The Wine Tax Calculator: More Fun Than Games

I’ve just stumbled upon a fascinating web site devoted to Canadian wine business. It’s called Wine Marketing + Law Canada, with an emphasis on British Columbia. Between the Marketing site and the Law site there is a ton of fruitful information about how to navigate the Canadian wine biz. The blog’s author is Mark Hicken, a Vancouver based marketing specialist and lawyer, who runs the Juice Marketing Group. He looks rather dodgey in this picture, like he’s just stolen those bottles, but online he comes off as a wine crusader.

His articles range from the how-to Internet & Search Engine Marketing for Wineries to the nostalgia-inducing Brief History of BC Wine & Liquor Laws, but my favorite is the BC Liquor Store Wine Markup Calculator. That’s were you can get an estimation of how much your wine costs the LBD and how much they make on each bottle.

Check it out: let’s enter $9.99 for the Nuviana Tinto from Spain, and hit submit. Here’s the result:

“Estimated Wholesale Cost (usually including winery cost, wholesale markup and freight) $3.19
Govt Taxes: 1.79 ( 0.92 federal GST/customs and 0.87 provincial PST)
LDB Markup: 4.41
LDB Fees: 0.60
About 56.1 % of the selling price is paid to both levels of government.*
The “Real BC Sales Tax Rate” is about 122.8%”

What a racket!

The calculator does make certain assumptions such as country of origin and alcohol rate, which may affect the end result slightly, so this is only an estimate. But what fun to know the numbers. To know that my ten dollar bottle is worth $6.80 to the government just makes it taste all of 122% better.

OK, how about $19.99 for the Dirty Laundry Chardonnay.
Results: Estimated Wholesale Cost for that bottle is: $ 7.20. “Real BC Sales Tax Rate”* is: 105.1 %

It’s interesting to see how the estimated “Real BC Sales Tax Rate” goes down as the price of the bottle goes up.

I’m telling you, this site is chock full of surprises, and the tax calculator alone can keep you entertained for minutes on end. But not all the information leaves a pleasant after taste and reading enough of it might just drive you to whiskey.

Speaking of the Nuviana Tinto – my current favorite cheap red sold north of the 49th parallel – the 2007 vintage has just hit the shelves. The vintage on the label is so faint I didn’t notice it at first, but after I opened and poured it through my new favorite toy, the Vinturi Aeroator, I took one sip and thought, what the??? This is not the elegant Nuviana I wrote up in January as being medium weight with bright red fruit. No, the 2007 is decidedly bolder with more tannic backbone and ripe, forward black and purple fruit jumping from the glass. The fruit is much sweeter than before, making me wonder how it tasted with dark chocolate cookies. The answer: not bad.

Another sweet surprise was the Dirty Laundry 2006 Chardonnay I brought home from Taylorwood last week. Again, I don’t have much experience with Dirty Laundry wines, but I found this one to be less like a chard than a viognier, with big ripe tropical fruit and apricot leading the apples and pears in a rich full mouthfeel. Floral and honeyed, this chardo-nier tasted great with the sesame-soy salmon we had for dinner.

So enjoy these wines while you can, especially the 50% or so that goes to the government.

Please give me your comments about Canadian wine taxes, and post them here on TRC. I’m curious to know what you think.

Mari Kane

Mari is a writer, blogger and WordPress consultant, living in Vancouver, BC, the most wine-soaked town north of the 49th Parallel. She also blogs about WordPress web design at Blogsite Follow her on Twitter or Google Plus.

One thought on “The Wine Tax Calculator: More Fun Than Games

  • March 8, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    So, MaryK, what do you think we should do? This is not only an embarrassment, it is also ROBBERY. Why should we, tax paying citizen who happen to enjoy wine, pay ridiculously high prices for our wine? This is theft and it deserves a class action law suit against the government of this province. Its a crying shame, as bad as other practices implemented and sanctified by this province elite, like animal trapping for furs, bear hunting and many others. Its time to stop this. Wine is no and should not be a luxury item but part of a healthy diet.

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