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Eat & Drink

Local wine is coming to a farmers' market near you

Posted by Aubrey Jax / December 17, 2013

Ontario wine farmers marketsYou'll soon be able to buy Ontario wine at farmers' markets in Toronto (and beyond). Premier Kathleen Wynne has announced that all Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wines will be legal for sale alongside local produce, giving Ontario grapes a new hand up, and making our lives about a billion times better. Wynne went on to try to ease the worries of -- okay, I'm not sure who -- by reassuring us the wine will be sold with the utmost "social responsibility." The Mayor of Toronto smokes crack, but Ontario vinters will be on the level. Sounds about right.

Kidding aside, the news represents a significant loosening of liquor laws in Ontario. While it isn't the long hoped for news (at least for some) that booze will be available in convenience and grocery stores, it's definitely a step in the right direction for those of us who question the LCBO's near complete control of booze sales.

This decision is at least somewhat strategic (looming elections, plans to give our homegrown nectar an international push), but also makes sense as a middle ground - the conservatives have hinted at making wine and beer more widely available but don't have the power to do so -- yet. What matters is soon you can grab a bottle of red while browsing bell peppers and homemade jam, meaning summer could be amped-up this year. It's yet to be seen if this means drinking in Trinity Bellwoods will soon get easier.



lister / December 17, 2013 at 08:23 am
It boggles my mind when stupid half measures like this come around that it always is just for wine and beer isn't included. It seems like the OCB and non-OCB breweries really need to cozy up to the VQA to put a stop to not being included.

One of the much promoted reasons for maintaining LCBO retail sales is social responsibility yet look how much private liquor sales already exists in this province! Bars, brewpubs, restaurants, cafes, on site at breweries and wineries, those wine stores whose name escapes me at the moment and now supposedly farmers markets. It's such a bullshit reason.

Just go with the BC and Quebec system where the LCBO still exists, the Beer Store does whatever the hell it wants (stay open, close, morph into something else), convenience stores stock the usual suspects of crap wine and beer, grocery stores will mostly do the same with the odd exception, the odd boutique of good wine/beer/liquor will pop up somewhere and allow offsite sales of beer from bars. On top of that relax the awful and useless restrictions the AGCO and LCBO has to bring in some of the really good stuff. And for those teetotalers who scream "Won't someone think of the children?!?!" then implement a very hefty fine for retailers selling to minors on the first offense and outright banning of selling for a second offense.
Ben replying to a comment from lister / December 17, 2013 at 09:31 am
Ryan / December 17, 2013 at 10:00 am
Water into beer / December 17, 2013 at 12:27 pm
uh...the Nuit Blanche is long gone. Former wine of the year from one of two, 5 star wineries in Ontario. I have a case, but I'm not sharing. Ordering online works from about any winery in Ontario and also from a slew of wine agents with international lists of vintages not sold on the Mother Ship. This is no big deal, but I guess the great unwashed may think it is.
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