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******************************* WINNER OF THREE MAJOR SPIFFY AWARDS FOR WINE SATIRE !!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

GOSH Wine News Service closes until Jan 10, 2010

TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) – GOSH wishes to advise its subscribers that it will not be publishing over the upcoming Holiday Period. We will return January 10, 2010, with more meaningful truths and deceptions.


GOSH, though not reporting over this period, will continue to work night and day on your behalf, covering the Ontario wine industry for all of its malfeasances. Brett Grimsby and Miffed Mole are currently investigating over a half dozen stories which will all play out over the next few months.


Remember, GOSH was FIRST in breaking the news this year on –


  • The LCBO sponsorship of VANOC 2010
  • Tiger Woods buying a winery and making "Cellared in Canada" wines
  • The public awareness of the stretch water component of CIC wines
  • Re-branding Cellared in Canada wines.
  • The LCBO's new red wine policy for summer.
  • The impact of PETG (People for the Ethical Treatment of Grapes]
  • Prince Charles endorsing a CIC wine named "Camilla"
  • Freggie™ and VegFru™
  • Jim Sillyballs relocating a Cellared in Canada wine to Hamilton
  • Iceland laying claim to the term "Icewine" for the EU
  • The bottle - bag exchange and the 4 to 1 ratio.
  • Michael Jackson's new Cellared in Canada wine, "Moonwalk"
  • CanWest producing a magazine devoted to Cellared in Canada wines.
  • And more!


There were 55 stories in all, and we were there to BREAK every last one of them. No wonder we won a SPIFFY Award in the Fall of 2009.


May you all have a politically correct but insincere Holistic Holiday Period.




Monday, December 21, 2009

GOSH: Little Fat Wino Inc. to market Cellared in Canada wines.

TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) – In a stunning new development today, Little Fat Wino Inc. is allegedly buying all the marketing rights to "Cellared in Canada" wines from the Big Seven members of the Association for Cellared in Canada Wines (ACICW).


Top investigative wine reporter Brett Grimsby has been following this story for days now, and he files his report based on several interviews with Miffed Mole, the collective name for our sources who are familiar with the situation, and who spoke to him on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge details while they were very close to the centre of discussions and while the matter under consideration had not yet been finalized nor announced to the public. While the decisions may or may not have been finalized internally, and while an announcement on the matter may or may not be imminent, possibly within the next week or two, that specific timeline is not really known.


Grimsby reveals: Apparently, Little Fat Wino Inc. is poised to sweep down on the impending fire sale (or firewater sale, as some would say) of LCBO asses. The Government of Ontario, A Have-Not Province, has mandated that Ontario-owned asses should be covered and then be sold in order to help pay down the massive $24.7 billion debt that Ontario, A Have-Not Province, enjoys. The asses sale does not cover fruit wineries, who are otherwise known as stubborn mules. This is all part of the Liberal Party's "Cover Your Ass" campaign.


Secretly, Little Fat Wino Inc. has been storing up bottle deposits from friendly citizens all across the province, including a few well-known wine writers who get several scores of product samples. LFW Inc. apparently now has enough money to buy some asses from the LCBO. More details on covering asses can be found at www.littlefatwino.com.


LFW Inc. will use these asses as "mobile stores", conveying Cellared in Canada product to the Ontario masses (another form of asses, not related to the Masseys). LFW Inc. hopes to avoid real estate fees, land transfer taxes, property taxes, utility bills, and refurbishing costs by simply saddling up the CIC product to the asses, and marketing them to the huddled masses on the streets and trailer parks of Ontario.


This conveyance will result in the addition of "sweaty saddles" to the flavour profiles of red CIC wines. Unfortunately, because of limited space, fruit wines will not be carried by the asses – not even the ever-popular Freggie ™.


More on this asinine development as it happens…



Thursday, December 17, 2009


TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) – CLARIFICATIONS Re: Tiger Woods and "Cellared in Canada" wines.


Due to an editing error, the phrase "legal defence fund payoff" should have read "legal defence fund payout".  We did not do due diligence by cross-checking this information with our own lawyers Dewey, Fukyu, and Howe.


Because of a lack of validation, the phrase "Laid in Canada" should have read "Made in Canada".


Due to a clerical malfunction, the correct number of new wines should have read "13", and not "nine".


To clarify: the winery Tiger Woods is buying is NOT in Ontario, but rather on an island off the coast of Sweden. It is to be part of his familial settlement. His "Cellared in Canada" product is only a stopgap measure.


To further clarify: "Cheetah in the Rough" is not affiliated with Michael Jackson's "Moonwalk" Cellared in Canada wine. Both wines are represented by the Association for Cellared in Canada Wines, but both wines are separate and distinctive members.


To add: In addition to the Casinos serving "Cheetah in the Rough" Cellared in Canada wines, they will also be serving a reserve level, "Manther" (formerly, male cougars). Additionally, you can add Hooters Canada to the list of Cheetah and Manther outlets.


To correct: Fruit wines of Ontario were never, ever, not even at all to be considered by the Government of Ontario, A Have-Not Province, for anything. Sadly.


