Lose-lose deal for hospitality-tourism sector – Feb. 28, 2015

cheap voveran gel By Anthony Gismondi

The convergence of the 37th Vancouver International Wine Festival, the British Columbia governmenta��s controversial liquor reforms and VinExpoa��s 11th study on current trends in the international wine and spirits market is this weeka��s perfect storm.

The study, conducted in 28 wine-producing countries and on 114 wine and spirit consumer markets, reveals the most detailed and precise information on the global alcoholic beverage market. Prepared biannually on behalf of the VinExpo wine fair, the researchers are say from 2012-16, Canada will become the worlda��s fifth-largest wine consumer, behind China, the United States, Russia and Germany.

In light of that remarkable statement, one needs to look no further than this weeka��s Vancouver International Wine Festival to see the foundation of that growth. At the age of 37, it is the countrya��s biggest and best consumer wine show and proof positive of the British-based International Wine and Spirit Research findings.

It also begs the question what the B.C. government was thinking when it waded into reforming the provincea��s liquor laws, in essence reshaping the retail landscape and tilting the tables in favour of their monopoly stores and local producers (who are doing just fine) while effectively eviscerating the private retail sector and the import wine business.

The study goes on to say Canada will maintain its impressive growth rate with regard to wine consumption from 2012-16 (14.27 per cent), three times greater than the global average. The projected sales are to be in the $5.7 billion range by 2016. One wonders how B.C. will participate in all this new growth with both its hands tied behind its back. It likely wona��t unless increased sales of cheap, nameless, faceless brands is your idea of growth.

All reports from distributors suggest the new wholesale tax set to be instituted April 1 will result in a higher wine price for any wines local or imported that sell inside the heavily regulated retail sector over $15-$18. The top quest among reformists was to secure a wholesale price for the restaurant community and better access to more and better wines found by the private sector. That request has met a brick wall. Couple that with the predicted higher price of quality wine and B.C. restaurant wine lists are heading into the rich and famous territory in what is Ita��s a lose-lose proposition for the hospitality and tourism sector.

If there is still one bright light in the B.C. wine sector, ita��s the consumers who will be out in force this week at the festival. Their commitment to the culture of wine is undaunted and their growing knowledge is going to prove problematic for government if it continues down the path of higher taxes, lower quality and less selection.

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