Calgary wine retailer wins Regina franchise

Vintners seeking inroads in the Saskatchewan wine market may soon have a new option as a Calgary businessman has been granted a specialty wine franchise in Regina.

Wayne Henuset, owner of Willow Park Wines and Spirits in Calgary, was announced Tuesday as the successful applicant to the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA), which runs and regulates the province’s liquor retail system.

The province in December issued a request for proposals (RFP) for one specialty wine store franchise each in Saskatoon and Regina. Saskatoon businessman Cameron Rizos was granted the franchise for that city.

“This new store will be welcomed by consumers looking for specialty products not available in SLGA stores,” SLGA Minister Dan D’Autremont said Tuesday in announcing Henuset as the Regina franchisee.

The franchises are expected to complement SLGA’s own liquor stores, the province said in December. Currently, consumers and operators of licensed establishments who want specialty wines not on SLGA’s lists have to place orders through SLGA’s special order desk, with a minimum order of one case and a delivery time of one to three months, depending on the country of origin.

The new wine store franchises will also order through SLGA’s special order desk, but will be able to sell to consumers by the bottle, rather than by the case.

“The experience at our current retail locations is that consumers have an ever expanding palate for new products from other regions of the world,” Henuset said in the province’s release. “I’m excited at the opportunity to offer Regina an expanded listing of unique products that haven’t previously been available in Saskatchewan.”

Commission for the specialty wine franchises will be 15.3 per cent of purchases for resale, the same as existing liquor franchisees that sell beverage alcohol on behalf of SLGA in communities throughout rural Saskatchewan.

SLGA operates 79 public liquor stores and distributes to 185 private businesses that operate as SLGA liquor franchises, on top of about 450 private “off-sale” outlets (attached to “on-site” businesses such as hotels and brew pubs) that can sell beer, wine and spirits.

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