Wine Pricing - Canada and US

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OwenB
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Wine Pricing - Canada and US

#1 Post by OwenB » May 4th, 2019, 2:17 pm

Spending the weekend in Canada and finding incredible values on Italian wine but that US wine is very expensive (all relative to buying wine at retail in the US). I assume the US taxes imports more than Canada and perhaps other countries do the same to US wines. Any thoughts?
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    C. Mc Cart
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    Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

    #2 Post by C. Mc Cart » May 4th, 2019, 4:55 pm

    Depends on which province you're in. Your correct about US wine pricing in most provinces though.
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    Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

    #3 Post by Markus S » May 4th, 2019, 6:53 pm

    Yes, I think you need to break it down by Province, since that is how wine is sold. It's like saying "wine is cheaper in the United States than Europe", ignoring the fact that some states, like California and New York have very free import laws while some are much more restrictive.
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    Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

    #4 Post by Mark Y » May 4th, 2019, 7:03 pm

    Which province are you in and which Italians are u finding crazy value on?
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    Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

    #5 Post by OwenB » May 4th, 2019, 7:14 pm

    Markus - I think buying online in the US has eliminated much of what you’re talking about. I also understand there isn’t much differentiation between pricing of high end wines in provinces in Canada.

    That said, I’m in NS and am referring in particular to Antinori Tignanello 2015 for C$99 at retail and Il Poggione Brunello for C$110 at a nice restaurant.
    Last edited by OwenB on May 4th, 2019, 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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      Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

      #6 Post by Brian Glas » May 4th, 2019, 7:19 pm

      I thought the wine prices in BC are very high for imported wines. I get most of them much cheaper in the US.

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      Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

      #7 Post by R0$$ M 0 R R 1 $ 0 N » May 5th, 2019, 6:39 am

      Pricing varies by province. I'm in Ontario. Some wines are cheaper here than U.S. Other wines are less in the U.S. Overall, I'd say there are more that are less in the U.S. however steep duties bringing them back to Canada and the exchange makes many less advantageous for a Canadian buyer. The current exchange favours U.S. purchasing in Canada. Not sure about duty on taking wine back into the U.S. however, which needs to be factored in.

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      Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

      #8 Post by Gary York » May 5th, 2019, 7:18 am

      When I have talked to Canadians about both sides, only a small number, most seem to want to purchase wine in the US. Seemed like prices were better with more availability/choices. Also one of the regular comments was about how different each province was on pricing and availability back home.
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      Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

      #9 Post by R0$$ M 0 R R 1 $ 0 N » May 5th, 2019, 8:15 am

      Gary York wrote:
      May 5th, 2019, 7:18 am
      When I have talked to Canadians about both sides, only a small number, most seem to want to purchase wine in the US. Seemed like prices were better with more availability/choices. Also one of the regular comments was about how different each province was on pricing and availability back home.
      Part of the lure of shopping in the U.S. for Canadians is simply access. Our government monopoly (The KGBO) in Ontario, limits what can be offered and puts severe barriers in front of agents who want to bring in new items. They also tend to keep offerings to recent releases, with pricing on anything older being absurd. Very old bottles are simply not available except by auction, which has a whopping 39% buyer premium AND selling premium that starts out at 20%. So, the question of whether pricing is better on one side of the border or not varies, but the question of access to a broader range of wines or older bottles remains. There is no secondary market in Ontario other than the 1 KGBO sanctioned auction... and even there, selection is limited.

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      Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

      #10 Post by Arv R » May 5th, 2019, 8:58 am

      Brian Glas wrote:
      May 4th, 2019, 7:19 pm
      I thought the wine prices in BC are very high for imported wines. I get most of them much cheaper in the US.
      My (limited) experience in BC resort areas was the same. I was shocked at the prices that locals were paying.

