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Vancouver Wine Lovers Act Now


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And I'm currently waiting for the delivery of my 500 bottle cellar/cooler unit, scheduled for later today. It's syncronicity I tell you.

And rather than fantasing about becoming an intermediate depot for the LDB, a more serious issue is do we know how the wine is shipped? Temp controlled or not?

I'm phoning head office right now, this should be fun...

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Let us know the results of that phone call Keith.

I'm guessing that from the distress of the industry people, these containers are not temp controlled. When I see my mom this weekend, I will get her to post something herself.

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Holy crap. Phone picked up on first ring, transfered to a buyer who was happy to speak with me.

The LDB specifies on its' P.O's (Purchase Orders) that the wine should be shipped in a manner that insures the product is protected against both heat and cold. It's up to the agents to determine what method to use. There assuredly is containers of vino baking while we speak. They will not be accepted by the LDB if they are not of the quality specified in the P.O., it will be the agents problem to deal with wine spoiled due to not sitting in temp controlled units. (My guess? Hello Calgary!)

For what it's worth, it sounds like standard "big buyer" quality assurance practices, ie. "sell us shit and we'll not pay for it nor will we buy from you again." The onus is on the vendor to make sure the goods are good.

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Good to know they actually answered.

That's what I'm starting to gather from my mom. After it's been sitting out, it just won't be sold which means that there will be a shortage for quite some time. If the wineries are not shipping into Vancouver right now, that means that stock will not be shipped until the dispute is over, and you are looking at at least 6 weeks before anything will leave the wineries. If Christmas stock is being sent now, for Nov/Dec, if this goes on another month, that stock won't be here until Jan/Feb, which will be a little late.

It seems as though we are going to be short of quite a few things, not just booze!

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Last night I had a dream.

I was a foggy knight.

Tony Bourdain was with me. He wielded the crowbar.

The media liaison for the Vancouver Police was video-cording us.

Tony yanked open the first container. It was filled to capacity with Retsina!

The media liaison urged us to open a bottle (she was thirsty).

We did...

Incredible! The heat and conditions in the container had miraculously transformed this resinous Greek white into a fabulous New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc knockoff.

Sometimes change is a good thing. :rolleyes:


Ríate y el mundo ríe contigo. Ronques y duermes solito.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Snore, and you sleep alone.

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For what it's worth, and it's not like I'm not talking completely out of my ass here, but this thing will be resolved sooner rather than later. The problem for the strikers is their window of opportunity will soon close as ships are diverted and alternate routes are established for goods to flow, at that point, they become irrelevant and any negotiating leverage they have evaporates. Then again, I never thought the NHL would be so stupid as to blow off a season.

And hopefully we'll see some good stuff from the west coast start filling shelves. California has seen it's market share in BC dwindle, (mostly due to greedy pricing policies.) Oregon and Washington are horribly unrepresented. Bring it on. This coincides nicely with the California wine glut, maybe some sharp agents/importers/wineries will see the opportunity. I'm ready for a big glass of Zin.

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I am extremely thankful that I do not have any containers waiting in dock, but many wine agents are not as fortunate. That is not to say that we have escaped this situation unscathed as the long term effects on wine import sales may be severe.


Letter from the Import Vintners & Spirits Association (an association representing most liquor import agencies in BC) to the BC Government.

"[...] As you are aware, the current Vancouver dock strike is affecting our

businesses substantially. Media reports discussing the susceptibility of

our products sitting on the docks are not overrated. There are a number

of short term and long term issues associated with the dock strike which

make it all the more damaging to our industry in general and to the over

500 employees involved in our agencies in British Columbia

Almost without exception, agents have full containers, most of which

are not temperature controlled, filled with beer, wine and spirits,

exposed to the weather. The current outside temperatures mean that

many of these products could, quite possibly, be un-drinkable by the

time they are received in the marketplace. The cost of all of the

affected orders from all wine, beer and spirit importers is most

certainly in the tens of millions of dollars. The financial exposure

to agents for these products is incredible and will possibly place the

viability of some agents in jeopardy.