GOSH Wine News Services apologizes to all of its readers and subscribers for being so careless in its examination of the Tiger Woods winery story. We need to stay home more and pay attention to our family's research. Our transgressions will follow us everywhere. We, like Tiger, need to make a choice: we should either stop golfing or stop writing.



More on these developments as they happen…



Thursday, December 10, 2009

GOSH: Tiger Woods Press Conference to Announce New Wines

TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) – GOSH has just learned that today, Friday, at 5 PM, after the markets close, Tiger Woods will be holding a Press Conference. This will be his first public address since his "accident".


Brett Grimsby has been following this latest development, and he files this story:


Apparently, in an attempt to shore up his legal defence funds for payoffs, Tiger Woods will be joining his other golf celebrity friends in opening a winery bearing his name. Unfortunately, with the short lead time, he cannot wait for his vines to mature nor contract out the production of wines to his specifications. The best he is able to do is to cobble together a "Cellared in Canada" selection, using existing blends and cuvees from what is available in Canada.


His new wine, which he will be endorsing along with an embroidered patch he'll wear on his golf shirts, will fit into the critter mode and be labelled "Cheetah in the Rough", with pix of the Queen of Sheba riding the critter full tilt. The words "Cellared in Canada" will be renamed (with the grovelling approval of the Association for Cellared in Canada Wines) "Laid in Canada".


The wines, from his holding corporation Transgressions Inc., are expected to be a full range of reds, suitable for laying down, while the whites will be for immediate consumption. The rose series will also be branded, "Maid in Canada". There could be up to eleven of these new wines, but definitely six. The numbers change as new sources come forward.


Initially, all of the "Laid in Canada" wines will be offered only to Casinos, and there will be professional seminars to show the cocktail waitresses how to get properly laid in Canada -- it'll all be in the pour.


Some of the blend in the "Laid in Canada" series will be an energy drink to replace the stretch water component (which, as readers will note from a previous posting, resulted in the fall of the Liberal government in Ontario, A Have-Not Province). And so once again, Ontario fruit wines have been shafted out of any revenue-generating products.


More on this interesting new development as it unfolds…



Friday, December 4, 2009

GOSH: Is the stretch water component of Cellared in Canada wines set to topple the Ontario government?

TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) – With a stunning series of government revelations today, GOSH Wine News Services has learned the real reasons for the convoluted and sudden changes to the Cellared in Canada programs in Canada.


Our investigative wine reporter Brett Grimsby has been following this story for days now, and he files his report based on several interviews with Miffed Mole, the collective name for our sources who are familiar with the situation, and who spoke to him on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge details while they were very close to the centre of discussions and while the matter under consideration had not yet been finalized nor announced to the public. While the decisions may or may not have been finalized internally, and while an announcement on the matter may or may not be imminent, possibly within the next week or two, that specific timeline is not really known.


What is known is this: the real reason for the upcoming changes to the Cellared in Canada wine programs is the sudden realization by the public that stretch water is added to the mix. The scandal-plagued Liberal government of Ontario, A Have-Not Province, wants no part of Cellared in Canada wines. It has enough on its hands with the eHealth debacle, H1N1 vaccine shortages, the Driver Examiner scandal, fundraising scandals, broken promises, $25 billion budget deficits, the Harmonized Sales Tax (also known as the Harm and Screw Tax), and assorted departmental malfeasances.


The Ontario Council of Wines will no longer lobby for Cellared in Canada wines – it will devote all of its energies into pushing the new "Cellared in Canada Proprietor's Reserve Wine" series. When asked to comment, a spokesperson for the OCW said: "Just wait and see – we'll come roaring back onto the marketplace. It's about time that we concentrated on the Reserve Levels. We've got many irons in the fire."


The self-destructive Association for Cellared in Canada Wines has now decided to take an aggressive role in becoming the new lobby group for CIC wines. Too much of its energy had already been taken up with contesting the vegetable-fruit wine components of Freggie™ with the Cellared in Canada Wine Group. Freggie™ is 70% fruit juice wine, and 30% vegetable juice wine, and 100% from Ontario. In making peace with the CICW Group, a new wine has been introduced – VegFru™, 70% vegetable juice wine and 30% fruit juice wine – again, all Ontario. The CICW Group will be responsible for marketing this wine.


Wine panels of various sommeliers and wine writers could not really tell the difference between the two wines, although it was noted by Dean Tudor, one of the marginal wine writers from the B Team, that one of the wines (the VegFru™) had a distinct tone of the mushroom forest floor.


But the real benefit of both Freggie™ and VegFru™ is that neither wine has any stretch water, and thus both are scandal-free. The Liberal government will readily endorse these wines, much to the delight of the Ontario Viniculture Association, and will probably make them available for sale at Farmers Markets in 2010. The LCBO, A Crown Corporation, had, as usual, no comment.


The soon-to-be-redundant "Cellared in Canada" wines will now be employed in fuelling the Olympic Torch (see our report of April 17, 2009 – GOSH Wine News Services was FIRST with this story), but only AFTER the stretch water component has been removed by dehydration.


As the Man said, "All day I paced the burning waste without a taste of water". More on this story as it develops…


Friday, November 27, 2009

GOSH: Rebranded "Cellared in Canada" wines in 2015, Ont. government reverses policy


TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) – In a stunning reversal of Liberal party policy, the Government of Ontario, A Have-Not Province, today announced new ground rules for the infamous "Cellared in Canada" wine program in this province.


