wine rack

Wine Rack could be overhauled under new booze rules

While the Beer Store monopoly tends to attract the ire of drinkers across the province, the Wine Rack and Wine Shop might also be set for a major shakeup as a government-appointed panel reviews the way in which alcohol is sold in Ontario. Both retailers also benefit from a dated system, one that sees their brands sold without the usual markup applied to the LCBO's competitors.

Those who've shopped at these stores won't need a refresher on why they could be improved. Forgetting the invasive manner in which staff at the Wine Rack "help" customers choose their plonk, there just isn't much brand variety, which is disappointing given the diverse and spectacular wine being produced in this country. There's more to Canadian wine than what's offered by Andrew Peller and Vincor-affiliated wineries.

How this part of the Liquor Licence Act might be reformed won't be revealed until the Liberals spring budget, but the Star speculates that the existing 268 licences collectively held by these companies might be taken back by the province in order to auction "them off to the highest bidder. The government could reallocate or repurpose those licences to new retailers, for example groups of VQA producers selling 100 per cent Ontario grapes."

At present, the majority of the products sold at the Wine Rack and the Wine Shop are blended with non-Canadian wine. In other words, an overhaul of this kind would benefit both customers and local producers. What do you think? Has the time come for Ontario's private wine retailers to operate on a more level playing field?

Photo by Kate in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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