Law Seminars International Presents:

The 10th Annual Seminar on

Wine & Liquor Law

New wine and liquor regulations, plus current enforcement, market, and business trends

The Vancouver International Wine Festival

February 25, 2019

Vancouver, BC

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Program Overview

Who Should Attend

Attorneys and all professionals in the wine and liquor industry

Why You Should Attend

The tenth annual gathering of wine and liquor industry professionals will include discussions of the regulatory environment with content that is topical and vital for 2019. You'll first hear directly from the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch on liquor policy priorities. The regulatory update will include a report on the issues considered by the Minister's Business Technical Advisory Panel and the Panel's recommendations.

Trade issues, including the R. v. Comeau interprovincial shipping case, continue to take center stage. We'll discuss ways for small wineries to effectively implement the rules that emerged from the Supreme Court's decision. On the international trade front, the recent revisions to NAFTA include alcohol provisions that may, in order to satisfy the Americans, necessitate changes to the grocery store model and other areas.

Appellations are another area of international trade friction. We'll explore how BC's new geographical indications were created and how they're working out.

As BC's wine industry matures, it is interesting to look back on how it developed, and to consider how that will influence our approach to future challenges and opportunities. We are pleased to have Harry McWatters, one of the visionary pioneers for the industry, provide a 10-year retrospective.

We'll cap off the day with a wine tasting reception featuring Sid Cross's insights and commentary. We hope you will join us for a fun and informative program.

~ Mark Hicken of Vintage Law Group and Chris Wilson of Norton Rose Fulbright Canada, Program Co-Chairs

What You Will Learn

  • Liquor policy priorities for the coming year
  • Results of work performed by the Minister's Business and Technical Advisory Panel
  • Current interprovincial shipping restrictions
  • New international trade developments
  • Appellations: New BC geographical indications
  • Practical business strategy tips

What Attendees Have Said About Similar Programs

  • "This is a really great program with timely relevant information."
  • "Excellent program and conference!"
  • "Excellent faculty and great information shared. Thank you"

Monday, February 25, 2019

8:00 am

Registration Opens

8:30 am

Introduction & Overview

Mark Hicken , Program Co-Chair
Vintage Law Group / Vancouver, BC

Chris Wilson , Program Co-Chair
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada / Vancouver, BC

8:45 am

The Regulatory Environment for Production, Distribution, and Sale of Wine, Beer, and Spirits in British Columbia

Liquor policy priorities for the coming year; report on the issues considered by the Minister's Business Technical Advisory Panel and the Panel's recommendations

Douglas S. Scott , Associate Deputy Minister
Liquor Control and Licensing Branch / Victoria, BC

Mark Hicken , Program Co-Chair
Vintage Law Group / Vancouver, BC

10:15 am


10:30 am

Interprovincial Shipping Restrictions

What's next in terms of rules after the Supreme Court's decision to uphold interprovincial shipping restrictions in the Comeau case; update on subsequent trade discussions

Ian A. Blue, Q.C.
Gardiner Roberts / Toronto, ON

Arnold B. Schwisberg
Law Office of Arnold B. Schwisberg / Markham, ON

The current rules and how to make them work from a small winery's perspective

James A. D'Andrea, Q.C. , Chairman
Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery / Okanagan Falls, BC

12:00 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:15 pm

Revised International Trade Developments Affecting the Canadian Wine Industry

Provisions on alcohol in the new trade agreement with the U.S.; related issues such as potential changes to the grocery store model and WTO challenges to the BC system

Chris Wilson , Program Co-Chair
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada / Vancouver, BC

Charles Jefferson , Vice President, Federal & International Public Policy
The Wine Institute / Washington, DC

Christa-Lee McWatters Bond , Marketing Director
ENCORE Vineyards / Summerland, BC

2:45 pm


3:00 pm

Appellations: New BC Geographical Indications

Overview of how the recent Geographical Indication additions in BC were created

Chris Wilson , Program Co-Chair, Moderator
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada / Vancouver, BC

