WORKING FOR YOU
Through collaborative advocacy, the BCWI represents the BC wine industry’s interests to government. We work with other industry stakeholders to establish direction on regulatory policy and other issues. We give government and specific ministries the information they need to formulate regulatory policies that create a healthy business climate for our members.
Our advocacy work is led by our President & CEO, Miles Prodan.
- Provide direction, coordination and collaborative alignment of industry and government resources.
- Continue advocating the BCWI position on high priority issues including but not limited to: variable markup, hospitality pricing, direct-to-consumer delivery, legalization of cannabis, and health warning labels.
- Activate and align all 60 existing BC winery ‘private’ off-site farm distribution appointments to ensure operating agreements include product selection, location approval, operating terms and conditions, etc.
- Continue advocacy work with government to open provincial borders for all Canadians to be able to have Canadian wine shipped directly to their homes from the producers, including support of the Free My Grapes web portal and gain media traction in the interprovincial barriers to wine trade issue.
- Deliver the BC Wine Institute’s annual recognition awards that include the Industry Recognition Award and the Award of Distinction. Learn more.
October 16, 2018
UNITED STATES – MEXICO – CANADA AGREEMENT (USMCA) UPDATE
While there have been no new official updates following the original announcement of the “conclusion of discussions on a modernized NAFTA”, the BCWI position remains:
- NAFTA/USMCA ‘grandfathered’ BC VQA Wine store licences have been very successful in their purpose of supporting the BC wine industry.
- BCWI will review the current wine-in-grocery store model over the coming 13 months, consulting with government and industry to protect our BC VQA Wine store licences.
- It’s time to allow our wine grape farmers and winemakers the ability to ship their products direct to consumers across Canada.
We continue to have discussions with provincial and federal government officials to reiterate our position, specifically support of direct wine delivery and how best to defend our protected licences.
UPDATE LETTER IN SUPPORT OF CANADIAN DIRECT DELIVERY
The BCWI collaborated with Canadian Vintners Association, the Winery & Grower Alliance of Ontario, and the Winery Association of Nova Scotia to undertake consumer research to back up the importance of the creation of an interprovincial winery-to-consumer direct delivery system in all provinces and territories across Canada.
Research findings were included in a joint industry letter to senior provincial and federal politicians in advance of the FPT Internal Trade Ministers meeting and the First Ministers’ conference both scheduled for fall 2018. (see link: https://bit.ly/2OuI16M)
EXCISE EXEMPTION LETTER
To ensure the government and your Member of Parliament are aware of the importance of the excise tax exemption for your business, it is vital that every winery in Canada take the time to demonstrate to the federal government that the removal of the excise exemption on 100% Canadian wines is non-negotiable, and that it must be preserved in its current format via:
1. Download and send prepared email text to federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau and federal Trade Minister Jim Carr. (see link: https://goo.gl/oMPsNF)
3. Complete the 2-minute survey to outline how your winery has used excise exemption to created industry investment, jobs and economic growth. (see link: https://goo.gl/z3RRfV)
September 22, 2018
BCWI APPOINTS ARTEMIS GROUP & O’DONNELL LANE
Following an extensive stakeholder engagement process in the spring, the BCWI initiated a request for proposal process, receiving eight proposal submissions for the development of a Long-Term Strategic Plan for the BC wine industry. The selection committee (comprised of a sub-committee of the BCWI Board of Directors) reviewed the proposals and shortlisted two proponents, who made their presentations to the Board of Directors at its annual strategic session last week. Ultimately, the Board selected The Artemis Group and O’Donnell Lane to undertake the project.
The Artemis Group and O’Donnell Lane LLP have deep roots and extensive experience in the wine industry, including working with regional trade and industry associations, and we are excited to work with them and our industry on this pivotal project. Ongoing stakeholder input will be a critical component to the development of the industry plan so please watch for opportunities to participate.
BCWI BOARD MEETING
In addition to the selection of the contractor for the Long-Term Strategy Plan, the Q1 Board meeting also included: Business Technical Advisory Panel (Liquor Policy) Recommendations; support for Okanagan College application to Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) for a Technical Access Centre; inclusion of the BC Wine Centre of Excellence Feasibility Study in the strategic planning process and an update on recent provincial and federal discussions regarding NAFTA and WTO challenges (see link: goo.gl/4pzTaj). Next Board meeting will be Q2, December 4, 2018.
