BC Wine Institute September 7, 2017
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For Immediate Release
September 7, 2017

KELOWNA, BC - The consumer-led  Free My Grapes movement which lobbies for the free trade of 100 per cent Canadian wine across all provinces is getting further support from the BC Wine Institute today.

Founder of Free My Grapes, Shirley-Ann George, provided recent comments about the consumer campaign. "We are pleased the BC Wine Institute is supporting consumers who are trying to make this important change across Canada. The wine industry is growing across Canada. We live in a one-click-buys-everything world. For governments to try to deny the direct access to Canadian wines is both wrong and futile."

Farmer and retired school teacher, Karen Spencer, agrees that the current red tape makes no sense. "I live in Shellbrook, Saskatchewan with a brother in BC and I would love to legally ship my favorite BC wine back home. We complain about Trump and NAFTA but just within our own borders we are acting punitively by not allowing interprovincial free trade." Spencer added, "By opening our borders we are stronger together and it's time our government and our politicians realize it."

"A winery in Ontario can ship to BC, but a BC winery can't ship to Ontario? Tell me how that's fair," said small winery owner Ian MacDonald of Liquidity Winery in Okanagan Falls. "It hurts Canadian consumers and our small businesses when you don't live and practice free trade values."

"Not many people realize that only British Columbia, Manitoba and Nova Scotia allow for the interprovincial free flow of wine shipping without penalty," said Emeryll Gumapas a young lawyer living in Calgary, Alberta. "I'm pleased to add my voice to a cause that will hopefully some day allow me the benefit of purchasing Canadian wine from anywhere in Canada."

"Consumers alongside our small business wineries are getting more frustrated with the red tape and lack of consumer freedoms to simply trade and ship wine across Canada," noted Miles Prodan, CEO of the BC Wine Institute. "Not only do local wineries often hear from consumers at their tasting rooms, our organization hears from visitors from across Canada - particularly on social media - about the current trade barriers."

The Free My Grapes lobby offers numerous opportunities to participate:

  1. Formal Voice: A new call to action allows both consumers and small businesses to express their wish for change. Send a letter to your provincial government representative. Letters available online or on Facebook.
  2. Social Voice:
    1. Add your voice on Facebook and Twitter @FreeMyGrapes
    2. Guest blog your personal opinions. Contact Free My Grapes for further details.


  • On June 28, 2012 the federal government enacted Bill C-311 which removed the federal criminal offence for your constituents to order/ship wine across provincial borders within the limits and legislation set by provinces. Although this was a huge step forward to reducing interprovincial trade barriers, in regard to Canadian wine there is still much work to be done on the provincial level.


  • The current legal and regulatory framework unreasonably limits the freedom of choice for millions of Canadian citizens and creates inequitable access to Canadian products. Only British Columbians, Manitobans and Nova Scotians have the ability to order, ship and recieve their favorite Canadian wines without a financial or legal penalty.


  • A recent Nanos poll showed that 93% of Canadians support the personal transport of alcohol across provincial borders (Nanos July 2017).


  • Only 19% of Canadians have easy access to out-of-province Canadian wines. This means that 81% of Canadians do not have the same free and equal access to Canadian products. Only British Columbians, Manitobans and Nova Scotians have unlimited access to receive Canadian. The ability to order and ship your favourite Canadian products directly is limited to 19% of Canadians.


  • Update to existing laws and regulations would allow consumers to buy, carry, or use e-commerce to order and ship reasonable quantities of wine across provincial borders for personal use.


  • Changes to legislation will not only benefit consumers, but also the entire Canadian economy. For every dollarspent on Canadian wine in Canada, $3.42in Gross Domestic Product is generated across the country. The potential impact on the Canadian economy - as a whole - is huge. 


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