      One time we were up there and my dad got pulled over by a Mounty. He had confused the 100KMH speed limit with a 100MPH limit. He was given a Scolding of Severe Censure. That was probably the fastest that station wagon had ever been driven in its life!
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      Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

      #11 Post by RichardFlack » May 5th, 2019, 4:43 pm

      Not quite sure I see the connection...

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      Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

      #12 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » May 5th, 2019, 5:00 pm

      RichardFlack wrote:
      May 5th, 2019, 4:43 pm
      Not quite sure I see the connection...
      845 posts and this I’d the first you’ve noticed Thread drift?

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      Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

      #13 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » May 5th, 2019, 5:01 pm

      Tom G l a s g o w wrote:
      May 5th, 2019, 5:00 pm
      RichardFlack wrote:
      May 5th, 2019, 4:43 pm
      Not quite sure I see the connection...
      845 posts and this I’d the first you’ve noticed Thread drift?
      Or ugly Americans for that matter.

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      Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

      #14 Post by RichardFlack » May 5th, 2019, 5:17 pm

      More like a shear than drift... anyway....

      One thing (among many) I find annoying with the KGBO is the way they drop producers. They will bring in a wine for a couple of years then stop. Makes it hard to build verticals etc. Unless of course it’s $25 Aussie Shiraz or Cal Cab in which case the tankers line up at the docks year in year out.

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      Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

      #15 Post by dougwilder » May 6th, 2019, 8:05 am

      I used to visit friends in Toronto and always made a trek to the Queen's Quay Vintages store because of their selection of Single Malt and once found an end cap of Kistler Chardonnay...
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      Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

      #16 Post by Jonathan H » May 6th, 2019, 1:55 pm

      I have found that in most cases, wine is almost always cheaper in my local provincial market in Canada. The only reason I shop in the US is because of access. There are a few producers that I love but they just don't have representation in my province so I am forced to buy them at high prices in the US if I want any (Foillard, Bartolo Mascarello, G. Rinaldi, Allemend, Gonon, etc.) Since I am not a regular at any US store, I don't have a discount or preferred pricing, combine that with the exchange rate and I end spending more than I would like to (but I dont have much of a choice if I want certain wines).
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      Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

      #17 Post by Chris Bod » May 6th, 2019, 3:19 pm

      I have typically found wine cheaper in the US - I am thinking of my last two trips to Phoenix and Hawaii. Alberta has all kinds of horrific duties and taxes that jack even BC juice.
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      Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

      #18 Post by Ramon C » May 6th, 2019, 3:40 pm

      I travel frequently to Toronto and at more than a few times visited local government-owned wine stores at Queen's Quay and along Bloor/Summerhill areas.

      I haven't found any wine that I would like to buy that's cheaper than when I canvass US online stores. All are 33% to 150% the prices that I would find locally in the US.
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      Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

      #19 Post by John Morris » May 6th, 2019, 4:16 pm

      OwenB wrote:
      May 4th, 2019, 7:14 pm
      Markus - I think buying online in the US has eliminated much of what you’re talking about. I also understand there isn’t much differentiation between pricing of high end wines in provinces in Canada.

      That said, I’m in NS and am referring in particular to Antinori Tignanello 2015 for C$99 at retail and Il Poggione Brunello for C$110 at a nice restaurant.
      The Tignanello is available many places south of the border for $60-$70. The Canadian dollar is about 77 cents US at the moment, so that price (=US$77) is slightly higher than you'd pay at home. [CORRECTION ON MAY 8: Those were half bottle prices. 750ml run $90 and up on Wine Searcher.]

      Restaurant markups are lower in Canada in my experience, but Il Poggione retails in the US for $55-$65, so that C$110 restaurant price (=US$85) is quite decent but still above US retail.

      I think those are probably anomolies. I don't know Nova Scotia's market, but I shopped in Vancouver several times a year for many decades, and prices on European wines were generally about twice what I'd pay in NY. I think the multiple may have been even higher on US wines, but I never bought those.