BC MEETING PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT
Recently the BCWI met with BC’s Attorney General David Eby and Minister of Agriculture Bruce Ralston for an update on BC’s position vis-à-vis the US and Australia WTO Challenges. In addition to defending BCWI’s BC VQA Wine stores, the BCWI reiterated the need for the Province’s continued recognition of the unique, and onerous, licensing and production requirements and conditions for growing, producing and selling 100% BC wine in the province and for which manufacturers’ direct delivery acknowledges.
CVA MEETING WITH FINANCE CANADA
Recently the CVA met with Finance Canada’s trade and tariff policy team to discuss Australia’s WTO challenge which claims that Canada’s excise duty exemption for wine made with 100% Canadian agricultural product violates international trade rules. The excise exemption on 100% Canadian wine has reduced taxes for small business and helped Canadian producers compete globally. The exemption has meant wineries are able to invest more in their businesses, create new jobs, in turn stimulating economic growth and development in Canada’s wine regions. Also highlighted was the need to end the excise escalator, which, since instituted, has led to trade complaints about the excise exemption, including from the EU and Australia.
August 18, 2018
COMMUNICATION DURING BC WILDFIRE
In spite of negative attention regarding BC wildfires, we encourage wineries to remain positive in your messaging! Use clear and current information from official sources only (see link: goo.gl/WCkLzj). Social media can be a powerful tool to combat misinformation or sensationalized headlines. Share real-time visual testimonials letting customers know you are open for business and providing information on the many activities and areas to enjoy throughout BC’s wine regions. Use the hashtag #BCWine (followed by your location), #ExploreBC and #realtime.
BC WILDFIRES AND SMOKE TAINT
Threat of smoke taint in our wine? Before answering media inquiries about smoke taint, it’s important to understand what it is, how to detect it and what BC wineries are doing to prevent it. Please see the BCWI’s Smoke Taint Key Messages and one-page results summary from the research UBCO study supported by the BC Wine Grape Council that includes messages for tasting room staff in answering customers questions (see link: BCWISmokeTaint).
BC LIQUOR CONTROL AND LICENSING BRANCH
The LCLB has been renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) to represent new additional responsibility of licensing and monitoring the private retail sale of non-medical cannabis in British Columbia. The branch will continue to regulate British Columbia’s liquor industry in addition to private non-medical cannabis retail sales.
AUSTRALIA REQUEST A WTO DISPUTE SETTLEMENT
Following a complaint launched on January 16, 2018, Australia has requested WTO consultations with Canada on wine sales related to long contested measures in BC, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia that include: wine-in-grocery; federal excise tax exemption; direct delivery and liquor board markup. The CVA reports that Global Affairs Canada suggests Australia is open to further discussions with Canada, and with a willingness to engage, appears willing to delay the appointment of Panel. The BCWI continues to engage the provincial government on this, and other trade matters, and to coordinate with the CVA in ensuring the BC wine industry is protected and well represented in the ongoing discussions and negotiations.
June 26, 2018
BUSINESS TECHNICAL ADVISORY PANEL (LIQUOR POLICY) REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Last week, liquor policy advisor Mark Hicken presented government with a report and recommendations that aim to improve efficiency and outcomes in business interaction between government and BC’s liquor industry. Hicken chaired a panel of industry representatives that included the BC Wine Institute Director David Wilson (Mission Hill Family Estate Winery) to provide recommendations that reflected industry consensus.
While the panel offered 24 recommendations, the report contains specific recommendations to support the BCWI-lead industry collaborative priorities including. See link
• Eliminate the current management conflict of interest at the BC LDB between BC Liquor Stores and LDB Wholesale
• Review LDB terms of providing greater benefit for consumers and for industry
• LDB retail prices are not transparent with changes are introduced without proper notice or consultation
• Expand and improve transparent LDB data market reporting
Also recommended was continued government support for initiatives backing “direct-to-consumer” sales allowing producers to sell their products to customers located in other Canadian provinces in support of which the BCWI has provided a letter to Premier Horgan. See link
Although government has not yet committed to implementing the recommendations, it has committed to evaluating the recommendations in the coming months. We are encouraged by government’s commitment to support our industry and look forward to engaging with them further in the coming months to explore the implementation of these recommendations.
For more information about the report announcement, see link.