While the current program is scheduled to end in 2014, it will be brought back again in 2015. Complete details are not yet known, but through our collective sources (aka Miffed Mole), we can confirm that the Cellared in Canada program will be re-invigorated like the Phoenix.


What we know is this: there will be a re-branding of the 2015 product in support of the Pan-American Games. These wines will be known as "Cellared in Pan-America", and there will be a larger, more prominent typeface/font.


Apparently, there will also be a "Reserve" series labelled, "Pan-American Wine Proudly Cellared in Canada".


Allegedly, the Government of British Columbia is on-board with this new development which they see as payback for the support that Ontario, A Have-Not Province, has given to VANOC. But they do not want a repeat of the Esprit CIC-VQA debacle of 2009.


Both provinces will supposedly endorse a unified Cellared in Pan-America wine blending program, with the wine in every bottle to come from British Columbia, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Ontario, the United States, and at least two Latin American countries. All of these provinces and countries, with their contributing percentages, will be listed on each and every bottle, whether glass, plastic, TetraPak or cask.


Said a spokesperson for the LCBO, A Crown Corporation: "We had no idea this was coming. We've already spent scores of taxpayer dollars to correct signage, to engage the locavores to buy local, to get brands into every store. What more do they want from us?"


Fruit Wines of Ontario is now looking at incorporating some mango and papaya fruit wine into Freggie™, its flagship Cellared in Canada fruit-vegetable wine. Because the Executive Director of Fruit Wines of Ontario has been diagnosed with lachanophobia, he is largely in favour of increasing the fruit component at the expense of the vegetable component.


Brett Grimsby is investigating this flagrant breach of existing legislation: questions are being asked about personal lifestyles and benefits intruding into blended Ontario wines. Some have said that there is a whiff of Ken Lay in this situation.


More on this story as it unfolds…



Thursday, November 19, 2009

GOSH: Big split in Association for Cellared in Canada Wines, PETG to mobilize.


Big wineries split from Council; Ontario's largest vintners pull cash, clout from association, form own group --- St. Catharines Standard, Nov 19, 2009.



TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) – As predicted several times in the past few months by GOSH's top investigative wine reporter Brett Grimsby, the Association for Cellared Wines in Canada (ACWC) has split up because of its warring factions.


The news, while not dramatic, still had some chase value as wine writers fell all over themselves to cover the story.


Some wineries will become part of the existing Canadian Group for Cellared in Canada Wines (CGCICW), others will form a liaison with grape protectors. Both associations have been campaigning to attract the PETG (People for the Ethical Treatment of Grapes), and this might be the best time to do it since the two groups can now present alternative but parallel universes.


The PETG has been trying to affiliate with like wine groups for quite some time. They have recently succeeded in appropriating the American slogan "Free the Grapes!" for their own use in Canada, and they want to get some mileage out of it.


Brett Grimsby interviewed PETG to learn more details. Shirley Ujest, President, said the group started when several ethical wine people quit in disgust over the shabby treatment of grapes. "Did you known that growers actually starve the grapes? That they make them struggle for survival? Did you know that close pruning is painful? Did you know that wineries bend grapevines against their will, forcing them into awkward positions, crucifying them on stakes and wires? Did you know that grapillions, those rejects, just languish on the ground and die a dreadful death?"


She went on: "I'm appalled at what I found out. We want to negotiate with both associations to give grapes a better life. We want to give grapes a chance."


Later, Ujest went into shock when she – a life long vegan – found out that wines were fined with isinglass (from fish bladders), egg white albumen, gelatine, and casein. She said that PETG would immediately make a pitch for bentonite.


All three associations were weary after dealing with the wine media's incessant questions about the split, the merger and the future of grapes in Ontario, A Have-Not Province.


And they were wary about answering too many contextual queries. "It makes my job that much more difficult," said the head of CGCICW with a friendly tone, "if our business is played out in the press. Go home."


More on this story as it does indeed play out…

Friday, November 13, 2009

GOSH: Value Added component for Cellared in Canada wines, go to the Front of the Line


TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine New Services) – In another stunning attempt to quell the disgruntled masses, the Government of Ontario, A Have-Not Province, has decreed a "value-added" component for the "Cellared in Canada" wine programs offered by the seven major Ontario wineries.


GOSH has learned that just after 5PM today, the LCBO, A Crown Corporation, will put on the shelves some new value-added Cellared in Canada TetraPaks printed with a coupon.


Apparently, in conjunction with TetraPak and AmEx, these TetraPaks will have a special coupon entitling the bearer to go to the "Front of the Line" in any H1N1 vaccine situation at a publicly funded clinic – so long as the purchase has been paid for by an AmEx card. To determine who goes to the actual head of the line, coupon holders will be required to play "rock-paper-scissors".


Said a spokesperson for the LCBO, "We expect these TetraPak wines to just fly off the shelves. They are real winners!"


Bottles and casks are not eligible for this program, and there is no limit to the number of Cellared in Canada TetraPaks that can be purchased, so long as each container has the coupon printed on the side.


