Beaufort Vineyard and Estate Winery

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On shipping and the challenges faced by small BC wineries

 

Our online store is open 24/7 and can be accessed HERE. We are able to ship to the following Canadian provinces: AB, SK, MB, PE and NS. We cannot ship to ON, QC, NL, NB, NT, YT or NU.

We love sharing our wines. But sharing them outside of BC presents some major challenges, especially for small BC wineries like Beaufort. Not all provinces and territories allow for the free movement of privately purchased alcohol across their borders.

For example, BC wineries and wine principals who ship DtC (direct to consumer) in Ontario risk colossal fines and jail time both. On the flip side, BC residents can easily order wine from their favourite winery in Niagara. If this seems unfair, that’s because it is. Canadian wineries (and wine lovers) have effectively become pawns in the tit-for-tat arguments that have stymied interprovincial trade for decades.

Although the federal government paved the way for uninhibited interprovincial DtC shipping in Canada in 2019, some provinces have been dragging their heels. As with New Brunswick’s R v. Comeau, prohibition era liquor laws in Canada seem to require a pariah for provinces to engage with modern trade and consumer practices. Most BC wineries have decided that it’s not worth the risk.

It’s maddening for us, and incomprehensible to most consumers, that we cannot ship a case of wine to a BC wine lover in Ontario or Quebec, and yet, that same consumer can jump on Amazon and effectively order anything, from anywhere, and have it delivered to their door.  The official line in Ontario, for example, is that wine sold to an Ontario resident IN Ontario MUST be processed/sold through the LCBO, which means that it cannot come directly from a winery or liquor purveyor in another province.

Oh, and if you live in ON, QC, NL, NB, NT, YT or NU and ARE receiving wine shipments from other BC wineries, you might be scratching your head at all of this. Some (especially larger) BC wineries sell directly to the provincial liquor boards. This likely means there’s more leeway given to those wineries when they DtC ship to a province where they already have a market share. Alternatively, your favourite BC winery might just be getting lucky each time they ship your case across a provincial or territorial border…

As for US and international shipping, all wine shipped to the USA must come from an appropriately licensed winery. While some (again larger) BC wineries have agreements with US authorities (including the FDA), Beaufort does not. For now, we are unable to ship to the USA. International shipping brings with it the dual impediments of labelling requirements and customs duties. So sending wine to Ghana, Germany, Greece or Guatemala will almost always be a no-no for small to medium BC wineries.

We keep a close eye on developments regarding DtC alcohol shipping in Canada. Most BC wineries do. There are some efforts underway to overhaul these antiquated and unfair laws, but progress is slow, and the legislative work required is mind-boggling. We will be sure to provide an update as soon as there’s news to share.

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