Ottawa’s recent move to decriminalize interprovincial wine shipments has fuelled investor interest in the burgeoning sector of direct-to-consumer wine shipments.
Calgary’s Blacksquare announced June 21 that it has landed more than $1 million in financing from a small group of investors, including British Columbians. It has also landed Vancouver technology investor and entrepreneur Judy Bishop as its chief marketing officer.
The nine-employee, two-year-old Blacksquare’s main product is software that wineries, wine clubs and wine retailers use to facilitate ecommerce orders on their websites.
B.C.’s minister responsible for liquor distribution, Rich Coleman, told Business in Vancouver last week that online retailing of wine remains illegal in B.C.
B.C. wineries can ship products to other British Columbians. But Coleman said out-of-province shipments will be subject to the province’s laws. All other provinces either have laws or policies forbidding residents from ordering wine on the Internet.
“Direct-to-consumer ecommerce is a freight train and this particular regulatory bump is just that,” Bishop told Business in Vancouver June 21. “It’s not just Canada. Everywhere in the world, direct-to-consumer wine sales are skyrocketing.”