Winemakers say proposed bill does little to help industry
Cowichan wineries are speaking out against Canadian and BC legislation that they say is not favourable to those making and producing the wine.
Averill Creek Vineyard Owner, Andy Johnston, told SunFM News that the current provincial laws that restrict him from shipping wine to other provinces are against his constitutional rights.
“It is a useless law, it is contradicted by the constitution, which as me being a Canadian farmer I am entitled to sell my product anywhere in Canada that I wish, but the provinces have deemed that they are above the constitution and say no we cannot ship across provincial borders.”
He said the laws were written over a hundred years ago and date back to the Prohibition in 1928.
Unsworth Vineyard GM Sarah Cosman agrees, she said the current laws don't fit in today's marketplace.
“If we are a winery, and we are of course in 2012 and we are trying to ship elsewhere out of province, we are not allowed to do it, because of laws that were put into place 100 years ago, it just seems very outdated to us.”
Johnston believes the provinces are holding on to these old rules because it allows them to benefit from provincial liquor taxes and control.
“Mostly it is because they are frightened that if they market becomes open, they won’t get their 120% markup that they are currently getting. So it is all to do with the liquor control board’s control of the market,”
The federal government is trying to pass a bill that would allow wine to be shipped across provincial borders for personal use but Jonhston said that even that bill doesn't do enough. Until he can sell his wine to a restaurant in Ontario with no provincial restrictions, the issue has not been solved.
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