The coupons are expected to use the same typeface, size and location as the current words "Cellared in Canada".


In return, the public clinics get to retain the 20-cent deposit fee.


More on the public's reaction to this new development as it happens, after 5 PM




Saturday, November 7, 2009

GOSH: McGinty to change -- again -- "Cellared in Canada" wine regulations, part of PAN-AM deal

TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) – In a stunning revelation today, Grate "Flip-Flop" McGinty, leader of Ontario, A Have-Not Province, has declared a major change in impending "Cellared in Canada" wine regulations.


Top investigative wine reporter Brett Grimsby has been following this story for days now, and he files his report based on several interviews with Miffed Mole, the collective name for our sources who are familiar with the situation, and who spoke to him on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge details while they were very close to the centre of discussions and while the matter under consideration had not yet been finalized nor announced to the public. While the decisions may or may not have been finalized internally, and while an announcement on the matter may or may not be imminent, possibly within the next week or two, that specific timeline is not really known.


Says Grimsby, "There have been secret deals between the Ontario and Latin American governments (principally Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay) to extend the import of Latin American wines into Ontario in order to top up the "Cellared in Canada" wine series.


"GOSH Wine News Services has learned that this was the price to be paid for Latin American votes to secure the PAN-AM 2015 games for Toronto. Even the Mayor of Toronto did not know of this vote buying.


"Today, the McGinty regulations will promulgate a NEW series of "Cellared in Canada" wines, to be called "Cellared in Canada Reserva" wines. These wines will be produced by Ontario wineries NOT currently producing regular "Cellared in Canada" wines. In fact, the current seven wineries producing CIC product have been prohibited from producing a Reserva line. The new wineries will be determined by lottery from the scandal-plagued Ontario Lottery Corporation. GOSH has also learned that the Ontario Viniculture Association members will be eligible to produce a CIC Reserva series, so long as the wines are sourced from grapes grown in Latin America and Ontario. Fruit wines will continue to be ineligible, although some day they may be sold at Farmers Markets.


"The proportions will be fifty-fifty, with absolutely NO stretch water."


McGinty is slated to go on the record and say: "This is a win-win situation for Ontario wineries, Latin American countries, and the wine guzzling public. Still, I do feel sorry for the fruit farmers. Maybe there is something we can do when we re-apply for the Olympics, say in 2028."


More on this dramatic development as it happens, stand by…


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Debate in BC Legislative Assemby about Alcohol at VANOC in 2010

British Columbia 2009 Legislative Session: First Session, 39th Parliament


This is a DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY of debate in one sitting of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. This transcript is subject to corrections, and will be replaced by the final, official Hansard report. Use of this transcript, other than in the legislative precinct, is not protected by parliamentary privilege, and public attribution of any of the debate as transcribed here could entail legal liability.





Afternoon Sitting


Committee of Supply


The House in Committee of Supply (Section A); H. Bloy in the chair.

The committee met at 2:35 p.m.

S. Simpson: Regarding liquor, could the minister tell us what the status is…? The minister will recall that there was some concern about what was happening around Olympic wines and the whole issue about which wines would be forward and how that would all be dealt with in terms of labelling what was cellared here versus actual B.C. wines and their use in the Olympics. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Could the minister give us an update as to what the status of that is, as to how wines will be used for official functions and such? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. R. Coleman: There is no Olympic wine. There's no wine that's for the Olympics or that's been made for the Olympics. Basically, the issue was that for a long time, in generations going back, frankly, over two decades, wineries in B.C. have been allowed to import what is fermented juice, to cellar it and make it in British Columbia into the final product of wine. That was done 20 years ago plus, back in I think it was the 1980s and through the 1990s, to be able to create a cash flow basis for wines in B.C. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

At that time we didn't have the amount of grapes that were necessary to supply domestic demands, and we don't today, quite frankly. These were allowed to be brought in, put in and labelled as a product of Canada — basically, cellared in the particular jurisdiction they were in. That labelling issue is not a provincial issue; it's actually a federal issue. They're the ones to decide what will take place on the labelling of wine. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

This became an issue on the placement of some wines from Vincor within some of our liquor stores, because Vincor is the wine sponsor that has bought the rights to the Olympics. Vincor is part of a company called, I think, Constellation. Constellation is one of the three largest wine companies in the world. They are allowed to put that logo on any wine, anywhere in the world, whether it be British Columbian, Canadian or whatever the case may be. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

As we went through that issue, we met with the industry — with Peller Estates and other companies, including Vincor — across the country with regards to their labelling and how these would be placed. We are changing the placement of how the wine will be placed in the B.C. Liquor Stores. They are not labelling it with the logo that would bring in the questions with regards to it anymore for the stuff that will come in. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

All wines that will be used at all venues at the Olympics will be VQA wines produced by Vincor in British Columbia or in Canada. There will be 100 percent VQA wines, of 100 percent B.C. grapes, made in B.C. That's the wine that will be served at all the venues that they will host at the Olympics. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

S. Simpson: The minister has said there would be changes made in terms of how the wine is displayed in liquor stores and the prominence of those wines. Could the minister tell us when that's expected to occur? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. R. Coleman: Yesterday I asked the member whether it would be liquor distribution or licensing. I understood licensing would be the discussion on liquor. Jay Chambers, who is the general manager of the liquor distribution branch…. We let him go home yesterday for that reason. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

