B.C. wines sales still have hurdles to clear

Regulations still must be amended to open the door for online sales of B.C. wine

Okanagan wineries are anxiously awaiting pending legislation that could bring significant improvements to their bottom line

A private member’s bill from Okanagan-Coquihalla MP Dan Albas will introduce amendments to federal laws that restrict the sale of Canadian wine across provincial borders. Bill C-311, which eliminates a 1928 Prohibition-era law, cleared the Senate this week after previously receiving unanimous support in Parliament. It’s expected to receive Royal assent later this month.

But it may still be a little early to pop any corks in celebration. Because even after Ottawa clears the way for wine to be shipped across provincial borders, wine sales will still be limited by a host of provincial legislation.

The provinces still need to establish their own exemptions to allow the personal purchase and shipment of alcoholic beverages across provincial borders. Earlier this month, B.C. announced its own provincial tax exemptions for alcoholic beverages, with residents now allowed to bring back one standard case of wine (nine litres) from another province without paying B.C. tax on it.

“Contrary to some public reports, Bill C-311 does not allow for the direct sale of liquor,” said B.C. minister Rich Coleman. “To allow this to happen, we need the co-operation and support of other provinces because Bill C-311 simply clarifies a province’s right to set limits to the quantity that can be imported and in what manner.”

And there is some question whether the federal bill will clear the way for online sales of Canadian wine. Allowing tourists to bring home a case of Okanagan wine will undoubtedly see financial benefits trickle down to the industry, but opening the door to online sales would increase those benefits dramatically.

So while the pending changes to federal regulations are a cause for celebration here in the Okanagan, more work is still needed to help B.C.’s wine industry tap into its potential.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Sickle Point as seen from the air. (Kaleden Community Association - David Mai)
Second town hall for Sickle Point on Jan. 27

The first town hall was cut short due to technical issues

Nate Brown photo
Okanagan-Shuswap says goodbye sunshine, hello winter

Temperatures are forecasted to drop by mid-next week

The facility in Summerland has 112 long-term care beds. Interior Health funds 75 of the beds. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Six more months for temporary Summerland Seniors Village adminstrator

The temporary administrator was appointed following site visits and concerns from Interior Health

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 in Washington. The President is traveling to Texas. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
13 more cases of COVID-19 tied to Big White Mountain cluster

This brings the total case count to 175, of which 32 cases are active

RCMP on scene at a home on Sylvania Cres. (Phil McLachlan /Capital News/FILE)
Two Kelowna men arrested after Rutland home invasion

Two Kelowna men, including a prolific offender, facing slew of potential charges

Most Read