customers.
The lack of consistency presents problems for wineries across the country. It’s an added regulation which benefits neither the wineries nor the consumers.
If anything, it provides a degree of aggravation when someone in one province is able to purchase wines unavailable in a neighbouring province.
There is a lot of room for improvement in our present system.