“Special” Orders

Now that Bill C-311 has passed federally, the provinces are stating that they will need to “look at it”, but in the meantime provincial liquor boards are telling their consumers that little has changed.   To be helpful they are letting you, the consumer, know that if you want to buy a Canadian wine that is not carried by your provincial liquor board then you can contact their SPECIAL ORDERS DESK and they will kindly order it in for you.


Let’s take a look at how that system works in BC if I want to buy a bottle of wine from a winery in Ontario.  Just 7 easy steps and 4 notes away!

  1. Download the Special Orders form
  2. Complete the form for the wine you want with as much details as possible
  3. Submit the form
  4. The purchasing department of the BCLDB will contact the supplier and find out availability and quote you a price
  5. Review your order
  6. Sign the quote
  7. The Special Orders Desk will order the wine for you.

Easy as 1, 2, 3…er…4, 5, 6, 7.

Now for the fine print (I love fine print, it’s so… fine).

  1. Minimum order 1 case
  2. Step 4 takes 4-6 weeks 
  3. Delivery time 4-8 weeks for a domestic supplier
  4. Orders are subject to social responsibility and heath guidelines.  I assume that you must be of legal drinking age to order wine.  Of course, understandable.

Recap Process and Time: 7 steps, 2-3.5 months order time


Now let’s look at the price quote you will see.  Since you are ordering through a provincial liquor board you will be subject to paying the markup charged by said liquor board on top of the retail price of the wine.  I didn’t have the patience to go through the above process to get a quote for a wine from out of province (feel free to do yourself, remember, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…etc) but I did have a friend in Nova Scotia get a price quote from their NSLC for a bottle of our 2009 Cabernet Franc ($19.99 retail at winery).

Case price through Nova Scotia Special Orders Desk: $19.99 x 12 bottles + 85% markup (on a price that already includes has BC taxes) + $127.65 shipping one case = $571.53

Case price direct to consumer from our winery: $19.99 x 12 bottles, less 10% for case discount + $56 shipping* = $271.89

*Note: The shipping quote is what it would cost us to ship to Nova Scotia…if we could…  which we can’t…so we don’t…but if we did it would be $56

Price Recap: $47.63/btl NSLC Special Orders versus $22.66/btl Direct to Consumer


About Sandra Oldfield

You can find out a bit more about me through the "About Me" page at the top of my blog.
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5 Responses to “Special” Orders

  1. Ramona says:

    Yup. Pretty much ridiculous.

  2. sharon says:

    To “feel that special” would cost a wine customer 2.102 times more Canadian dollars to go through the special orders desk than through the winery and would allow the customer up to 3.5 months to forget what they ordered! That is truly “special”.

  3. alazscar says:

    A great summary, Sandra. And we have a federal government signing free trade agreements with anyone who will listen!!! Only OUTSIDE of Canada, pity!

    • I know, and yesterday heard one province say that since they are not a wine producing province they would need something reciprocal that BC would take from them in order to let BC wine in. Sounded a lot like NAFTA but INSIDE Canada. Sigh…

  4. heatherem2 says:

    What a mess! I tried to work through the process of ordering from within Ontario. After some googling, I discovered this site: http://www.doingbusinesswithlcbo.com/. The site provides a 10 page PDF on how to order wine that is not in the LCBO system. Similar to what you described above, there is 1) a special form to fill out, 2) up to 6 weeks to determine availabilty, 3) a price quote (no obvious info on wait time or import levies), 4) a labratory testing waiver that possibly needs to be signed, 5) an option to ship standard or pay premium for air shipping, 5) unclear instructions on where to pick up the product

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