May 16, 2018
SCC COMEAU UPDATE
With the Supreme Court ruling on Comeau behind us, the focus now is ensuring the federal government, provinces and media understand the importance of the federal and provincial/ territorial Alcoholic Beverages Working Group (ABWG). With the ABWG report to be tabled by July 1, 2018. Time is tight, but given the magnitude of the opportunity, we ask you to add your voice with an email or mail via a pre-addressed letter to Hon. Bruce Ralston, the BC Minister responsible for Internal Trade. See link.
BC LCLB PROVINCIAL MANUFACTURING LIQUOR INSPECTOR
Since April, 2017, Randy Brown has been leading the training of inspectors across the province, and is the single contact point for manufacturers and the Liquor Distribution Branch. He works independently under the direction of the Deputy General Manager, Compliance and Enforcement and as a Special Provincial Constable, Compliance & Enforcement Division, is a key contact and advisor for the compliance and enforcement division, policy planning and communication and licensing divisions of the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch. Recently, Randy and his inspectors have been focused on manufacture’s Special Event Permit (SEP) (i.e. BCWI’s Bloom, etc.) to ensure compliance with Serving it Right certification, proof of manufacturer licence, etc. For further information, please contact: Randy.G.Brown@gov.bc.ca
CVA VINTNERS DAY ON PARLIAMENT HILL
The BCWI participated in the CVA’s annual Vintners Day on the Hill last week that kicked off with a hosted Wine Caucus dinner for MPs and CVA Board members at the Parliamentary Restaurant and a Canadian Wine Reception. The annual lobby day provided an opportunity to meet with more than 20 senior decision makers, including MPs, Senators, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, etc. and focused on three main elements: educate and brand wine as a high value-added agri-food product; build support for an interprovincial winery-to-consumer delivery system; and build knowledge about the growth of import competition in Canada resulting from free trade agreements. The two days of activities were highlighted by the 12th annual Canadian Wine Experience Reception on Parliament Hill, held in the Speaker’s Salon and hosted by House Speaker Geoff Regan and CVA Chair David Wilson (Mission Hill) that included BC wines from Blasted Church, Dirty Laundry, Mission Hill, Nk’Mip, Poplar Grove, Quails’ Gate, Tantalus and Time.
April 20, 2018
SUPREME COURT OF CANADA’S RULING R. v. GERARD COMEAU
Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling states that Section 121 does not impose absolute free trade across Canada. Specifically, the Court determined that while Section 121 prohibits laws whose main purpose is to prevent the movement of goods across provincial borders, total unrestricted free interprovincial trade would have far-reaching effects on provincial matters such as agricultural supply management, public health prohibitions, environmental controls, etc. Accordingly, the Court determined that Section 121 allows provinces to enact measures to protect these matters, as long as their main purpose is not simply to prevent the importation of goods from other provinces. While disappointed with the outcome, the CVA and BCWI will continue to collaborate with industry in advocating with all levels of governments to allow interprovincial wine delivery from wineries to consumers. See link.
BCWI WINE & FOOD TOURISM STRATEGY 2016 -2018
BC has never been in a better position to grow its wine and food tourism market. Wine and food tourism is on the rise globally with award-winning wines, amazing cuisine and incredible destinations, BC has the potential to evolve into a go-to destination for wine and culinary tourists. In engagement and alignment with Destination BC, Destination Canada, regional destination marketing organizations and wine and food tourism providers at all levels, the strategy outlines BCWI’s plans for doing just that. See link.
April 13, 2018
INDUSTRY PLEBISCITE FOR WINES OF MARKED QUALITY REGULATION AMENDMENTS
BC Ministry of Agriculture has announced full implementation of the remaining BCWA Industry Plebiscite Results including four new Geographic Indications (Thompson Valley, Shuswap, Lillooet and Kootenays) and a flat fee for the BC VQA program for small wineries (see link: goo.gl/S8vkgR). The provincial-wide industry vote was based on BC Wine Appellation Task Force recommendations representing the interests of all 100% BC grape wine producers, to better meet the demands of today’s market conditions. Broad adoption of the BCWA Plebiscite is the result of ongoing advocacy & lobbying efforts of the BCWI and individual wineries. Special thanks to BC Agriculture Minister Alana Popham for her ongoing support of certified 100% BC wine.
PROMOTE APRIL BC WINE MONTH
The BCWI, with the Government of BC and Destination BC funding, are encouraging BC residents to buy BC wines for April’s BC Wine Month (see link: goo.gl/nmkah9). BC wineries are encouraged to take advantage of an industry toolkit: POS materials, social media images, events calendar, etc. For more information, please contact: TNykilchuk@WineBC.com
COMEAU CASE VERDICT APRIL 19, 2018
The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) will issue a ruling on Her Majesty the Queen v. Gerard Comeau on Thursday April 19, 2018 at 9:45 AM (EST). Legal counsel for all intervenors, will participate in a SCC lock-up and will be provided with approximately 45 minutes to review the decision before it is released to the public. Given the importance of this issue, the BCWI is working with the CVA and other regional associations on key industry, consumer and media messages, FAQs, etc. communication materials to ensure an immediate response to the SCC ruling.
