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We’ll be closed on Monday, May 20th for the holiday.

Here’s a thought to ponder:

Even if the Maniotba Liquor Control is being modernized, it may still remain archaic as compared to other provinces. There are many areas we could touch on but will limit ourselves to two items.

First, U-Brews and U-Vins. These are facilities where the public can come and both purchase a wine kit, and make it on site without the need for your own equipment, and then have it babysat by the staff until its ready to go. Of course, this practice is regulated appropriately including health and cleanliness standards.

There are plenty of reasons why such a service is desired by many people, the least of which is not that many people who live in condos or apartments lack the space to store the wine and equipment. Its also much more convenient to have a staff that is experienced handle the wine while its going through the various stages.

Much like a dine-in restaurant, takeout or delivery service preparing a meal so that you can relax, the U-Vin is simply a service to accomodate the space and care required to prepare the wine you are making.

Manitoba is behind the times on this one, with 8 provinces currently permitting these establishments to operate. Go figure – Manitoba is in the same category as Alberta as the only two provinces not on board – yet. We get plenty of individuals who have moved to Winnipeg from these other provinces looking for this service in their new community, and we have to deliver the news that we are handcuffed.

Secondly, Manitoba has made some moves forward with respect to the MLCC in recent years. Right now, it is permittable for a restaurant to allow patrons to bring in their own previously purchased commercially produced wine for consumption – at a fee. That fee varies by the type of establishment you are going to. Right now we don’t know of many restaurants that do allow this, but the law is in place. Where this falls apart is that the law notably calls out "commerically produced" wines as being eligible for a patron to bring with them. In some provinces, a patron can bring in their own wine – commercially produced or otherwise.

For instance, my own experience in Old Montreal was a fee of $6 per bottle and it didn’t matter if you made it or if you bought it. Some more upscale restaurants charged as much as $20, but the fee always reflected the general price structure of the particular establishment.

So in Manitoba we are lagging behind a bit, but the MLCC is working on getting us up to date – at the usual snail’s pace of legislative change of course.