Dear Santa

Hey Santa. I know. It’s been a long time since I wrote you one of these letters, but there is something that I really want for Christmas this year. Before you start thinking “This kid again, the one that asked for a YZ125 back in the 70s!” – it’s not just for me, it is something that a lot of Ontario consumers and wineries all want – freer access to Ontario wine…in Ontario!

You see, we have these really restrictive and controlling laws in Ontario, As I have come to discover a lot of the great wines we make within the province, I still can’t buy most of them easily. Very few of them make it into the LCBO, and hardly any of the ones I really like. Sure I can order them and pay shipping (or buy a case and get free shipping), but it makes it really difficult to try new wines or sample something from areas further away (and as you know, Ontario covers a pretty large area).

In spite of the benefits that I or my fellow wine consumers may receive though, this gift request is really a present that’s wanted needed by the small wineries in Ontario. Limiting their sales to the winery itself, restaurants, or the occasional Vintages offering makes it really difficult for them to make a business out of this type of farming. I mean, we all get that wine is alcohol and surely society would like some controls over the availability of it (can’t have the mayhem that comes from it being available in d√©panneurs like in our neighbouring province), but surely you can get the government to come up with some controlled way of providing better access to consumers for these great Ontario products.

Is it really that bad. Well yeah. The WGAO (Winery & Grower Alliance of Ontario) produced this data recently:

As you can see, we clearly lag other wine producing regions by immense percentages. When you go to California, you don’t see too many wine retail outlets selling imported wine from other parts of the world. And in a strange irony, these guys were able to open a store selling Canadian wine in Tokyo, which is verboten in Ottawa, Sudbury, or even Toronto.

Matt Kramer of Wine Spectator recently wrote¬†“I Became Convinced That Ontario Is the World’s Least-Known Great Wine Zone.”. The graph above shows it is also the least known great wine zone even within Ontario!

So that’s it Santa. I’ll try and send my wish list earlier in the year next year as I realize I haven’t left you much time this year to deal with all the political shenanigans I am sure you will face. But maybe if you start now, it could arrive next year, or the next year, or…

Until then, I’ll keep hoping.

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2 Responses to Dear Santa

  1. Ivan Stephen says:

    Don’t forget that the WGAO are the people who sell mostly foreign wine which is masquerading as Canadian (that would be “Cellared in Canada”. I don’t think we should really accept their data as being about Canadian wine, as it’s based on the odd premise that it doesn’t matter where the grapes are from. Isn’t this rather like buying “Canadian” tea or coffee (which of course don’t grow here).

  2. mcshawn says:

    Hi Ivan,

    Yeah – I wasn’t intending to get into the whole “Cellared In Canada” debate (but you can see I don’t review any of those wines on my site, which is no coincidence)…but I thought the information was still applicable.

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