My Quebec contraband per Prohibition-era law

A couple months back, I wrote about a food co-op in Gatineau, Quebec called Marché de solidarité régionale de l’Outaouais. This local food distribution cooperative offers products from the Outaouais region’s farmers, manufacturers, and artisans. For a 15% premium over the producer’s regular price, customers can place their orders online and pick up their order at a downtown Hull location. The cost to join is $20/year.

I decided to join this co-op for a couple reasons. One is that the co-op includes some of my favourite producers in Ripon, Quebec, including Ferme Fée et Fougère (organic meat), Ferme aux Pleines Saveurs (organic produce and amazing strawberry pies), and Fermes Les Folies Bergères (sheep cheese).

The other reason for joining is that the co-op sells wine and ice cider from some terrific Quebec wineries. My order today included strawberry wine from Domaine Mont-Vézeau and ice cider from Vignoble du Clos Baillie. In the future, I will order ice wine from Verger Croque-Pomme, and the 2011 organic wines from Domaine des Vignobles Météores.

It’s really great to be able to order local wines and pick them up with my other local products from the co-op. The only problem is… it’s ILLEGAL for me to take these wines across the border to Ontario. Should the government decide to prosecute me for this act, I would be risking a fine, jail time, and/or a criminal record! Ridiculous, isn’t it!

Fortunately, there is a new organization called Free My Grapes that is lobbying to change this antiquated law. The rules against moving alcohol across provincial borders were established in the Prohibition era. This has resulted in a situation where Canadians can bring back wine from vacations in other countries, but can’t buy wine in another province and bring it home with them. Which means that I’m really not supposed to be ordering wine from the Outaouais co-op and bringing it home to Ontario. By the way, if anyone asks, I brought the wine to our cabin in Quebec and left it there. 🙂

If you agree that this law needs to be changed, please visit the Free My Grapes website and read more about how you can spread the word and let your elected representatives know that you want the law changed. In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying my Quebec products, even if it means I’m breaking the law to do it.