BC Reforms Wine Laws


Wine Tasting Program

This week, the British Columbia provincial government announced some wine law reforms to continue to open things up and update laws, many of which date back to Prohibition.

It’s one small step for the wine industry but is probably feeling like one giant leap for the Liquor board, but even small victories are welcome in this wine land where public and private co-mingle.

Among the reforms:

  • Private liquor stores can now set up shop next door to government stores. Previously, there was a 1km minimum limit unless the general manager was willing to waive the rule.
  • Independent wine stores and VQA wine stores are included in a category of wine stores that are now considered licensees. What does this mean, you ask? Basically, it makes everyone subject to the same regulator. Wholesale prices won’t be affected, and no new licenses will be granted at least at this time.
  • Breweries and distillers can now more freely operate tasting rooms.
  • Small or mid sized wineries (and breweries and such) can now have a direct relationship with up to three retail establishments (e.g., bar, restaurant, private liquor store).
  • And, last but definitely not least, the provincial government has appointed Herb Leroy as “Wine Envoy”, tasking him with helping to open up interprovincial wine shipping laws. And it looks like Herb is quick to get going. At least he’s updated his LinkedIn account to state Wine Envoy as his current job.

To get down to the nitty gritty and a sense of the ridiculousness posed when these laws were not yes passed, hop on over the Mark Hicken’s Wine Law website.


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