      The few times I checked out the government stores in Toronto, the selection was limited and the prices much higher than the US.

      Sadly, the taxes and the markups that the provinces take mean that Canadian wines are very expensive, too.
      Last edited by John Morris on May 8th, 2019, 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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      Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

      #20 Post by OwenB » May 6th, 2019, 5:46 pm

      John Morris wrote:
      May 6th, 2019, 4:16 pm

      The Tignanello is available many places south of the border for $60-$70. The Canadian dollar is about 77 cents US at the moment, so that price (=US$77) is slightly higher than you'd pay at home.

      John, thanks. where are you seeing the prices you cite for the Tignanello? I don’t see anything close to that at US retail.
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        Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

        #21 Post by Markus S » May 6th, 2019, 6:19 pm

        Jonathan H wrote:
        May 6th, 2019, 1:55 pm
        ... I am forced to buy them at high prices in the US if I want any ... Bartolo Mascarello, G. Rinaldi, Allemend, Gonon, etc.)
        Uh, these are all expensive ans unavailable for us Americans too! [wow.gif]
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        Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

        #22 Post by Chris V. » May 8th, 2019, 7:24 am

        Owen, I live in Ontario and generally agree. We often pay more for for just about everything, but many Italian producers are cheaper here. I don't know why but suspect it has to do with mark-ups. Perhaps distributors and retailers have higher margins on Italian wine in the US, whereas here in Ontario everything is on a fixed mark-up model.

        When I travel the the US I always bring back French and American wines and as along as I can avoid paying duty on my way back I save a bunch of money and can find things I can't find back home.

        I rarely buy Italian wine in the US. Especially not anything on release. Your example of Il Poggione is a good one. I've been buying the Normale at retail here since the 2006 vintage and have been paying $59 - $75 CAD (taxes and shipping included), which seems to be consistently cheaper than in the US. Using wine-searcher I'm also not seeing the prices John indicates on Tignanello.
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        Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

        #23 Post by Victor Hong » May 8th, 2019, 7:30 am

        RichardFlack wrote:
        May 5th, 2019, 5:17 pm
        More like a shear than drift... anyway....

        One thing (among many) I find annoying with the KGBO is the way they drop producers. They will bring in a wine for a couple of years then stop. Makes it hard to build verticals etc. Unless of course it’s $25 Aussie Shiraz or Cal Cab in which case the tankers line up at the docks year in year out.
        When the wind is very light, your boat can drift with currents or tide, and the sail telltales can also indicate wind shear.
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        Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

        #24 Post by John Morris » May 8th, 2019, 10:50 am

        OwenB wrote:
        May 6th, 2019, 5:46 pm
        John Morris wrote:
        May 6th, 2019, 4:16 pm

        The Tignanello is available many places south of the border for $60-$70. The Canadian dollar is about 77 cents US at the moment, so that price (=US$77) is slightly higher than you'd pay at home.

        John, thanks. where are you seeing the prices you cite for the Tignanello? I don’t see anything close to that at US retail.
        Oops. Those were half bottles. Never mind!
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        Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

        #25 Post by John Morris » May 8th, 2019, 10:58 am

        Chris V. wrote:
        May 8th, 2019, 7:24 am
        Owen, I live in Ontario and generally agree. We often pay more for for just about everything, but many Italian producers are cheaper here. I don't know why but suspect it has to do with mark-ups. Perhaps distributors and retailers have higher margins on Italian wine in the US, whereas here in Ontario everything is on a fixed mark-up model.

        ...

        I rarely buy Italian wine in the US. Especially not anything on release. Your example of Il Poggione is a good one. I've been buying the Normale at retail here since the 2006 vintage and have been paying $59 - $75 CAD (taxes and shipping included), which seems to be consistently cheaper than in the US. Using wine-searcher I'm also not seeing the prices John indicates on Tignanello.
        I have occasionally found good deals on Italian wines in Vancouver, both in the provincial stores and in private shops. But it's very occasional. A few times I've also found things that weren't available in the US (e.g., a 2012 Burlotto Barolo Monvigliero two years ago after Monvigliero became a must-have wine here in the States.)

