B.C., Ontario and Quebec strike deal making it easier to buy their wines

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Fed up with not being able to buy B.C. wines in Ontario? A solution — at least a partial one — may be at hand.

The premiers of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec announced an agreement Friday to make it easier to purchase Canadian wines that aren’t made in the province where you live.

“We have not freed the grapes completely,” B.C. Premier Christy Clark said. “But this has unshackled them.”

The sales will continue to be overseen and regulated by each province’s respective liquor distribution agencies: B.C.’s Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB), the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ), the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).

But the goal is to make it easier for consumers to order wine from outside their province online. They could then pick it up at either their local distributor or have it shipped directly to their door.

The changes also intend to make it easier for wineries to be listed with the liquor distributors in other provinces.
The agreement includes a marketing push to promote Canada’s important wine regions.

B.C. has negotiated earlier agreements to get more access for its wines in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia.
Friday’s announcement is part of Ontario’s gradual effort to offer alcohol consumers more choice, including expanding sales to some grocery stores.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and B.C. Premier Christy Clark both told reporters Thursday it was important to get a deal done so other Canadians could enjoy their provinces’ products.

Premiers in Whitehorse are discussing a broader and more ambitious internal trade deal. But because alcohol liberalization is so complicated across the provinces, beer and wine trade wasn’t necessarily expected to be included in an agreement, should one be reached.

Saskatchewan and Alberta are in discussions of their own over an Alberta decision to place an extra tax on small breweries from out-of-province.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall told reporters on his way into Friday’s meeting that he and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley spoke Thursday, and the matter has been referred to their officials to resolve.

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B.C., Ontario and Quebec strike deal making it easier to buy their wines

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