My understanding is that once the inventory is used up, they're already doing the new signage. They've already come to an agreement of what the statement will be. I think that it's going to say something…. I should be careful. I know that it's not going to say that it's a B.C. wine. It will be moved out of the B.C. wine section. It will be a product that will have a name like "cellared in Canada" or something that's acceptable to the jurisdictions across Canada, and we will change their location in the liquor stores. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

S. Simpson: I agree with the minister that we had agreed that one of his officials would be going home. I think the minister, at that time, had said that if there were questions, I'd put them on the record, and if he wasn't able to answer them at this time because he didn't have officials, answers would be provided in writing. That's fine by me. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


The minister said that all the wines would be VQA. The wines used at the Olympics and served at the Olympics as part of official functions would be B.C. VQA wines. Could the minister tell us, or could he get the information to us, as to how the selection of those wines will be made, since we have…. Obviously, Vincor is the sponsor for this, but there are a large number of wineries and the smaller estate wineries and that in British Columbia. Are others going to have the opportunity to have their wines available as well? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. R. Coleman: Let's be clear. The sponsored wines, which are Vincor, have bought the sponsorship to the Olympics, so official Olympic events during the Olympics will only be serving Vincor wine that is VQA. They bought those rights. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Now, if there's another bar, hotel, venue that's having a bit of a celebration around the Olympics that's not an officially sponsored venue, they can buy their wines from whomever they want. They're not tied to the Olympic sponsorship. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

In the case of, let's say, an event at GM Place, where there's an official function of the Olympics, it will be Vincor wine, because Vincor and Constellation have bought their rights. It's the same as we will have with regards to Molson's products at those same things because they bought the Olympic rights, and they've paid millions of dollars for those rights. We don't have a problem with that. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Any other wine that wants to…. If there's a B.C. night of celebration, we won't be restricting, because that's not an official site, that sort of thing. Those will all be worked out. But when it comes to official Olympic events with the International Olympic Committee and VANOC, those people have bought the sponsorship. It's no different than Coca-Cola. They've bought their sponsorship, and McDonalds have a sponsorship. They have their rights to those events because they paid for the right to do that. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

S. Simpson: Having said that, I appreciate there are formal events that are held where there are limits on the suppliers to those events based on who paid at that time. The minister spoke of other opportunities or celebrations or events that will evolve around the Olympics that the government may play a role in but that won't be "official" events of the Olympics, where there would be opportunities for other B.C. producers of wines or maybe some of the craft producers of beer. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Some of the specialty beers and things that are produced in British Columbia would have an opportunity to have their products there as B.C. products, as part of that celebration. I would think, for example, maybe some of those events at the Terminal City Club would be a good place for some of that to occur. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Could the minister tell us: what is the expectation about how invitations will go to those other participants — not at the formal events, the "official" events, but those other events — so that there is opportunity for other producers or vintners and that who aren't part of Vincor or other craft beer makers to be part of this celebration? How will that occur? How will they get invited to participate? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. R. Coleman: The B.C. Wine Institute is already working with the B.C. games secretariat and with Robson Square to profile B.C. wines at a number of events that they will be sponsoring through the period of time of the Olympics. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Other than that, we don't actually tell restaurants what to buy, or whatever. That's the competitive environment of wines, and the restaurants will be able to buy from the liquor distribution whatever product they wish. Those people who are out there promoting and selling or whatever would continue their normal vein of business. We don't do that now with regards to the commercial activities in and around liquor, and we wouldn't be stepping in today and doing that either. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

S. Simpson: Maybe this is about clarification to some degree. Now, I understand the official events are hosted by VANOC. They are the host party, not the government of British Columbia directly. VANOC is the host party. At all the VANOC events it will be their sponsor groups. It will be, then, Vincor. It will be Molson's. It will be those people who VANOC has agreements with, and I understand that. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

The government of British Columbia will be hosting events itself that are complementary to that but are not necessarily under the VANOC umbrella, I'm assuming. Will this broader range of B.C. products be available at those events that are hosted by British Columbia outside the VANOC umbrella? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


Hon. R. Coleman: I don't have all the events for the member. I'll see if I can get you the information, but the B.C. Wine Institute, which is the organization that basically represents VQA wines in B.C., is planning on a number of receptions that they would feature B.C. wines at during the Olympics. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

As I said, at any official function with regards to the Olympics Vincor has the sponsorship, just like Molson has the beer and Coke has the rest of it. That's pretty much an international standard for Olympics. Then there are other opportunities for countries that will come in and have other relationships with regards to liquor, like Heineken House, for instance, for the Dutch and that sort of thing, because those things will take place. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

What I will do for the member is endeavour to get you an outline of what the BCWI is planning and who they're working with from the secretariat. I don't have it at my fingertips. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

S. Simpson: Thanks to the minister for offering to provide that list. Just one more question in relation to this, because I'm not sure that I fully understand. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Is the minister saying that government of British Columbia events that are outside the VANOC umbrella and the VANOC sponsorship but events hosted by the government…. We've heard a lot of talk in the House and elsewhere about the government taking advantage of this opportunity for economic development and other opportunities here to be able to host events that will further those things, and I appreciate that. That's outside of VANOC running the Olympics. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

