Canada’s Wine Price Rip-Off Worse than Ever

Canadians who have shopped for wine in the U.S. are often shocked to see the difference in prices. For a long time now, we’ve been aware of the outright theft that goes on under the guise of “taxation” and “mark-up” of Canadian retail wines.  Canadians get hosed when it comes to buying any kind of liquor.  But things are getting worse.

In the Old Ruminator’s home province of British Columbia there have been great strides recently in making wine, especially BC Grown VQA wine, available through grocery stores and specialty wine shops.

But something must be done about the ridiculous trend in wine pricing.

On a recent trip across the boarder to Washinton State, I noticed two wines in particular which were so dramatically cheaper than their identical cousins in Canada, I just had to capture the evidence for posterity.

The first example (seen below) is a California red blend made by Bogle. The price of a 750ml bottle at Trader Joes in Bellingham, $8.99 U.S.; the price of the same bottle at Everything Wine in BC $35.99 Cdn. (Incidentally this is an excellent wine)  There is no way that any level of reasonable taxation, currency exchange or mark-up can account for that unbelievable difference. (about 4 times more costly in BC than in Washington)

But that’s a U.S. wine, you say, and perhaps that accounts for the difference. Or maybe it’s because “Bogle” is not one of the more popular brands in Canada.  Well not so fast.

Here’s another example of one of the world’s most popular wines, Yellowtail Big Bold Red, from Australia.  Priced in Bellingham’s Fred Meyer’s at $7.99 U.S for 1.5ltre bottle. ($7.19 if you were to buy six) Meanwhile, the price in British Columbia government Liquor Store outlets for a bottle HALF the size is $13.79 Cdn.  Outrageous! (that’s roughly three times more expensive in BC than in Washinton)

These prices are before sales taxes, which in BC are about 12% and in Washington State about 7%. So the end price difference, after tax, is even more outrageous.  We are being robbed in Canada and it’s time we started making a stink about it.

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