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BC Wine Industry Seeking Resolution in Alberta Trade Conflict

 

February 1, 2024 (Investorideas.com Newswire) British Columbia: Following on the heels of a similar trade issue in 2018, Wine Growers BC (WGBC) is disappointed to see that the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) has once again taken aim at BC wineries.

On January 22, 2024, the AGLC issued a letter to numerous BC wineries informing them that, if they did not immediately stop shipping wines direct-to-consumers (DTC) in Alberta, the AGLC would not accept any inbound shipments through their warehouse.

Federally, Bill C-311 permits Canadian wine to be delivered from another province free of barriers or tariffs, however, only British Columbia, Manitoba and Nova Scotia have permitted their residents to do so.

In Alberta, where it was once permitted to 'import' liquor from other Canadian provinces for personal consumption, the regulations were amended to make importation from other provinces subject to the policies of the Liquor Control Board. Currently, personal consumption is restricted to liquor that is also personally transported which eliminates shipping as an option. This prohibits Albertans, many of whom frequent BC as tourists, from joining wine clubs or ordering wine directly when visiting a winery outside of the province.

"Currently AGLC jurisdiction is limited to regulating persons and activities within the province. The Alberta laws governing DTC Shipping are all designed to regulate consumer activities - their authority does not extend to BC manufacturers exporting wine into the province", says Miles Prodan, President and CEO of Wine Growers British Columbia. "A working free-trade relationship between Alberta and British Columbia is imperative to the economic wellbeing of the entire country,"

"While we are still unclear of the political motivation behind the recent AGLC letter, it is disheartening for our local growers and producers, who have already suffered great financial hardships over this past year. We are concerned of being targeted once again for political gain that has nothing to do with our industry."

Prodan notes that the industry has already proposed a willingness to charge and remit the provincial tax if Alberta were to set up a system similar to the one that is already in place in Manitoba.

The BC wine industry has worked hard to build a positive relationship and partnership with Alberta, particularly in the wine, culinary and tourism sectors, including having collaborated on multiple campaigns directly with the AGLC. WGBC and its member wineries are working with both provincial government representatives to determine the root cause of the trade dispute and find a resolution that works for all parties.

KEY FACTS

  • A recent poll conducted by the Canada Vintners' Association indicates that 85 per cent of Albertans support interprovincial direct-to-customer wine shipping
  • The DTC wines being shipped to Albertans directly are high-end wines that range in price from $20 to $75+ per bottle
  • Only 1.9 per cent of wine in Alberta is from bottles priced at $25 or higher, which is less than 1/3 of the national average
  • Consumption of wine priced at over $50 per bottle in Alberta is only 0.2 per cent of provincial wine consumption
  • Alberta is the second most important market for BC wine (behind BC itself) with the majority of sales coming from DTC purchases
  • Wine Growers BC remains resolute in our mission to expand sales opportunities for our 340 BC grape wineries, most of which are small, family owned and operated businesses

For more information about Wine Growers British Columbia, visit the Media page at WineBC.com and be sure to follow our industry LinkedIn and Twitter for the latest media updates.

Media images available

ABOUT WINE GROWERS BRITISH COLUMBIA

Since 1990, WGBC has played a pivotal role in taking BC's wine industry from a vision to an internationally recognized niche region producing premium wines and providing exceptional wine tourism experiences. WGBC markets the wine and regions of BC; delivers quality trade, media and consumer tastings; and acts as the voice of BC's wine industry by advocating to government on behalf of industry that contributes $3.75 billion in provincial economic growth annually.

WGBC represents all wineries in British Columbia to grow the premium market share for the Wines of British Columbia, while driving awareness of our world-class wines and tourism product - as of 2019 drawing 1,191,500 visitors with $783.7million in tourism and tourism employment related economic impact on an annual basis.

For more information about Wine Growers BC programs and services, please visit WineBC.com.
For details on the Wines of British Columbia, go to WineBC.com.

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