Eric Asimov has a helpful piece that decodes wine labels from around the world. The takeaway for me? Unless you spend a bunch of time pre-studying how different parts of the world have passed laws around labelling it’s almost entirely unclear what, exactly, you’re reading on a label and what is meant by what’s on it. Combined with the strong variability in tasting notes and it seems like the way to find a ‘good’ bottle of wine principally comes down to finding a reviewer that you agree with and just buying the things that they recommend, and which are within your price range.
The LCBO is a major cash cow for the much-indebted Ontario government. Last year, it returned $1.9 billion in dividends to provincial coffers – on top of the approximately $280 million in HST it makes off the sales. It’s not hard to see how it makes that much. When a consumer buys a bottle of alcohol, the LCBO takes:
- 52 per cent of the cost of wine
- 59 per cent of the cost of spirits
- 39 per cent of the cost of beer
An LCBO spokeswoman says those markups fund Ontario’s social programs as well as the LCBO’s operating costs.
I’m not opposed to the LCBO’s existence but that is a lot of markup on a bottle of wine.