B.C. corks luxury tax for premium wines

After protests from restaurants and wineries, Justice Minister Suzanne Anton scraps increase for bottles retailing for $20 or more

Wineries and restaurants pushed back on the plan to increase the tax rate on wines retailing for $20 a bottle or more.

The B.C. government has put a cork in its plan to charge a higher tax on higher-end wines.

“Since we released our wholesale pricing model in November, we’ve heard concerns from the industry about the pricing structure for wines over $20 a bottle,” Justice Minister Suzanne Anton said Friday. “We are reducing the mark-up for this category – levelling out the wholesale price for wines that would have been impacted.”

A major concern for wine stores and B.C. restaurants was the change to the province’s wholesale pricing formula for wine that ends the discount advantage for independent wine stores.

It meant little change or even cheaper prices for wines that now cost $15 and under. But the final retail price of pricier bottles was expected to rise sharply starting in April, in both private and government stores, and in restaurants.

B.C. Restaurant and Foodservice Association president Ian Tostenson said restaurants must pay retail prices and usually charge their patrons double, so the price of a premium bottle when having dinner out would have jumped 10 to 20 per cent.

The change to a single wholesale price for every product takes effect April 1, the same date B.C. is permitting private or government liquor sales in separated spaces inside grocery stores. Another change to allow only B.C. wines to be sold directly from grocery shelves has attracted a U.S. challenge under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Currently the Liquor Distribution Branch, the government monopoly wholesaler, sells products to government stores at cost and sets a minimum price for all retailers. The wholesale price for private retail stores is 16 per cent less than the government retail price, rural agency stores pay 12 per cent less, and stores that sell only B.C. wine get a 30 per cent discount.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Gold Rush star dons Lucky Lager shirt in latest episode

Brennan Ruault, originally from Invermere, joined the show in the sixth season

VIDEO: Dashcam records near-miss by bad driver near Sooke

Driver crossed four lanes of traffic and back over again, barely missing three other vehicles

Homes fit for royals for sale in North Saanich

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have returned to Greater Victoria

VIDEO: Protesters block entrance to Victoria government building to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

Activists want Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs demands to be upheld, observed and respected

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Police suspect foul play in Cowichan Tribes death

Police are looking at foul play in relation to a death on… Continue reading

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

Most Read