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Thursday, August 21, 2008


This just in from WNS (Weird News Service) --
TORONTO -- (WNS) --  The Liquor Control Board of Ontario has today announced that
it will begin licensing alcohol beverage writers in Ontario. A spokesman for the LCBO,
who asked to be nameless, said that this would be yet another source of revenue for the
coffers of the Ontario government. "We like to grab a lot of money from the alcohol
beverage industry. It makes us feel good, and it pads our bottom line."
Exemptions would be made, of course, for those writers who contribute to the LCBO's
"Food and Drink" magazine. But other publications such as "Toronto Life", "Tidings",
"Vines" , "TAPS" and "Wine Access" would be forced to hire only licensed Ontario
writers or writers from other provinces.  Newspapers and broadcasters will also have to
apply for licensed writer status.
Accreditation would be essential, according to the LCBO. There will be no
grandfathering. Each writer would have to pay to take an LCBO online course, which is
several weeks in duration, followed by a comprehensive fault and flaw analysis tasting,
followed by a tasting of Ontario wines (not necessarily VQA and not necessarily grapes).
Beer and spirit writers will have their own nosing programs.
Those who succeed in these endeavours will be invited to take the test which is a
necessary prelude to the licensing process.  There will be testing fees and annual levies
assessed for membership. It is also anticipated that the LCBO will receive a 15% royalty
on all alcohol beverage writing fees, but it is unclear whether these funds will come from
the publication or from the writer or, as in the case of wine auctions, from both.
All writing about alcohol in Ontario must be submitted to the LCBO's Quality Assurance
Laboratory for controls over the expressions in writing and the actual tasting notes, for a
fee. Any re-submissions, extra proofreading, and heavy copyediting will be assessed a
separate fee, which must be paid by the writer and not the publication.
When asked about photographs, the LCBO spokesperson denied their existence. "We get
all our shots from stock libraries". When asked about blogging, the LCBO said that
"Everybody blogs. Nobody has any time to read any of them…we really don't care."
SheeLa Pure-Swirling Dervish, currently President of the Wine Writers Circle, has
admitted that the group could be defunct within a year. "All of our full-time members are
in the GTA, with a group in Niagara. We've only a handful of writer-members from
outside the province. If the LCBO is to license writers through accreditation, then that
takes away from us any measure of self-policing and any rationale for continuing
membership of the Ontario writers."  Ms. Dervish left immediately on a wine tour of the
Okanagan Valley in BC.
The LCBO has also announced that the licensing program will be administered by Sage
Darby, the head cheese responsible for many such food and wine administrative bodies.
She has refused to comment, saying only "I have my methods".

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