Nova Scotia

N.S. vintners hope for end of Prohibition-era rule

Nova Scotia wine makers are hoping a private member's bill introduced Monday in the House of Commons will soon make it possible for them to ship their wine to customers outside the province.

Nova Scotia wine makers are hoping a private member's bill introduced Monday in the House of Commons will soon make it possible for them to ship their wine to customers outside the province.

Hanspeter Stutz, the owner of Grand Pre Wines in Wolfville, says it happens all the time — someone from out-of-province comes into the winery and asks him to ship a case back home for them.

"Yeah, it's very often especially during the tourism season," Stutz said Monday.

But he, like other winery owners, has to say no, he is unable to do so.

"Most of the people have no idea that it's officially not allowed to ship a box of wine to another province," Stutz said.

Only provincial liquor corporations and boards can legally move alcohol between provinces.

It's because of a federal anti-bootlegging law from the 1920s that's still on the books. Under Canada's Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act, vintners cannot send a case of wine to a customer outside Nova Scotia. Even carrying a bottle of wine across a provincial border is illegal.

Dan Albas, the Conservative MP, who introduced the bill to change the law, represents British Columbia's wine country.

"So I believe this bill will greatly benefit regions like Annapolis Valley, as it will the Niagara region in Ontario and the Okanagan-Coquihalla riding in my home riding," he said.

Nova Scotia vintners say changing the law would not drastically affect Nova Scotia Liquor Corp coffers, because direct-to-consumer shipments from wineries would only make up a small fraction of overall sales.

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