At this point, responsibilities for these products seems to lie solely

with the agents; insurance will not cover potential losses , container

companies will almost certainly charge extra rental for their containers

and freight forwarders will demand payment for their services. Add to

this, the potential negative and damaging effects to the import

industry and to the confidence for consumers shopping in our retail

stores and we find that the possibility exists to negatively impact our

entire industry for an extended period of time.


Latitude Cellars, Wine Imports


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A little heat is OK.....but sitting in the docks while not in a "refer" bin. Damn! I wonder whether stuff from Europe comes via ports in Montreal? and then is trucked west? Pretty sure the stuff from California is OK, likely sitting in a bonded and temp. controlled warehouse in Napa waiting to be trucked up as needed - who knows though. I recall a story at Cambie where someone noted that the corks appeared to be pushed up on some new Burgs on the floor - true sing of bad things. The staff member replied, pushing down the cork, no they do not. Look for the loose foi or any evaporated wine under the foil edgesl. If the foil is not tightly secured and appears dented. Run....I say Run.

officially left egullet....

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We were discussing your plight yesterday, and wondering how many companies can afford to reroute through Seattle.

I assume that the US/Wa State will charge some hefty import duties to let anything pass through, in addition to the extra costs of trucking it north once it comes in here, I'd think that would all add up pretty fast.

I hope it all gets resolved soon for everyone's sake.

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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To answer Deborah and Mark's question, the regular route for European containers is to ship to Montreal and transfer onto rail to Vancouver. The interim solution, once they realized that all those containers were piling up here at CN's rail yard, is to rail to Edmonton or Calgary, then transfer again and truck to Vancouver. However the Alberta long-haul truckers are feeling the strain now too, but at least the containers are in the queue to move. Ours are still stationary and will be for some time...

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Oh for Gods Sake, give them their fuel surcharge. BC ferries did it.

Cabs did it. Why not truck drivers. If I was netting 50 a day, I would be postal too. I want my wine and ginger. I am a new world girl. I need a regular influx of Shiraz and Galangal. Please help me.

This is one of the biggest ports in NA. Show them the damn money. They have a point.

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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forget the strike for a moment. What happens to wine in the winter? what about a day or two in a hot container in the summer, or in the back of a hot truck all afternoon. That stuff happens year in, year out. Exactly how long has wine been sitting on the docks?

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I spoke directly with the BCLDB. Imported Spirits and beers are starting to run low. Wine is not a problem yet and they are considering having it shipped to Seattle and trucked up. Lets hope that doesn't happen.

I have new dining room chairs that are sitting in a container some where and I would like to get them sooner rather than later.

Soon enough I guess.

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  • 3 weeks later...

CBC Story link.

The containers are moving again, but it is going to take anywhere from a month to three (depending on who you believe) to clear the backlog and approach normal port operations again. Many of the trucking brokers are not happy with the Vince Ready deal, terms under which all moving containers are operating, and the Feds have 90 days to come up with a "permanent" solution.

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  • 2 months later...
I had some very good advice from my mom the other evening, "If you want to buy any wine, buy it now!"

Her company has had several containers of wine from South Africa, France, etc., that have been sitting on the docks since the container drivers strike began.  It seems that all the wine hitting the market once this dispute is over will be "cooked" from the heat we've having and it's best to avoid that.  I'm sure companies will be ordering more stock from the wineries, but that can take months for a shipment to actually arrive and get through customs, plus the cost of it all etc. 

Stock up now!

One of the frustrating things about the news is that there is rarely a follow-up story.

After reading about a wine warehouse fire in California (NYT, Wed, Nov.2) that destroyed up to $100 million worth of wine, I remembered this post on the container drivers strike in Vancouver.

Well what did happen to all that presumably cooked wine?

Was it indeed cooked? Did any wine reps actually taste the wine? How bad was it?

Enquiring minds want to know.

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