For those events, is the minister saying the Wine Institute is taking responsibility for deciding how wines are provided at those events? Or does the government have somebody through this ministry or some other body, maybe the secretariat, who will take responsibility for deciding which vintners or brewers are invited to bring product there — or other food and beverage products that are British Columbia that might not have sponsorship? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I'm just trying to determine that here. I understand that the Wine Institute is going to do their job, and I think that's great. I just want to know how that relates to what British Columbia does in terms of making sure it maximizes exposure for British Columbia companies and businesses. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. R. Coleman: My understanding is that the B.C. Wine Institute is working on special events in different venues around Vancouver with regards to promoting B.C. wines and what have you. I don't know. I know that this ministry has nothing to do with that piece. I mean, we just did the licensing piece and what have you. Who's running what and doing what where is not our responsibility, and it's not in my purview to give an answer to that question otherwise. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

We as a government, when we're hosting an official Olympic event, will have to live by the same arrangements as VANOC has with regards to the sponsorships, which would be…. But if it's something that is broader, like if it's something we do with the B.C. Wine Institute, then we will be able to do more with B.C. wines or whatever product. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I'll get some information from the secretariat for the member with regards to that. I don't know if you've done that ministry in estimates yet. If you haven't, you might ask them. I'll find out what ministry it is too. I would think that it would be the Olympic secretariat. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


Hon. R. Coleman: It probably is, and I don't know if we've done her estimates. Is she done? Okay, so I'll get some information for the member. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


S. Simpson: Thanks to the minister for that offer. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Really, I fully understand and respect the role of sponsorship and the need to protect the interests of sponsors when they purchase those interests. I agree with that. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

But it would be great, where there are opportunities, whether government-hosted events or other events, to take advantage of those opportunities for British Columbia companies, especially with some of the wonderful vintners and craft beer people and other folks. We have to take advantage of that, if we can, without breaching those agreements, obviously, through other events. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

A couple of other questions related to liquor matters. Again, I respect that these may be questions that other officials would answer. I'd be happy to get those answers in writing, if that is the case. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Currently in British Columbia how many public liquor stores are there, and how many private liquor stores are there? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. R. Coleman: While we're getting that data for you, cellared wines will be displayed in a new way within our liquor stores within the next month. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

There are presently 197 government liquor stores. There are 679 licensed retail stores, which would be the private liquor stores. There are 223 rural agency stores. There are 220 on-site industry stores, which would be, I would suspect…. That would be the breweries. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

S. Simpson: Like the Granville Island brew pub. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. R. Coleman: Yeah, that sort of thing. There would be 12 independent wine stores, 34 off-site industry stores and 11 duty-free stores. The on-site industry stores I would suspect include wineries, breweries, distilleries and retail shops. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

S. Simpson: I'm getting to a question here about my own constituency at some point, but I'm just trying to understand some things as I get there. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

My understanding, and I'd be happy to be corrected if I haven't gotten this right, is that there is currently no general expansion of private liquor stores in the province, but if there are government stores…. Let me get this correct. If a government store closes, a private operator could buy out the lease and essentially take that store over and run it. Those are the places where you do closures and takeovers. That's what occurs. Is that what happens? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. R. Coleman: Right now there's a moratorium on additional private liquor stores. I think I know what the member's question is, so I'm going to try and deal with it this way. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Any private store can move within a community to a different location within it today. One city has a different rule, and that's the city of Vancouver. In the city of Vancouver if a government liquor store closes, in that location that it closed from — in spite of the fact that we may be opening another liquor store a few blocks away — the city allows somebody to move another, like a beer-and-wine-store type of operation, in there to have a liquor store. They're the only city that does that, because they do not allow spirits in their beer and wine stores in the city of Vancouver. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


When the private liquor store model came along, all the other communities, basically, in B.C. embraced that and allowed them to separate and move to better locations within their communities. Vancouver said no, and then…. They've had a morphing of liquor rules in Vancouver which allows for what I've just described. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

The one that would be the best example in Vancouver is a government liquor store on Hastings. Somebody bought the property and the lease. They did not renew the lease with the Liquor Distribution Branch –– had another licence to move in there and were allowed by Vancouver to move a liquor store into there. The Liquor Distribution Branch found another location and opened another store, because that was allowed under Vancouver's rules. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

S. Simpson: I appreciate that. That is the issue that I'm talking about –– the East Hastings store. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

The only correction I think I'd make at this point is that all of that has occurred, except there hasn't been a government liquor store opened. What we have is…. We've had the store closed. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I've spoken to people in the branch at the time that it was closing. I was informed by them that it was not their choice to close the store but, as the minister says, the lease had expired. The owner of the lease chose not to renew it, owns a few other facilities, stores and private operations, and was putting a private operation in, and that's how that occurred. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I was told at that time that there would be efforts to…. They would be opening a new store. I think it was that they were going to be opening it…. It was some number of months ago that the expectation was it would be open. I understand that there may be some issues, challenges, around how that gets opened. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