A winery's perspective on how they are working in BC

Ezra Cipes , CEO
Summerhill Pyramid Winery / Kelowna, BC

4:15 pm

Special Closing Address: A 10 Year Retrospective on the BC Wine Industry

A look back at development of the industry from one of the early pioneers and key issues and challenges for the future

R. Harry McWatters , Founder
Sumac Ridge Estate Winery Ltd / Summerland, BC

5:00 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn followed by Wine Tasting Reception for Faculty and Attendees

Sponsored by Norton Rose Fulbright and Vintage Law Group

Sid Cross , Wine & Food Judge, Global Honorary Past President
The International Wine & Food Society / Vancouver, BC

Faculty Bios

Mark Hicken, Mark Hicken, Program Co-Chair, is the founder of Vintage Law Group. He provides a full range of legal services to the wine industry. Last year, he served as the BC Government's Liquor Policy Advisor. In that capacity, Mark chaired the Business Technical Advisory Panel on Liquor Policy.

Chris Wilson, Chris Wilson, Program Co-Chair, is a Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada. He is an experienced litigator, recognized by Chambers Global, Best Lawyers, World's Leading Trademark Professionals and others in the area of intellectual property litigation.

Ian A. Blue, Q.C., Ian A. Blue, Q.C., is Of Counsel to Gardiner Roberts, focusing on energy and regulatory law. He was lead counsel for Gerard Comeau on the R. v. Comeau case in the Supreme Court of Canada, for which a decision was released on April 19, 2018.

Ezra Cipes Ezra Cipes is the CEO of Summerhill Pyramid Winery. He has taken a leadership role in the Canadian wine industry as a director of the Canadian Vintners Association, Vice-Chair of the British Columbia Wine Institute, and Chair of the BC Wine Appellation Task Group.

Sid Cross Sid Cross is co-founder of The Chefs' Table Society of BC. He is globally recognized for his extensive wine and food knowledge and his tasting memory. He is the Canadian to be inducted as a Membre d'Honneur of the L'Academie du vin de Bordeaux and has been promoted by the French Government from Chevalier to Officer status in the Ordre du Merite Agricole.

James A. D'Andrea, Q.C., James A. D'Andrea, Q.C., founded Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery with his wife, Leslie, and serves as its Chairman. When they bought the property, it had 3.5 acres of grapes. It now has 24 acres and is yielding award winning wines. Mr. D'Andrea is a Retired Partner of Bennett Jones LLP.

Charles Jefferson Charles Jefferson is Vice President, Federal & International Public Policy at The Wine Institute. The Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group representing 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses responsible for 85 percent of the nation's wine production and 90 percent of U.S. wine exports.

R. Harry McWatters, R. Harry McWatters, Founder of Sumac Ridge Estate Winery Ltd, has been involved with the BC wine industry since 1968. He also established Vintage Consulting Group Inc. to provide consulting services on all aspects of the wine business, from site selection of vineyards to marketing of the end product.

Christa-Lee McWatters Bond Christa-Lee McWatters Bond is the Marketing Director for ENCORE Vineyards. She previously served as BC Sales Manager for Sumac Ridge Estates Wine Group.

Arnold B. Schwisberg, Arnold B. Schwisberg, Law Office of Arnold B. Schwisberg, served as in-house counsel to Magnotta Winery Corporation (MGN:TE) before entering private practice. He was lead counsel in R. v. Comeau, a constitutional challenge about trade barriers affecting the cross-provincial movement of liquor in Canada.

Douglas S. Scott Douglas S. Scott is Associate Deputy Minister providing oversight for the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB), BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC), Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB), and Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB).

Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: This program qualifies for 6.5 BC MCLE credits. Upon request, we will apply for, or help you apply for, CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.


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Metropolitan Hotel Vancouver

645 Howe Street in Vancouver, BC V6C 2Y9
(604) 687-1122

The seminar will be held at the Metropolitan Hotel Vancouver at 645 Howe Street in Vancouver, BC V6C 2Y9. Call the hotel directly at (604) 687-1122 for reservations.
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