Smooth sailing for this year’s Belfry wine auction

B.C.'s liquor control branch will be using the Oct. 27 event as a pilot project to update its charitable fundraising rules

The Belfry Theatre’s annual wine auction won’t be ensnared by outdated liquor policy this year.

In fact, B.C.’s liquor control branch will be using the Oct. 27 event as a pilot project to update its charitable fundraising rules, said Ivan Habel, general manager at the Belfry.

“They’re testing the application process itself, and from our end, whether it’s easy enough to complete,” Habel said.

In October 2012, the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch threw the province’s charities into a panic when it denied a special occasion licence for the Belfry’s annual wine auction, Crush.

The province claimed the auctioning of donated wine was illegal, despite the fact that charities across B.C. had been hosting such fundraisers for decades.

Now, charities will be watching the Belfry closely for signs of what they can expect when the province completes its liquor policy review later this fall.

Details are still being negotiated around the amount of pre-event reporting required by charities, as well as how to tax charities for donated wines, Habel said.

“Things seem to be moving forward,” he said.

The LCLB’s involvement in the Belfry’s event is part of a comprehensive liquor policy review, headed by former multiculturalism minister John Yap.

Crush, which features rare wines from private collections, takes place Oct. 27 at the Inn at Laurel Point.

For more information, visit tickets.belfry.bc.ca or call 250-385-6815.