U-vint tax halted in Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia government has decided it will not put an extra tax on wine brewed at U-vints.
P.E.I. is the only province to levy a tax and the proposal came as a surprise to some in Nova Scotia’s U-vint business where there are only 16 to 20 stores. (J.P. Moczulski/Reuters)

The Nova Scotia government says it will not put an extra tax on wine brewed at U-vints stores.

Last week, Finance Minister Diana Whalen said the decision whether to put a levy on wine brewed in store would depend on what was heard in consultations.

The government floated the idea of adopting P.E.I.'s tax of 75 cents per litre or $17.50 for a typical kit.

“I just gave out the P.E.I. regulations for input. And the reason is it sped up the input so I’m able to bring in legislation in the spring rather than waiting until the fall. Because if we didn’t take P.E.I. we would have to write our own” she said.

Ross Harrington, owner of the Wine Kitz. in Halifax, said he didn't think a levy on his product would happen.

“I didn’t think it would come to fruition because I knew the pushback from the public would be sufficient for the government to say, ‘This is crazy.’ Personally, I knew that Diana wouldn't want that. But what an elected official wants versus what a department wants are two different things,” he said. 

New regulations will come forward during the spring sitting of the legislature.

The right to make beer and wine in so-called U-vint stores flared up a year ago, when the province's Crown-owned liquor agency sought a court order to prevent the owners of Wine Kitz Halifax and Water 'n' Wine in New Glasgow from producing wine and beer in their shops.

The previous New Democratic government later ordered the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation to drop the case in the face of a growing public backlash.