Wine on Sundays

Four Ontario wine store chains will open Sundays once the provincial government passes legislation allowing seven-days-a-week shopping, although the openings will likely be piecemeal.Roland Dunning, executive director of corporate services for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, says there will not...

Four Ontario wine store chains will open Sundays once the provincial government passes legislation allowing seven-days-a-week shopping, although the openings will likely be piecemeal.

Roland Dunning, executive director of corporate services for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, says there will not be across-the-board openings.

Dunning says when the provincial legislation is passed, those wine stores in municipalities which do not want wine sold Sundays and have a bylaw to back their opposition will not get approval.

The four wine chains affected are Brights Wines, the largest with 67 stores, Andres Wines with 44 stores, and Hillebrand Estates Winery and Cartier Wines & Beverages, with 42 stores each.

LCBO supersedes

Dunning says the Retail Business Holidays Act regulates the hours of operation of wine stores, but the Liquor Control Act of Ontario supersedes it, which means the lcbo controls the days they can open.

The provincial government has been pilloried by business, the public and border-town politicians for opposing Sunday shopping.

Until the Sunday shopping law is changed – and no one, including Ontario’s ndp government, seems to know when that will be – the police have been told not to charge retailers opening on Sunday.

Some profit

David Hurdon, director of operations for Cartier’s chain The Wine Rack, says some stores would make a profit by opening Sundays, but adds others would not get any custom.

Hurdon says he has looked at the competition and found that Brights and Andres have no immediate plans to open Sundays, and Hillebrand is only open that day at its winery location in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

An exemption in the Retail Business Holidays Act allows Sunday retail sales of products related to tourist attractions.

Hillebrand gives tours of its wine-making operations and has sold wine on Sundays since 1989.

The lcbo recently gave stores in winery locations approval to take credit cards for payment.

These same regulations apply to beer.

Breweries, whether micro or major, can sell their product Sundays because they offer tours to visitors.