Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Private Wine Stores: Ontario needs to wake up! (Vancouver Part I)

Last week I traveled to Vancouver with my wife to attend my sister-in-laws graduation from UBC. What a beautiful part of the country! Vancouver had such a different feeling than Toronto, people seem more relax and I hardly heard any car horns while staying in Kitsilano (a neighbourhood in Vancouver). I really enjoyed my time exploring Vancouver and getting a feel for the west coast.

While attending my sister-in-laws graduation on the spectacular UBC campus, I realized two things. 1) UBC knows how to graduate in style as the PAC gymnasium at the University of Waterloo does not have the grandeur of the Chan Centre at UBC. 2) I wished I went to UBC!

Chan Centre UBC

After the graduation we went out to an amazing dinner at Bishops (see Vancouver Part 2). After the meal I began to think about which private wine stores I would visit in the next few days. It would be a brand new experience!  

For those who are not aware, there are two sources in which you can buy wine in BC. You can either go to their government run store (BC Liquor) or buy from their many private stores. Sadly, Ontario does not have the option of private stores to purchase wine. We only have one choice, the LCBO! I was very interested to see how these private stores were run, the type of wines they offered, and the overall vibe of the private scene.

During my stay in Vancouver, I visited three private wine stores and was very impressed with the overall quality of the wine that they had and the friendly and knowledgeable staff. I really enjoyed viewing different wines that are not available back home in Ontario. Thanks to the great selection at Marquis, I decided to purchase a bottle of Domaine Tempier La Tourtine 2008 which is mainly Mourvedre, from the Bandol region. I’m really looking forward to opening that in the future! Wait, I’m getting off topic! Time to get back to talking about private wine stores…

I visited the following private stores in Vancouver:
- Marquis Wine
- Liberty Wine (Granville Island)
- Kitsilano Wine

Kitsilano Wine (Home of the DRC!)
I was very impressed, as each store had a great selection of wines at different price points. I was especially excited to be able to view several bottles of Domain de la RomanĂ©e Conti (DRC) and many First Growths up cloBurgundy at Marquis and many different labels and regions that are not represented in Ontario. I really enjoyed seeing the representation of the American Pacific Northwest (Washington & Oregon) at these stores. I’ve come to really enjoy wines from that region, but they are hard to acquire and I feel this is an area that is very limited at the LCBO.
se at Kitsilano Wine. Sadly these wines were in a glass case, so I was not able to touch greatness (Many of the DRC were in the $4,000 range!) I also enjoyed seeing the great selection of

My only complaint about these private stores is their pricing. More often than not, the prices at these private stores are a lot more expensive than LCBO prices. I’m not sure why this is the Vancouver as a whole is pretty pricey (gas is 1.40 a litre!). So maybe that is the reason…
case. The only answer I could think of is that
Marquis Wine
I was extremely impressed with the private wine stores in Vancouver. While walking down the aisle I kept on thinking to myself “this be nice to have in Ontario”. I would love to know my local wine store owner by name, to buy from someone who is passionate & educated, and to not have to deal with a government monopoly when it comes to wine. That would be amazing! I would love to see private stores open in Ontario, but I am not even sure if it will happen in my lifetime.

Kudos to B.C. and their private wine stores. Keep up the passion!

Liberty Wines Granville Island

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