Jul 12, 2012 / 10:33 am
Hidden Bench, 13th Street and Hillebrand used to be taboo in the province of BC, but not anymore.
The wineries of Niagara, Prince Edward County and even Nova Scotia are now available to be shipped to residents in British Columbia for personal consumption.
Minister Rich Coleman, made the announcement Thursday, saying residents can have wine shipped to them directly without provincial mark-ups.
"British Columbia is prepared to take the lead on opening up the Canadian marketplace for our world-renowned BC wineries. We encourage other jurisdictions to take immediate steps to reciprocate by opening up their borders and allow all Canadians to order wine over the Internet."
To be eligible for direct shipping the wine ingredients must be 100 per cent grown and produced in the province it is being shipped from, and the wine must be for personal consumption only. There is no limit on the number of bottles that can be shipped, provided they are for personal consumption.
Bill C-311 was originally introduced by Kelowna Lake Country MP Ron Cannon as a private members bill before the last election. Although it took a number of years for the bill to be passed, the government finally took a step toward modernizing the 84-year-old law that restricts the transport of wine across provincial borders.
Kelowna Lake Country MLA, Norm Letnick, says hopefully wineries in the Okanagan will be able to do the same and ship their wines down to markets elsewhere in the country.
"We are hoping the rest of the country, does this with our wines, so wineries like Grey Monk, Mission Hill, Quails Gate and all the wineries in our area can ship elsewhere. Somebody has to take the lead and BC once again is taking the lead."
It will be sometime before we can see wines from elsewhere in the country in BC liquor stores, says Letnick, for now consumers must contact wineries online or by phone to place an order.
"One step at a time, the Federal Government made the first step with passing the bill that removed the prohibition of importation of wine across borders. Now it is up to the provinces to step up to the plate to make that vision a reality, and BC is the first one at that plate."
Josie Tyabji, chairman of the BC Wine Institute, says this government understands the advantages to consumers and the economic benefits to smaller wineries that do not always have products widely available outside their winery.
"This is another important step towards creating a more open marketplace for British Columbia's wine industry."
Wine lovers across the country have been railing together since 2010 to support Bill C-311, under the slogan 'Free My Grapes'.
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