Dan Albas – Wine Person of the Year for 2012

The National Capital Sommelier Guild is delighted to honour Mr. Dan Albas, Member of Parliament for Okanagan–Coquihalla, as its 2012 Wine Person of the Year. The award was presented at the Guild’s annual gala dinner at the National Arts Center on January 19.

Mr. Albas introduced and was the driving force behind Private Members Bill C-311, which passed with unanimous support of the House of Commons and Senate on June 28, 2012. The bill amended the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act and removed federal restrictions prohibiting Canadians from moving wine purchased for personal use from one province to another.

“Mr. Albas’ efforts mean a great deal not only to wine enthusiasts,” said Bill Ellis, President of the National Capital Sommelier Guild, “but also to Canada’s wine industry and our national economy. His private-member’s bill removes an obsolete trade barrier and encourages the repeal of similar provincial and territorial laws.”

“I truly cannot thank the Guild enough for recognizing me with this great honour,” said Mr. Albas in accepting the 2012 Wine Person of the Year award. “We should note that Bill C-311 becoming law should not be thought as the end of the process, but rather as the beginning. More than 70 percent of wine currently sold in Canada today comes from countries outside our borders and yet as we know, Canadian vintners can and do make some of the finest wines in the world. Let us continue to work together to expand and to grow our outstanding Canadian wine industry.”

Mr. Albas is no stranger to wine. His federal riding includes one of Canada’s leading viticultural regions. He entered federal politics in 2011 after a distinguished career as a city councillor in Penticton. Currently, he serves on Parliament’s Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and the Standing Joint Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations in the House of Commons.

The Guild’s Wine Person of Year Award has been presented since 1996. The award honours outstanding individual contributions to the wine community of the Ottawa-Gatineau region. Past winners include writer John Ralston Saul, wine educator Vic Harradine, sommelier Véronique Rivest, wine writer Natalie MacLean and wine columnist Rod Phillips.