March 29, 2018
APRIL BC WINE MONTH
The BC government has ramped up its support for the industry by proclaiming April as BC Wine Month: “B.C.’s wine industry is made up of family-run vineyards and wineries that have chosen farming and wine-making as their passion and their profession. We are proud to shine a spotlight on the work they do and the wine they make. Proclaiming an entire month to B.C. wines is a wonderful way to celebrate and promote their work”. Industry is invited to join a kick-off celebration with Premiere John Horgan & Agriculture Minister Lana Popham, 3:30 PM, Tuesday, April 3 at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, Oliver.
RSVP to: Marlene.Behrens@gov.bc.ca
BCWI & OKANAGAN COLLEGE MOU AGREEMENT
The BCWI and Okanagan College have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that outlines enhanced collaboration to provide a broad range of opportunities for partnerships, projects and applied research in wine and related industries (see link: goo.gl/f4mprk). As an example, at the recent BC Wine Industry Insight Forum, Dr. Svan Lembke and Professor Lee Cartier, researchers at the Okanagan School of Business, presented outcomes from their recent research projects, highlighting new opportunities for BC wineries to grow the domestic market. Lembke and Cartier are working on a project that aims to describe how the wine habits of Baby Boomers and Generation X differ from Generation Y (often referred to as Millennials) and are co-ordinating one of the most extensive surveys of its type to examine generational differences toward wine purchases.
CVA ACTION ON DTC
Canadian Vintners Association (CVA) met with federal and provincial members of the Alcoholic Beverages Working Group (ABWG) March 14 to present options to support a legislated interprovincial direct-to-consumer (DTC) wine sales system across Canada, including the legal issues surrounding internal and international trade. The meeting provided an opportunity to review DTC options for wine as part of the ABWG recommendations, which are due July 1, and discuss opportunities to build political support.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has stated that the US is opposed to discriminatory wine sales practices in Canada and that he believes that this issue can be resolved but will be one of the last issues sorted out in a NAFTA deal. In response to these developments, the CVA has been in contact with negotiators responsible for the wine file at Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and they have informed us that there has been no discussion on wine with the US since Round 7 in Mexico. While the US comments may not be of great concern to federal decisionmakers, the fact that wine continues to be identified as an issue means that the CVA and BCWI must place greater focus on ensuring that federal and provincial Ministers, officials and elected representatives understand that the Canadian wine industry cannot risk being an “11th hour” trade off to appease the unreasonable demands of the US wine industry.
UPDATE ON AUSTRALIA’S WTO COMPLAINT
Working closely with the CVA in preparation, GAC has engaged in a one-day dispute settlement consultation in response to the Australian Government’s January 12 WTO complaint. GAC was able to address a number of issues and misunderstandings. Additional informal discussions are being scheduled in the coming months (outside of the WTO process) on remaining concerns in an effort to find an acceptable resolution and avoid a WTO dispute settlement panel.
March 2, 2018
ALBERTA BC WINE BOYCOTT
Late last week Alberta suspended its ban on the importation of BC wine. In the subsequent statement (see link: https://goo.gl/Q5R11B), BCWI noted that our intent to challenge the constitutionality of the Alberta BC wine ban no doubt had influence on the Alberta government’s decision to suspend the prohibition. It is also widely believed that BCWI actions and statements, and the media focus on this ban, has garnered the attention of the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) given the ban’s direct relevance to the SCC’s pending decision in the Comeau Case. See link.
Given the pending SCC decision, the BCWI will not proceed any further at this time with our Alberta Application. That decision can be revisited should Alberta move to re-impose the ban before the Comeau decision is released.
SUPREME COURT OF CANADA COMEAU CASE UPDATE
It is not a coincidence that as the media attention surrounding the Alberta ban reached its peak, the SCC notified all parties to the case to respond by March 01 to indicate whether they would like a media lock up for the release of the Comeau decision. The fact that the ban prohibited interprovincial commerce based solely upon the province of origin as a retaliatory trade measure will have underscored for the SCC the value of restraints on provincial powers in this area. In prominent cases it is common for the SCC to allow the media and parties to review the decision in a lockup early on the day the decision is released, before it is released to the public. It should be noted that sometimes lockup notices are received a few weeks before the decision is released and sometimes well before.
