If you've been following the wine news in Canada lately, you may know that the federal government may allow the citizens of the country to transport wine across provincial boundaries. Currently, due to a law enacted shortly after the end of Canadian prohibition in the 1920s, alcohol can only cross provincial lines under the authority of liquor control boards.
The average Canadian didn't know this law even existed as it is rarely mentioned.
So if you have been bringing a bottle from BC to Alberta (or any other interprovince situation), you've been acting contrary to the law. This prohibition has been a substantial roadblock for many small wineries who would like to sell to their fans that visit in person or are on their customer lists, no matter where they're from. While control boards don't bother with Joe Consumer, they are known to bring pressure on producers they suspect are shipping into their jurisdictions on behalf of customers.
I said "may" because Bill C-311 was scheduled for final reading (and vote) and had all party support in the House this week. But then, strangely, the official opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) began what appeared to be a filibuster. Depending on who you talk to, they did it either deliberately, mistakenly or stupidly or a combination of all three. It looked liked the bill would die on the order paper and not reappear until the late fall. But a couple backroom moves and an apology by the NDP allowed the bill to be put back on this session's agenda and the NDP assured the nation through Minority Leader Nathan Cullen that the NDP would support the bill in the next go-round. Dan Albas' private member's initiative looks like it will pass.
Each province's liquor control board will decide how to allow a personal exemption. There could be some wide variance on amounts and frequency. And they'll do it reluctantly. In fact, BC's Control and Licensing was the only board that expressed support for this bill.
Social media has played a major role in creating a wave of support. #BCwinechat, a Twitter hashtag, can give you a sense of the passion involved in this crusade. For even more background, also check out #freemygrapes, the battle cry of a national advocacy movement to have restrictive wine laws changed.
We here at Black Cloud have been waiting for this since we started. Our philosophy from the start included having any Canadian of legal age be able to order our wine anywhere they may be in the country. We have received many requests from fans across the nation and we are ready to ship on day one. If you'd like to stay current on this issue, sign up for our quarterly newsletter in the sidebar of this blog.
We're hoping that very soon we'll have unfettered access to our national market. Something that hasn't been seen in over 80 years.