Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Liquor Boards to License Wine Writers in Canada

This just in from WNS (Weird News Service) --
TORONTO -- (WNS) --  The Liquor Control Boards of Canada has today announced that
it will begin licensing alcohol beverage writers in Canada. A spokesman for the LCBs,
who asked to be nameless, said that this would be yet another source of revenue for the
coffers of the provincial governments. "We like to grab a lot of money from the alcohol
beverage industry. It makes us feel good, and it pads our bottom line."
Exemptions would be made, of course, for those writers who contribute to the government's own
"Food and Drink" and "Cellar" magazines. But other publications such as "Toronto Life", "Tidings",
"Vines" , "TAPS" and "Wine Access" would be forced to hire only licensed wine
writers or writers from other countries.  Newspapers and broadcasters will also have to
apply for licensed writer status.
Accreditation would be essential, according to the government. There will be no
grandfathering. Each writer would have to pay to take an online course, which is
several weeks in duration, followed by a comprehensive fault and flaw analysis tasting,
followed by a tasting of Ontario and BC wines (not necessarily VQA and not necessarily grapes).
Beer and spirit writers will have their own nosing programs.
Those who succeed in these endeavours will be invited to take the test which is a
necessary prelude to the licensing process.  There will be testing fees and annual levies
assessed for membership. It is also anticipated that the liquor boards will receive a 15% royalty
on all alcohol beverage writing fees, but it is unclear whether these funds will come from
the publication or from the writer or, as in the case of wine auctions, from both.
All writing about alcohol in Canada must be submitted to the provincial Quality Assurance
Laboratories for controls over the expressions in writing and the actual tasting notes, for a
fee. Any re-submissions, extra proofreading, and heavy copyediting will be assessed a
separate fee, which must be paid by the writer and not the publication.
When asked about photographs, the spokesperson denied their existence. "We get
all our shots from stock libraries". When asked about blogging, he said that
"Everybody blogs. Nobody has any time to read any of them…we really don't care."
Administration of the provincial programs will need some co-ordination, and is expected to take up some time, perhaps employing over 100 civil servants in the operation.
Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at

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