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Europe opens borders to potent Canuck wine

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It took about a decade, but Europe has finally opened its doors to Canadian icewine.

Like Canadian beer, the toast of all underage drinkers to the South, icewine has a higher alcohol content than is considered normal. The European Union banned the wine for this reason, but looks ready to back down. Probably because you can only drink a small glass of this extremely sweet wine at one sitting.

Up until the EU reversed its decision to ban Canadian icewines, Germany and Austria have had a monopoly. The Canadian product, most of which is produced in the Niagara region of Ontario, is considered superior.

Canadians consumed $545 million worth of Euro wine in 2000, and they consumed less than half a million worth of ours.

Icewine producers don’t expect to correct this trade imbalance, but believe that they could sell up to $20 million of the stuff annually.

Prince O.K.s chemical bath

With Foot and Mouth disease devastating European livestock, Prince Charles, a horse lover who spends a lot of time in the country, agreed to wade through the chemical disinfectant mat at the airport when he arrived in Ottawa last week on a five-day visit.

Canada even sent the Canadian government jet to bring the Prince over to try and prevent the spread of the disease to North America.

Receipts are up

Restaurant, caterer and tavern receipts in the province continued to improve in February, increasing 18.6 per cent above the February 2000 level, according to Statistics Canada.

This marked the 12 th straight month in which revenues have risen. Drinking places in B.C. saw revenues increase 6.8 per cent, after posting declines in the previous two months. Revenues from full-service restaurants increased particularly strongly, rising 27.1 per cent. Limited service restaurants saw an increase (5 per cent) for the fifth consecutive month. B.C. restaurant, caterer and tavern receipts continued to outpace the national average (12.6 per cent increase) in February, as they have been for the past four months.

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