My question, then, to the minister, since he certainly seems to have knowledge of this specific issue: is it the intention of the LDB to open another store in that proximity? I was told that it was a pretty good location for revenue. To open in that location –– is that the intention? If so, does the minister have any idea when that might occur? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. R. Coleman: The last time I had the discussion, they thought they had a location, and I didn't know whether they had got to the point of opening or not. They were negotiating leases and that sort of thing to see if there was something…. There was some new construction, I believe, taking place somewhere on Hastings Street that they thought they had the opportunity. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

The store was an average performer. It wasn't a high performer, but certainly they felt they still wanted to stay within that market and wanted to achieve bringing a store back to that neighbourhood. But it's all a matter of when they build, what lease you can get. Also, they're not going to be held to ransom for rent, so they'll be as competitive as possible. So however long it takes for them to do that in a way that meets their business case, that's what I would expect from them. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

S. Simpson: There's a fair amount of new construction along Hastings there because of zoning changes that have opened up a lot of new retail storefront. There's a lot more vacant than has people in it at this point, so I think prices wouldn't be too bad for lease agreements at the moment in some of that new housing. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I would note that there was a great amount of concern. I heard from an awful lot of people in the community when that store switched over to a private store, because it was done fairly quietly. Nobody was really aware of it until it was almost upon them. One day it was a government store. Then the weekend passed, and all of a sudden it was a private store, and people didn't even notice. The signs didn't change, other than it said "Hastings Liquor Store" instead of "Government of B.C. Liquor Store." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

People were concerned about that because it was their preference to do business with the government store. I know they're all anxious to see whether this government store actually opens and they're able to go back and patronize there. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

One of the issues that were raised around that…. It was the local business improvement association that raised this issue with me around the private store. They were concerned about the private store and supported a government store staying there. Part of that revolved around the practices of the store. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

These operators, to the best of my knowledge, are fine operators, and they do everything by the book. But for example, there's a big question in that community because of the challenges some of the people meet around things like the sale of singles –– single beers, things like that. A big issue. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

You get the folks…. They're out in front. They're panhandling. They're doing this and that. They're going in. They buy a couple of singles. They come out, sit there, drink the beers and panhandle the next few singles or whatever comes with that. Or they wander up and down the street with their beer in their hand, and that raises a concern. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I know that when the business improvement association, based on its members, brought that to the government store, they recognized that, and they ended the practice of selling singles in that store. They realized that it was a community concern, a legitimate one, and to the best of my knowledge, they said, "We will not sell singles," and that ended. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


They went to the private store after it opened, and the private store said: "Singles are one of our biggest sellers. We do well out of selling singles. We appreciate your problem, but no, we're not going to do that. We're not going to change our practice." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Is the government looking at those kinds of issues in communities like mine in Hastings, where there are some challenges and some people that have difficult issues around alcohol and other things, and starting to try to manage some of that — even if it's in some of the private stores — around how they sell? Is there any work being done around that? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. R. Coleman: The regulatory environment allows for the sale of singles, whether it be a government liquor store or not, and it's up to the operator. You're right that in some liquor stores that were government-operated, sometimes we have actually stopped doing that practice because of a concern of the community. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

This is not something that I would anticipate we would go change a bunch of regulations around, but I will undertake on behalf of the member to have a conversation with the owners of that particular store and ask them what it is, rather than have what they said and whether they say it's a big piece of their business or whatever. I think I'll go find out and then have a conversation with them. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

S. Simpson: I'd appreciate that. I have had the conversation with the owners of the store, but the concern was raised to me by the business improvement association and their leadership who went and made that request of the store. Then they spoke to me later when we were talking about that — when I was asking their advice about the possibility of a second store in the community, a government store and a private store, and what occurs there. That's when that came out in that conversation from the business improvement association. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Certainly, the manager of the private store acknowledged to me that that conversation had been had and that their business practice was to sell singles. So I'm happy that the minister will inquire about that. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

At this point in time I just have one more question, a two-part question in regard to liquor matters, and then we'll move on to another matter. Are there any plans around either further closures or openings of government stores in the province at this time? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. R. Coleman: The branch has basically been asked to run their business, and they do that as a commercial Crown. There are a couple constraints in and around how they do their business today. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

One is that we have a collective agreement with the B.C. Government Employees Union, and we can only close five stores over the period of the collective agreement. I think it is five stores in total; I don't think it's five a year. That is good on one side and positive and negative on the other. We actually have great success by creating what we call signature stores where we bundle a number of stores together into a larger store, and we end up with more employees than in the other three stores that were operating. Our returns are better, but that piece restricts those stores. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Yet today those are our most popular brand out there in the public. They really like those stores because they have the selection, the different types of premium wines and selections, the educated staff and all that stuff in those larger stores. We can't do any more of those by bundling unless we have an agreement with the union. There's a lot of work that has to get done there. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

At this time, other than upgrading some stores when leases come up, which has happened in a couple places.... We had one closure on Main Street in Vancouver because they're doing construction, so we've had to move the store while the property is redeveloped. We would probably negotiate to go back into it — that sort of thing. That was a short-term closure. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

