John Szabo’s Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES February 6th, 2021

Petition to allow Canadian wines to be shipped into any province, and VINTAGES Smart Buys

by John Szabo, with notes from David Lawrason, Michael Godel and Sara d’Amato

Love BC reds, Nova Scotia sparkling, or Québec craft brews, but can’t find them here in Ontario? This week’s report contains an important petition to allow interprovincial shipping of Canadian wine, beer and spirits. If you believe that you should be able to have any Canadian product shipped directly from any other province to your front door, we hope you’ll sign the petition and have your voice heard. Direct-to-consumer sales have become the lifeblood of small local wineries in the last year, yet your government liquor monopoly wants to choke off all out of province revenue streams (while at the same time not listing those wines, or charging you the same import duties as if the wine came from a foreign country). BC MP Dan Albas has proposed a clever workaround; read on for more and to sign the petition. As for wines already in the province, the WineAlign Crü has assembled the customary list of smart buys from the Vintages February 6th release. The twin themes are Italian classics, of which we have included a trio of central-northern reds (including a memorable picotener, a grape in the nebbiolo family grown in Piedmont), as well as Ontario Award Winners. For the latter, we direct you instead to our infinitely more comprehensive Guide to Canada’s Best compiled late last fall. At least you can have Ontario wine shipped right to your Ontario address.

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Only 6 cases left! – 3 MIXED and 3 ALL RED

Dan Albas, Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, proposes to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act to allow interprovincial shipping of Canadian-made alcoholic products.

In what would be a very clever work around and avoid the far more complicated task of amending (or re-interpreting) the Constitution, B.C. conservative MP Dan Albas has tabled instead a private member’s bill to amend the Canada Post Corporation act to allow interprovincial shipping of alcohol. “This enactment amends the Canada Post Corporation Act to provide that the Corporation shall not refuse to provide a postal service for the collection, transmission and delivery, direct to consumers, from one province to another, of beer, wine or spirits,” the bill’s summary reads.

(See here for the current byzantine Canada post regulations for shipping “intoxicating beverages”.)

The bill, which Albas has dubbed “buy, ship and sip”, received a first reading in the House of Commons back in December. If passed, “the bill would effectively bypass provincial liquor monopolies and their outdated rules”, says Albas.

As it stands, only four provinces allow direct-to-consumer alcohol shipments into their jurisdictions: B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia. “Some provinces have eliminated personal importation limits on alcohol, some provinces have not, so really there is a patchwork of rules right now across Canada,” says Jasmin Guénette, vice-president of national affairs with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Ontario is among the provinces that have not eliminated personal limits.

Albas has already received a letter of support from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. “Like many sectors of the economy since the beginning of the pandemic, many small brewers, vintners, and distillers have had to make considerable efforts to sell more of their products online in order to generate revenues. As a result, being able to access a wider range of customers across the country is now vital to their survival,” the letter stated.

“Allowing small producers to ship across the country would enable Canadians to safely access their products while directly supporting local businesses and jobs.”

The electronic petition needs just 500 signatures so it can be certified and presented by Albas. It will be closed for signatures on February 14th at 2:08pm EDT.

“We, the undersigned, Citizens and Residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to support and pass Bill C-260 entitled ‘An Act to Amend the Canada Post Corporation Act’, introduced by Mr. Albas, the Member of Parliament for Central Okanagan–Similkameen–Nicola, so that Canadians can order the wine, craft beer and spirits they wish from Canadian producers, and be able to have those products shipped directly to them by Canada Post and support this important industry at a time when they need us the most.”

Sign the petition here.

VINTAGES Buyer’s Guide February 6th: Whites

Domäne Wachau 2019 Terrassen Federspiel Grüner Veltliner, Wachau, Austria ($17.95) Noble Estates Wines & Spirits Inc.
John Szabo – Good, clean, classic and textbook fun here from the exceptional cooperative Domaine Wachau, representing almost 1/3 of this historic growing region, and at a very high level. Would that every $18 white could taste like this.
Sara d’Amato – Federspiel is a lighter, fresher style of grüner veltliner and this incarnation fits the description to a T. Zesty, unoaked and notably peppery with a slightly chalky texture. A well-priced, distinctive and refreshing mid-week pick-me-up.


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That’s all for this report. See you around the next bottle.

John Szabo, MS

Use these quick links for access to all of our Top Picks in the New Release. Non-Premium members can select from all release dates 30 days prior.

Szabo’s Smart Buys
Michael’s Mix
Lawrason’s Take
Sara’s Sommelier Selections

New Release and VINTAGES Preview

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