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Friday, September 12, 2008

OntarioWineReview.com - Newsletter 0091 - The LCBO . We're Stuck With Them (by Michael Pinkus)

Nobody dislikes the LCBO more than a wine writer, it's not being boastful, it's just a fact.  I feel that those who shop only at the LiCk-BO and don't go to trade events are the lucky ones.  They don't know what they are missing.  They don't get to try some mouth-watering wines that make you covet them immediately.  They know not of the insanely cheap prices our friends south of the border get, the discounts, mail in rebates, 3-for-$10 specials, or heaven forbid, a $2 bottle of wine.  They'll never know that some of the wines you try at these events are only sold through an agent by the case, but many people don't buy by the case, they want 3 or 4 at the most.  "Get in with a friend," you'll be told, "our hands are tied."  And tied they are, by, you guessed it, the protective liquor board, saving our cities and towns from the wilds of alcohol.

It's those who travel outside the country that get the biggest shock of all.  They find out that Mondavi makes a true Bordeaux blend called Vinetta, or that Rosenblum makes about 800 kinds of Zinfandel … and yet their Ontario agent can't get it, never heard of it or won't bring it in.  If you try on your own, well you'll pay close to, if not more than, double what you paid for it outside the country, thus taking all the fun and value out of your little finds and giving you a headache bigger than if you drank the whole bottle yourself in half-an-hour on an empty stomach.  Sure this system we have might work for a case of 2-Buck-Chuck, but "I-can't-believe-it's-only-12-bucks" a wine find gets close to $30 once you get it home where the LCBO puts it's grubby little duties and taxes on it … then it just doesn't seem like such a deal anymore, does it?
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