We will go through the next number of months. We have negotiations probably coming up, but it really is about.... The number of stores on the government side is restricted by that agreement. We have to keep them at a certain number, and that's what we do because of the collective agreement. We leave it like that. There's no anticipation of closing a bunch of stores or anything like that. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]


S. Simpson: Yeah, my understanding of that was pretty much the same. If the government opens a signature store, then it could close two smaller stores as part of the deal. I thought that that was the agreement, but the minister can correct that. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

The question I have is…. I know this discussion has been had before. It's the question of government stores offering chilled products — beer, white wines — putting coolers on site, maybe, in some of the newer signature stores or whatever. It's the ability to do that. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I know that the government has chosen not to do that. I know that the private operators wouldn't be very happy about that because that is part of their piece of the market that's good for them — where they have 100 percent of the market there, essentially. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Has the government given any consideration to putting coolers on site in some of the signature stores at this time? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. R. Coleman: I think that in a few select stores we do have some cooled product. It's actually not our marketplace. Our marketplace is a larger store in a market, more like a larger grocery store versus a 7-Eleven convenience where you come in and buy a cold product. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

The cold product…. Installation of that in the stores is pretty expensive. We do look at it from time to time in select locations to see if we think that would drive additional business outcomes. But there's no movement to go in and revamp all our stores today with regards to adding cold product, because if there are renovations, there's the cost of refrigeration. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Then the discussion is: what's your return on making that investment? There hasn't been a strong enough business case made to me as the minister to show that that would be worthwhile. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

The member is also right. When we did the whole change in liquor and when private liquor stores were allowed to have spirits and then move so that they would have decent locations and stuff, they were going to be more the convenience store of the business, and we were going to be more the upper-scale superstore, for lack of a better description, of the business. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

That's why I think the signature stores are successful. Our customers come there to those stores — and they're high-volume stores — because they're coming for the selection and the service and what have you. It's not about convenience for them as much as it is about what the experience of the shopping is and that they know they can get the product, whereas the other side of the business is more of a convenience-store model. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

In some cases there's probably a piece in between there we could deal with. But as we go through into the next level of discussions with the stores, as we do every year going into every budget cycle, that always comes up, and we have a discussion around it. We'll look at the numbers again. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

S. Simpson: One last question on that, and then we'll move over to other matters and off of liquor. The minister spoke earlier about how the LDB and the liquor are kind of an independent entity. It does its business and, you know, follows the rules that are set. But it's up to the LDB as a business to do what's best for its business, have the best return on investment while having a responsible operation. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Those decisions, like…. If the decision, for example, is to go to chilled products in some or all stores, but the decision generally…. Is that a decision that's the LDB's decision? Is that a decision that would have to come back and get the approval of the minister, or is that kind of for the LDB as an independent entity to do on its own? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. R. Coleman: The minister sets the policy under the Liquor Distribution Act. They are governed by the policy that's established by government with regards to their operation. So those types of things would come through the ministry, probably to Finance and Treasury Board, for a proper decision before they would be allowed to make those types of major changes. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Copyright (c) 2009: British Columbia Hansard Services, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Friday, October 30, 2009

GOSH: Prince Charles to endorse new "Cellared in Canada" wine

TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) – GOSH Wine News Services has just learned that Prince Charles will be endorsing a new "Cellared in Canada" wine.


Prince Charles has been advised by his wine consultant, Jancis Robinson, MW, to push for changes to the "Cellared in Canada" wine industry. He is prepared to wade in on behalf of wine drinkers everywhere. So far, he has managed to convince the Ontario Wine Council to no longer lobby for Cellared in Canada wines.


A source at the Association for Cellared in Canada Wines (AFCICW) tells GOSH that Prince Charles had specifically requested a blended wine at the "British Riserva" level to be named after his wife, Camilla. When told that the name would not fly in Canada (and to enhance Quebec sales), he compromised on the name, by titling it "Camille". There will be both a red and a white wine, with a rose coming next summer. Pricing for the latter will be based on the non-lobby grape price.


The wine, to be the Official Wine of the November 2 – November 12 Royal Tour will be launched at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. In return for the name and the reserve blend, the TetraPak uses the words "By appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales, provisioner of Cellared in Canada Proprietor's Reserve wine." To be discussed are the colour, size and placement of the font used on the label.


This unique blend, according to Miffed Mole, comprises not only English wine from the Lake District surplus but also crystal clear water from North Wales. The Ontario wine component can only come from those wineries who employ people named Charles.


How much water from Wales still needs to be determined, but it would certainly not come over in cobalt blue bottles. In fact, to reduce the carbon footprint, it may arrive here as dehydrated water, to be reconstituted in Hanover, Ontario. The stretch water content is sure to be hotly debated, said Brett Grimsby, our top investigative wine reporter. "Water doesn't come cheap; there must be limits" was his comment.


Both Prince Charles and Camilla are said to be thrilled to be a part of the Canadian reserve winescape, and both hope that their red and white wines become available as part of the Olympics Fine Wine Reserve Collection. The LCBO, A Crown Corporation of a Have-Not Province, is said to be on board for this one, and promises not to test the stretch water component so stringently, and also not to question the nature of the British Reserve.


More on the availability of this "fine reserve wine" as it happens…


Chimo!  www.deantudor.com