A privately owned wine store in Saskatoon has shut down, along with the company that owned it.


Cava Wines and Spirits, Saskatoon's first privately owned wine store, has closed its doors much earlier than its original closing date of May 29. (Dan Zakreski/CBC)

Board members with Cava Secreta, which owned Cava Wines and Spirits, said they have recently learned that the company owes more than $100,000 in back taxes.

In addition to owning Saskatoon's first privately owned wine store, Cava Secreta also had a stemware and gourmet food store and a coffee shop.

"It's devastating. It's an awful feeling," Brad Birnie, the company's interim chief executive officer, told CBC News on Monday.

"To have people be disappointed, and the staff be disappointed, and us not being able to fulfill our obligations to them, that's also a bad feeling."

The back taxes are the latest in Cava Secreta's woes, which began in March when the wine store lost its liquor licence.

Cava Wines was found to have violated its licence for buying alcohol directly from an Alberta supplier and not through the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority.

The wine store was supposed to shut down on May 29.

But in recent days, the company's bank accounts were frozen because of back taxes, resulting in employees' paycheques bouncing, according to board members.

Cava Secreta's employees were handed termination notices last week.

On Friday, TD Bank served a notice of motion for receivership, meaning board members and shareholders will not be allowed to wind down the business.

Birnie and other board members allege that information about the back taxes had been withheld by Cameron Rizos, who was Cava Secreta's CEO until he was ousted last week.

The board members said it is unlikely that any of Cava Secreta's stores will reopen.

"We thought it was a golden opportunity to have the lone licence to sell liquor outside of the SLGA in Saskatoon. We thought it was a great opportunity," Birnie said.