It was a good day for wine. On National Wine Day, a crafted day perfect for social media, Canada announces a plan for selling wine, beer and cider in 300 grocery stores. There are currently 292 retail wine stores operating separately in grocery stores, and up to 150 of those could be converted to beer and wine outlets inside the stores with a shared checkout, still operated by the private wine companies.
I'm not sure if this is bad news for upscale wine stores which dot the Vancouver landscape, or if this just means more alcohol will be sold nationwide. Many in government feel this can bolster the tax base for the economy while giving Canadian growers other outlets to sell wine, beer and cider. I think it effects West Coast wineries who have large Canadian followings.
The timeline will ultimately be up to government but recommendations from Ed Clark, the former TD Bank executive turned premier's adviser on government assets, suggest that by 2025 Ontario could see beer and wine sold in 300 grocery stores, with a further 150 selling beer only.
Thursday's announcement also contained a handful of changes for the spirits, cider and fruit wine industries, but beyond those new measures, the province seems content to end alcohol liberalization there.
Wynne called it a "delicate balancing act" between the needs of the industry, its desire to grow, trade obligations and ensuring competitive prices.
"All of those balls were in the air as the (Clark) council did its work, and as I say, I think we've reached a good balance of all of those things," she said.
"We very intentionally didn't blow the system up because it works very well, because it allows for very good and competitively low prices for consumers."
This made me wonder if my favorite winery just to the south of Vancouver - Willamette Valley Vineyard in Oregon - will be part of the expanded wine sales in Canada. I certainly hope so. Many Oregon winemakers have large Canadian followings, and this is a positive for premium wines like Willamette Valley (WVVI) a publicly traded company. Best to reach out to CEO Jim Bernau there and get the skinny on how this will effect individual wineries and the associated demand.
Happy National Wine Day everyone. Cheers !!!!!
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