BC wines to reach 21 million new customers online

British Columbia wines are about to get a big exposure boost, after the premiers of Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia came to an agreement to make it easier to sell wine across provincial borders.

At the 2016 Summer Meeting of Canada’s Premiers, Premiers Christy Clark, Kathleen Wynne and Philippe Couillard agreed to open up online wine ordering systems to include everything from the partnering provinces.

For BC, this means 21 million people in Quebec and Ontario will now have full access to BC wines on their respective liquor control agency’s websites, allowing them to find and purchase BC wine much easier.

“This is good news for Canadians who love BC wine, for BC wineries and the 10,000 British Columbians whose jobs depend on a strong and growing wine industry. It’s a good example of what Canada’s three largest provinces can achieve when we work together,” Clark said.

BC already allows other provinces to list their wines through the Liquor Distribution Branch website, and has built similar listing agreements with Nova Scotia,. Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

But this is the first time such BC wines will be so readily available to such a large group of potential customers.

It is not, however, a “free trade” agreement that will axe taxes for shipping wines out of province, a problem Clark has been trying to solve for years.

“We have not freed the grapes completely but they are freer,” Clark said.

Kim Pullen is the proprietor of Church and State Wines. He says the agreement is especially good news for BC’s small and medium-sized wineries, who rely much more on online sales to turn a profit.

“Inter-provincial shipping is really the savior for small and medium wineries,” he says.

Pullen said while the agreement is a step in the right direction, the best-case scenario for many BC wineries would be completely open borders.

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