Remember the feeling you had when a visionary politician (few and far between these days) made a speech that resonated and inspired you to achieve something extraordinary? JFK addressed Congress on May 25th 1961, and he said by the end of the decade the USA would land a man on the moon. The haters laughed then, and ate crow seven years later when it happened.
British Columbia needs a wine visionary. Someone who can lead the province out of our Orwellian system and set the foundations for a fair, progressive system that will be the envy of the wine world for years to come.
We need to make British Columbia North America’s leading destination for wine lovers, full stop. We can become a haven for buyers, sellers, retailers and growers without endangering public safety.
Right now, restaurants pay full retail for wine. So I’d let them buy wine at wholesale prices. They’d pass the savings on to consumers, and all us foodies could enjoy long, epic meals paired with amazing wines, and we could do it without taking out a second mortgage.
Let them buy single bottles from the speculative program; (I’ve talked about this before but in short, restaurants are forced to buy full case lots of expensive wine. This ties up valuable cash.) http://blog.marquis-wines.com/2010/10/
I’d also make it a priority to establish an auction system. I can’t accurately tell you how much wine is bought and sold on the black market, but from what I’ve seen in my own little world, it is a heck of a lot. The minions who run our system don’t believe it is a problem. I’d rip off their red-tape blinders and show them they’re not just losing revenue, they’re losing the chance to become a real, progressive force in the wine world. Let’s strive for extraordinary. Several years ago Hong Kong eliminated all taxes on wine, it is now the Asian hub for wine.
Currently, private stores can’t buy and sell cellars online. This has to change. Stores in California can; what makes these boys smarter than us? Let’s get wine out of the black market and trade it freely within our province. I can tell you from personal experience when private stores were allowed to deliver and advertise the sky did not fall, as was professed by those in those against it.
Lastly, I’d benchmark and improve our distribution system. Simply put, it’s broken. How broken, you ask? Right now, it takes ten days to a month to get a case of wine sent from Annacis Island to a local restaurant. To compare; Boeing can build an entire airplane in three to six days. Talk to any restauranteur, they are quietly furious.
If the government were running Boeing, we’d still be waiting for delivery of our first cloth-winged biplanes. Speeding it up wouldn’t take much. Just make it someone’s job to ensure prompt delivery, and use incentives to make sure it happens.
Our province has incredible wineries, amazing restaurants and a whole lot of spectacular places to visit. Making it a global force in wine by relaxing our liquor laws and improving the system is just another powerful card for us to play in the high stakes game of tourism poker. Let’s go all in!