June 20, 2018
APRIL BC WINE MONTH RESULTS
In response to the February 2018 AGLC BC wine boycott, the BCWI – with funding support from the BC Ministries of Agriculture and Tourism, Arts and Culture, delivered a provincial-wide campaign to showcase BC wine in the province. The campaign contributed to April 2018 BC VQA provincial market share up 8% over this time last year, reaching an all-time high of 18.3% for the rolling twelve months. BC VQA cases sales were over 1.5 million for the first time over the same period. Link
BCWI members are reminded to register for the AGM, 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at the Delta Hotels Grand Okanagan Resort (with option to join the Wine Industry Symposium as per below). Regular business will include introduction of returning and new acclaimed directors: Small Winery Category; Christa-Lee McWatters Bond, Chairman (Evolve Cellars, Summerland) & Charlie Baessler (Corcelettes Estate Winery, Keremeos); Medium Winery Category, Erik Fisher (Monte Creek Ranch Winery, Kamloops); and Large Winery Category, Josie Tyabji (Arterra Wines Canada, various locations). Full AGM package will be mailed to members in advance. Link
BCWI & CVA SYMPOSIUM & AGM
Industry is invited to attend the Wine Industry Symposium and Industry Reception and Awards Dinner, Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at the Delta Hotels Grand Okanagan Resort (Kelowna). Also during the day will be the BCWI and CVA members-only AGMs. Link
DIRECT-TO-CUSTOMER & CANADIAN FREE TRADE SUPPORT
It is vitally important that you help spread the word to consumers to place pressure both on provincial governments and on the Alcoholic Beverages Working Group to ensure a recommendation to implement Direct-to-Consumer shipping is included in its report. In this uncertain international trade environment, opening provincial borders would have a positive impact on this country’s economy. You can assist by sending an online letter to your provincial representative and help raise the profile of this important consumer choice and free trade issue (Visit actnow.freemygrapes.ca)
CANADA CANNABIS ACT UPDATE
The CVA provided the following update: Yesterday, Bill C-45 (The Cannabis Act) was passed by the Senate on a vote of 52-29, with opposition coming from Conservative Senators. The Government’s Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, Bill Blair, estimates that legal sales of cannabis will begin in September 2018. The exact date is subject to discussion and agreement by provinces and territories in the coming weeks.
The Cannabis Act will allow for the sales of fresh cannabis, dried cannabis, cannabis oil and seeds and plants for personal cultivation. It does not allow for the sales of edibles and concentrates in 2018, which will be permitted in 2019 via regulation. The minimum legal age at which cannabis can be purchased is 18 federally (with provinces being permitted to set a higher age) and the federally mandated public possession limit is 30 grams.
The Bill also unveiled serious restrictions on promotions and advertising, as well as a requirement for cannabis to be sold in plain packaging. Restrictions include a ban on sponsorship and inducements, any advertising that could appeal to youth, and promotions that are not informational or based on brand, price or availability.
May 28, 2018
US WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION (WTO) DISPUTE SETTLEMENT PANEL
On May 25, 2018, the United States requested a WTO Dispute Settlement Panel (DSP), following a second WTO complaint tabled last fall, over what it perceives as BC’s unfair rules regarding wine sales in the province’s grocery stores. Link
Prior to the Panel announcement, the BCWI met with senior federal and provincial government officials in Victoria to discuss ongoing trade issues (WTO, NAFTA, etc.), where the BCWI remained resolute in safeguarding the 60 industry off-site retail appointments/licences established prior to the original NAFTA negotiations and that were secured with markup and tariff reductions resulting in a massive US trade surplus for US wine in Canada. Uniform and consistent industry oversight of the 60 BC wine industry farm distribution channel appointments/licences continues to remain vital for fair and equitable market access for ALL 100% BC wines, especially the smallest of producers who have difficulty accessing and providing supply and distribution to mainstream channels. The BCWI further asserts that regardless of the outcome of this or any other trade challenge, the BCWI BC VQA Wine store operating agreement governs our commitment that only certified 100% BC product be sold.
SECOND CALL: BCWI BOARD OF DIRECTORS CALL FOR NOMINATIONS
BCWI member wineries are reminded that nominations for BC Wine Institute Board of Directors election close Friday, June 08, 2018 with the following directors running for re-election for the open seats: Large Winery, Josie Tyabji (Arterra Wines Canada, various locations); Medium Winery, Erik Fisher (Monte Creek Ranch Winery, Kamloops) and Small Winery, Christa-Lee McWatters Bond, Chairman (Evolve Cellars, Summerland). For an Election Information Package, please contact: TDeman@WineBC.com
Please ensure your calendars are marked for July 10, 2018 for the BC Wine Institute Annual General Meeting at Delta Hotels Grand Okanagan Resort (1310 Water Street, Kelowna). Details to follow soon, including information on the Wine Industry Symposium program and the Awards Dinner co-hosted with Canadian Vintners Association on the same day.