        I suspect you're right that these bargains are explained by the fixed markups that the provincial liquor boards take. Importers and distributors in the US may cash in on demand for particular products. I could see that with Tignanello, which Antinori successfully made into a branded luxury good.
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        Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

        #26 Post by Jon Chan » May 8th, 2019, 11:03 am

        In my short buying experience:

        Wine at auction - ridiculous
        French wine purchased in the Quebec monopoly - wonderful, especially on the higher end goods.
        French wine purchased in the Ontario monopoly - wonderful, especially on the higher end goods.
        Wine purchased in the Ontario monopoly - lovely, if you love obscene mark ups on every single region in the world.
        Wine purchased in the BC monopoly - lovely, if you love to be gouged.

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        Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

        #27 Post by Ramon C » May 8th, 2019, 11:12 am

        The fixed mark-up on Italian bargains may explain the lower prices in Ontario.

        But how much of these bottles are available? I don't see them on the shelves and when I ask, the guy/gal would say they sold out the day they came out.
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        Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

        #28 Post by John Morris » May 8th, 2019, 11:13 am

        Jon Chan wrote:
        May 8th, 2019, 11:03 am
        French wine purchased in the Ontario monopoly - wonderful, especially on the higher end goods.
        Wine purchased in the Ontario monopoly - lovely, if you love obscene mark ups on every single region in the world.
        [scratch.gif]
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        Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

        #29 Post by Jim Stewart » May 8th, 2019, 11:28 am

        Arv R wrote:
        May 5th, 2019, 8:58 am
        Brian Glas wrote:
        May 4th, 2019, 7:19 pm
        I thought the wine prices in BC are very high for imported wines. I get most of them much cheaper in the US.
        My (limited) experience in BC resort areas was the same. I was shocked at the prices that locals were paying.

        One time we were up there and my dad got pulled over by a Mounty. He had confused the 100KMH speed limit with a 100MPH limit. He was given a Scolding of Severe Censure. That was probably the fastest that station wagon had ever been driven in its life!
        Late to this thread, but I saw the reaction about "what's the connection?" between your comment and the thread. The connection is obvious, linear, and direct to me, Arv, and it is the type of thread enrichment that I enjoy reading. Cheers.
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        Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

        #30 Post by John Morris » May 8th, 2019, 1:44 pm

        Jim Stewart wrote:
        May 8th, 2019, 11:28 am
        Late to this thread, but I saw the reaction about "what's the connection?" between your comment and the thread. The connection is obvious, linear, and direct to me, Arv, and it is the type of thread enrichment that I enjoy reading. Cheers.
        +1

        It reminded me of a friend's father, who was the CEO of McMillan Bloedel, then Canada's biggest lumber and pulp company, based in Vancouver. During the oil crisis in the early 70s, he drove down to Seattle for a meeting. But he forgot that the US had gone on daylight savings time in the winter to save energy and so he arrived an hour late.

        On the way home, he forgot that the US had imposed the 55 mph speed limit and was pulled over.

        We now return to our regularly scheduled bantering....
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        Re: Wine Pricing - Canada and US

        #31 Post by Jonathan H » May 8th, 2019, 2:35 pm

        Ramon C wrote:
        May 8th, 2019, 11:12 am
        The fixed mark-up on Italian bargains may explain the lower prices in Ontario.

        But how much of these bottles are available? I don't see them on the shelves and when I ask, the guy/gal would say they sold out the day they came out.
        That can be a major problem. You really do need to have a good relationship with a retail store that has a good relationship with the importer. Really depends on the wine though. For something like Tignanello or Il Poggione, availability is rarely a problem.
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