The BCWI and CVA remain concerned by this interprovincial trade dispute and have worked, and will continue to work, together to actively alert all federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Trade and the Alcoholic Beverage Working Group (ABWG) about the seriousness of the ban, and the immediate development and implementation of a legislated interprovincial direct-to-consumer wine system under the Canada Free Trade Agreement.
BC WINE INDUSTRY LONG-TERM STRATEGIC PLAN
In preparation for the development of the BC Wine Industry Long-term Strategic Plan, the BCWI has established an Industry Task Group to engage industry stakeholders to define and document the specific goals, deliverables, features, functions, tasks, deadlines, and ultimately, costs of a long-term strategic plan for the BC wine industry. The project was identified by the BCWI Board of Directors and funded by the BC Ministry of Agriculture. The goal of the task group is to provide the BCWI Board of Directors with recommendations for the terms of reference for a long-term strategic plan to meet stakeholder requirements that are in the best interests of the industry as a whole. The task group activities will include facilitating stakeholder input through regional town hall meetings and an online survey. Facilitating the process is Honore Comfort, Founder and Principal of the Artemis Group (see link: https://goo.gl/fr9ycL). Chairing the Task Group is Ezra Cipes, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Kelowna (see link), with other members including:
Maggie Anderson, BC Wine Institute
Marcus Ansems, Daydreamer Wines, Naramata
Lynn Bremmer, Chair, BC Wine Grape Council
Christine Coletta, Okanagan Crush Pad, Summerland
Erik Fisher, Monte Creek Ranch Winery, Kamloops
Mike Nierychlo, Emandare Vineyard, Duncan
Josie Tyabji, Arterra Wines, Oliver
February 22, 2018
BCWI RESPONSE TO BC WINE BAN SUSPENSION
Please find below a statement we have released to the media based on the Alberta government’s suspension of the BC wine ban. We expect to hear from the AGLC formally tomorrow and will be in touch with additional detail:
February 22, 2018 – The BC Wine Institute yesterday notified the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) of its intent to challenge the constitutionality of the Alberta BC wine ban and seek an injunction to end it. Today, we welcome the Alberta government’s decision to suspend the prohibition. However, uncertainty remains. We remain concerned that any provincial government believes it has the constitutional authority to impose trade bans on Canadian products based on their place of origin.
Over the course of the next few days, we will confer with legal counsel and our members to determine our path forward. We are, however, thrilled that Alberta consumers once again have the choice to purchase and enjoy BC wines, as they have long done.
February 5, 2018
POTENTIAL ALBERTA BOYCOTT OF BC WINE
The BCWI has responded, including various media interviews, to the recent potential of an Alberta boycott of BC wine. See link. (CHECK NEW LINK)
In addition, we’ve been in contact with BC’s Attorney General, Ministry of Agriculture and the Premier’s office to emphasize the importance of the situation and its impact on BC Wine Institute’s ongoing work to overcome long-standing barriers for trade into Alberta, including interprovincial direct-to-customer shipping of 100% BC wine.
BC’S APPROACH TO CANNABIS LEGISLATION
The provincial government has announced a private/public retail model for non-medical cannabis sales in BC. The LDB will be the public retailer and sole online retailer of non-medical cannabis for the province. Cannabis retail stores will be standalone stores, separate from liquor stores. See link.
REVITALIZING THE AGRICULTURAL LAND RESERVE (ALR) & AGRICULTURAL LAND COMMISSION
B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture announced the formation of an independent committee to consider the best approaches to revitalizing the ALR and the ALC. The Minister’s Advisory Committee is seeking views to deliver recommendations. See link.
REMINDER: BC WINE INDUSTRY INSIGHT FORUM
The BC Wine Institute, BC Wine Authority, BC Wine Grape Council and the BC Grapegrowers’ Association are pleased to host the inaugural BC Wine Industry Insight Forum. The forum is an opportunity to hear from industry experts on issues that affect, and will drive, our collective success. March 13, 2018, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (lunch included) at the Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre.
NAFTA ROUND 6 CONCLUDES IN MONTREAL
Round 6 of NAFTA renegotiations took place in Montreal January 21 through 28, 2018. CVA was present on the ground in Montreal and met with the team at Global Affairs Canada to ensure that the message is clear that US imports are doing well in the Canadian market and that the US wine trade surplus with Canada has increased by C$450.6 million since CUSFTA was ratified in 1989. CVA continues to work closely with Global Affairs Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on this file with the BCWI in regular communication with BC’s Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology, including a pending meeting with Minister Ralston.
