Freeing the hostage grapes

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If there is something that the current wine war between Alberta and British Columbia underlines, it is the tenuous access that Canadian wineries in one province have to consumers in another.

B.C. vintners are feeling the bite of Alberta’s trade action against the province; Albertan fans of B.C. wines are finding it hard to swallow; but both are helpless.

Because, today, if a Canadian wine is not available from the liquor retail stores of your home province, you just can’t access it unless you drive to the province and bring bottles back on your person. This is a relic of the Prohibition era legislation which gave provincial governments and liquor boards the right to restrict the delivery of wine from one province to another. And it has not — in the many intervening years since — yet been replaced.

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