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I live on the ocean, write women's fiction, love to read so much that it's an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it's a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wine and whine ...

I live in Vancouver. About 1000 miles south of me, my friend Lisa and her husband Greg live in northern California. Both British Columbia and California have large wine industries and basically - though not exactly because California is that 1000 miles south - the same climates for growing grapes.

For me to buy BC wine, I pay two or three times as much as Lisa and Greg pay for a similar (or better) California wine. I understand that there are economics of scale - BC has about 4.5 million people; California has about 37 million people.

I'm willing to account - and accept - this fact. There's nothing we in BC can do about that.

I'm also willing to accept the fact that our wine industry is much newer than California's and so we aren't at the place where they are, and have been, and won't be ourselves for many decades.

But it's the taxes that drive me crazy. If I buy a $17 bottle of wine in a government owned liquor store (and up until a few years ago that was our only choice) $6 of that is tax. If I buy a California wine like I did last week and paid $17 for it, I checked and found that I could buy the same wine in California for $6. Some of this is transportation. I get that. Some of it is customs duty. I get that. But if they started out buying the bottle at (obviously) less than $6 - why, oh why, is the bottle of wine now $17 and not, say, $12?

Taxes. Taxes. Taxes.



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