January 26, 2018
BC WINE INDUSTRY INSIGHT FORUM
The BC Wine Institute, BC Wine Authority, BC Wine Grape Council and the BC Grapegrowers’ Association are pleased to host the inaugural BC Wine Industry Insight Forum. The forum is an opportunity to hear from industry experts on issues that affect, and will drive, our collective success. Topics will include Climate Change; Working Collaboratively – A Washington State producers perspective; Ministry of Agriculture update and focus for 2018/2019; and Research affecting the value chain – from vineyard to consumer. March 13, 2018, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (lunch included) at the Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre.
BCWI FISCAL 2019 OPERATIONAL PLAN
The BCWI Marketing Committee provided its final input to the BCWI’s Fiscal 2019 Advocacy, Communications and Marketing Operational Plan to deliver on the vision, mission, core values, visionary goals and strategic business objectives as approved by the BCWI Board of Directors. The plan’s strategies are next reviewed by the BCWI Board in February, then presented to members at the March 13, 2018 BC Wine Industry Insights Forum. ADD LINK
BC WINE INDUSTRY LONG TERM STRATEGIC PLAN
Included in the Fiscal 2019 Operational Plan is the Board-prioritized objective for development of a long-term strategic plan for the BC wine industry. Conception of the plan will include facilitated industry consultations over the coming months to establish a baseline understanding of the project’s scope and deliverables, the work required to complete the deliverables, and to ensure a common understanding of the project’s scope among all stakeholders. Input from all industry sectors will be crucial to the successful development of a long-term strategic plan to position our industry well into the next decade. More details in due course.
QUESTIONNAIRE: IDENTIFY REGULATORY & TRADE BARRIERS
The Government of British Columbia would like to hear from BC businesses and other stakeholders regarding regulatory barriers in Canadian jurisdictions which hinder their ability to do business or work across Canada. The questionnaire should take 20 minutes to complete, depending on the number of sections you complete, and offers the BC wine industry the opportunity to emphasize the importance of direct-to-consumer shipping of BC wine across Canada. The closing date for the questionnaire is Friday, February 9, 2018.
January 17, 2018
SPECIAL ADVISOR ON BC LIQUOR POLICY
On November 6, BC’s new government announced it had retained wine industry lawyer and expert Mark Hicken and would act upon on a campaign promise to create a beer, wine and spirits panel. Reporting through Attorney General David Eby, Hicken is leading an outreach to BC’s beer, wine and spirits stakeholders, including the manufacturing, retail and hospitality sectors to provide recommendations to government on ways to support BC’s industry.
In meeting with Hicken recently, BCWI Board of Directors emphasized issues critical to the continued success of the BC wine industry, including: entrench the world-wide accepted practice of direct delivery for 100% local wine; safeguard the pre-NAFTA 60 industry off-site retail licences – including BCWI’s BC VQA Wine stores; better access to, and transparent pricing, at BC Liquor Stores; and BC winery satellite tasting rooms. The BCWI also advocates for the Appellation Task Group recommendations of which only three of the 10 recommendations have been implemented to date.
To ensure alignment with other industry stakeholders, BCWI also spearheaded a collaborative process to develop an industry stakeholder position paper for Hicken focused on issues of mutual concern, including: corporate structure, governance and retail pricing policies of the BC LDB, and the potential impact of cannabis retail on provincial liquor sales (see link https://goo.gl/tHjTKz).
BCWI COMMUNICATIONS AND CONTENT DIRECTOR
Pleased to announce the return from mat leave of Maggie Anderson. Maggie takes the role of newly created Communications & Content Director and will be responsible for crafting, sharing and protecting the British Columbia Wine Institute and Wines of British Columbia brand, image and reputation through key messaging and communications channels with all audiences, reporting to the CEO. This will be achieved through the development and implementation of annual strategic communication plans and content marketing plans for BCWI audiences: members, stakeholders, government, media, trade and consumers. Feel free to contact Maggie directly with any questions: MAnderson@WineBC.com; 250.762.9744 x113.
BC LCLB POLICY DIRECTIVES
Manufacturer Guided Tours: Directive announces changes to sampling during winery guided tours allowing patrons to access liquor from anywhere on the manufacturing property.
Special Event Permit Exemption: Announces a new policy that allows special event permit holders to apply for an exemption from donating event profits to charity. See link.
AUSTRALIA WTO CHALLENGE
Earlier this week, Australia issued a request for consultations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) about provincial liquor sales practices in four provinces (BC, ON, QC and NS) which they claim discriminate against Australian wines. While we know very little about the substance of the complaints raised by Australia, the Canadian Vintners Association will be working with the federal government to set a date to engage in further discussions with Australia as part of the WTO process.
It is important to understand that wine produced in Canada represent just 32% of total sales, while imports own 68% of our market. Over the past decade, imports have captured more than 75% of total wine sales growth in Canada. Australia is no exception. Australian wine imports represent 14% of all wine import volume to Canada, valued at FOB $221 million (10% of total import value).