Greetings, again, from Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada), three hours’ drive from the Okanagan wine-producing region. I last offered Terroirist readers the gloomy portrait of BC’s wine industry as painted by a local university policy wonk. Now, more bad news:
Vivid pink Japanese cherry blossoms have just finished blooming here, announcing Springtime for the West Coast. But anyone in an alcohol-related business might be thinking less ‘Spring’ and more ‘Thanksgiving.’ Why? Because the government monopoly business/regulatory agency that controls all alcohol movement in the province often keeps orders under lockdown in a bonded warehouse for lengthy periods of time and without reason. Retailers and restaurants need to think months in advance to ensure that they’ll have inventory they ordered.
Being forced to think “Pinot Noir and roast turkey” when customers are gearing up for “chilled rosé under hot July sun” is one of many complaints that BC’s restaurant owners and sort-of-private alcohol retailers have against their overseer/regulator and direct competitor, the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB).
If George Orwell and the Three Stooges created a business model, the BCLDB could be the fruit of their partnership. If the BCLDB were a film, maybe a remake of ‘The Parallax View’ with an MW in Robert Redford’s role, and sinister Parallax Corporation trying to assassinate…BC’s budding wine culture. Read the rest of this entry »