Saskatchewan Wine Shop Faces Prohibition Order
Saskatoon’s only private wine and liquor store, Cava Wine and Spirits, banned from selling alcohol by liquor authority
We are a long way from the temperance movement of the 1920s, but a prohibition order has hit Saskatoon’s only private wine and liquor store, Cava Wine and Spirits. The speciality wine and drink establishment will be banned from selling alcohol beginning May 29 – not for reasons of the past, but due to some objectionable accounting.
In an April 21 article, Jason Warick of The StarPhoenix reports that the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) is charging that Cava illegally purchased over half a million dollars worth of wine from Alberta and made undocumented payments to the tune of $2.2 million to suppliers in France for future vintages.
Cava’s agreement with the SLGA states that the liquor authority is to make all purchases on behalf of the franchise to ensure Saskatchewan taxes are paid. The discrepancy in Cava’s sales and purchases revealed by an independent audit in February led the SLGA to terminate its franchise agreement and level the ban. An investigation by the SLGA into Cava’s business operations have been ongoing since 2009.
Cava’s president and CEO Cameron Rizos denies all allegations made by the SLGA, saying the unbalanced books were due to “a lot of misunderstandings.” Rizos hopes to reach an agreement with the SLGA to resolve all present issues and remain committed to Cava’s Saskatoon customers. However, the SLGA’s chief financial officer Rod Wiley states that the franchise agreement severance is final.
*Editorial Update: According to an April 26 article in the Regina Leader-Post, Cava will not fight the ban and is scheduled to close on May 29. A news release said, "It is clear that the SLGA's decision is final and we will no longer dispute this matter."
Story by Lynn Wayling. Photo provided by prayitno