Out and about in the LCBO – Toronto

5.05pm, Tuesday 14th February, Royal York Hotel, West Front Street, Toronto downtown, Ontario, Canada

Here you g,o folks, these are my partners in wine this week, as we start working with our new distributors in the Canadian province of Ontario – B & W Wines.

Just before we get going though, here’s how it works in Ontario with respect to selling wine anywhere in the province. You have your own distributor who represents you, and through them you apply to have your wines listed in various sections of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) stores that are located throughout the cities across the whole province – all run as a government department. So it’s really important when you come to town to make sure that you spend time with both the folks in your distributors sales team and the Product Consultants – who are the wine folk in the stores themselves – to ensure that they have all the information they need on the wines, your winery, your region, and how the wine industry in your country works and has evolved. It’s also really good news to talk food and wine combinations because that’s one of the consistently asked questions by consumers coming into stores. So whenever I’m in Toronto, we make lots of store visits to keep Product Consultants right up to the moment with vintage news and winery, regional and new variety developments. We also show our wines to restaurant folk, as they can then choose to put them on their lists via the LCBO – so it’s all about getting out and about and talking to folks.

Here’s our crew on the ground in this part of the world:

First, the irrepressible and vocally talented (trust me, the version of a Dean Martin standard that he ran out in store yesterday with the lyrics changed to promote Yalumba should be on Broadway!) half of B & W, Howard, with our gal who handles Yalumba across Canada nationally with the distributors Kath Marlin. We’re out in the suburbs yesterday.

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Second, the strategist of the team and the other half of B & W, Jim, whom I’ve just met this trip, and has just run me through a major Product Consultant tasting this afternoon at LCBO headquarters – featuring Viognier in all its forms. This is at Store 217, Queens Quay. And that’s Kath again. She’s like my babysitter and always has me at the right place at the right time.

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And here’s our 2010 Y Riesling in the controlled atmosphere tasting unit at Store 217 – third bottle in from the right. Good times.

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