Social-distancing has changed how we consume booze, but also how we buy it. Yes, the sale of alcohol has been deemed an essential business in both Ontario and Quebec (in fact, P.E.I. is the only province to have closed liquor stores; it's since made some exceptions), but for those who don't want to brave long lines or potential exposure to COVID-19, delivery has become an ideal option.
Ontario is now allowing licensed restaurants and bars to sell closed containers of alcohol with food orders for takeout or delivery. But winemakers and wine agencies are also getting into the game, releasing exclusive wines, lowering or eliminating minimums on orders, and discounting prices. And, in many cases, shipping and delivery is free.
This is an ideal opportunity to pick up local, Canadian wines you’d otherwise never get the chance to try. Consider it another form of stocking up — or split a case (12 bottles) with a few of your neighbours. Here, we’ve rounded up the best well-known, and a few hidden gems, across Canada for wine delivery whether you live in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, or beyond.
Editor's Note: There are some restrictions on shipping wine between provinces; wineries and agents will let you know if they can ship to where you live.
Okay, okay, we know, the LCBO isn't a hidden gem, but because we knew you’d ask, we can confirm Ontario's liquor store does deliver. Two things worth noting: Delivery times may be longer than normal (because volume of customers), and you'll have to pick up your two-four of Malbec at your nearest post office — to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Canada Post has suspended home delivery of all packages requiring proof of age. You can also order from the LCBO via Foodora.
Wine Delivery From Toronto & Southern Ontario
With over 35 vineyards in “the County” alone, there are almost too many options. Rosehall Run, which opened in 2001, has been in operation since well before the eastern Ontario region’s boom, and is an enduring favourite. Try its Liberated Unoaked Chardonnay ($14.95), Defiant Pinot Noir ($19.95), and Pixie Sparkling Rosé ($19.95). Where it ships: Door-to-door across Ontario via courier, and cross-country Canada Post shipping to your nearest post office; 6-bottle minimum.
Karlo Estates is another PEC gem — and if you don’t feel like splurging on an entire case, it’s offering four-bottle shipping until Easter Monday. The Marquette ($24) — the first hybrid to be approved for VQA status in almost 30 years! — is its most popular wine. “It tastes like a Bourdeaux blend. Not only do you get a fabulous wine, it really scratches that Canadian itch for full-bodied reds,” says Sherry Karlo, vintner and owner. Some other, more-affordable, options include the Three Witches ($20) and the Patio Reserve Rosé ($18). Where it ships: Courier across Ontario and cross-country Canada Post shipping to your nearest post office; 4-bottle minimum.
If you’re a fan of the wine lists at Toronto hot spots Alo and Bar Raval, you’ve likely tasted some of the delicious wines from this esteemed winery. Some of our faves? The 2017 Métis Blanc ($22), a Chardonnay, and the 2017 Métis Rouge ($24), a spicy red blend of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Gamay. They are currently selling at reduced prices and only available while supplies last, so get to ordering. Where it ships: Door-to-door delivery across Ontario, and Canada Post shipping to your nearest post office across the country; 6-bottle minimum.
Daniel Speck and his brothers started this winery with their dad over 30 years ago — but they’ve been feeling the love these last few weeks as coronavirus forced them to temporarily close their doors. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support,” says Speck. On shoppers' must-buy list? The newly released Three of Hearts Rosé ($19.95), with subtle floral notes and a medium-bodied mouthfeel. Also look for its Classic Chardonnay ($14.95) and Classic Baco Noir ($15.95). Where it ships: Door-to-door in select areas of Ontario, and Canada Post shipping to your nearest post office across the country; 12-bottle minimum.
This Niagara winery has the largest traditional sparking wine cellar in Canada, with close to half a million bottles. Its Trius Brut ($29.95), a dry sparkling with crisp acidity and a bouquet of apple and fresh bread, is a perennial favourite. Where it ships: Shipping through couriers; No bottle minimum.
Besides home delivery, agencies, who connect restaurants and aficionados with great wines, have another thing going for them: Many carry labels that aren’t available at local liquor stores. Two of the best at Esprit Du Vin include Tightrope Winery’s 2017 Syrah ($48.95) from the Naramata Bench in Penticton, BC, and the ruby red (and more wallet-friendly) Corposa ($21.95) from Niagara's Colaneri Estate. Where it ships: Esprit Du Vin offers free door-to-door delivery to select areas of Ontario; 12-bottle minimum. (Wine agents aren’t allowed to sell single bottles, so you have to order by the case.)
Another great thing about wine agents is that they connect consumers to little-known boutique operations, who are often hit harder in tough economic times like now. Freelance agent Nupur Gogia recommends Meldville, an independent in Beamsville, ON, that’s been making small-batch, award-winning wines, like its 2017 Chardonnay ($20). Where it ships: By courier door-to-door across Canada, 12-bottle minimum.
Wine Delivery From Nova Scotia
The Blomidon Brut Reserve is this Annapolis Valley winery’s bestseller — it’s also won numerous awards. At $45, it’s on the higher end, but it’s a nice treat to celebrate the end of a long quarantine week, and offers different notes than your go-to international bubblies. “[In colder weather] grapes don’t ripen as quickly, which results in lower natural sugars, producing a sparkling with notes of citrus and lively acidity,” says Carrie-Lynn Mitton, retail supervisor. Where it ships: Door-to-door delivery within select areas of Nova Scotia, Canada-wide to your nearest post office through Canada Post; 6-bottle minimum.
Fans of this popular Wolfville winery are in luck: Benjamin Bridge just released the new vintage of Nova 7 ($24.95), a wild fermented wine (aka all natural) that is a pale rose gold, slightly sparkling, and with aromas of strawberry blossoms and pear. Also key: The winery is now able to offer the Nova 7 for the first time in individual cans ($7.99 each). Where it ships: Door-to-door delivery within Nova Scotia, and cross-country Canada Post shipping to your nearest post office; No bottle minimum.
Wine Delivery From Outside Vancouver
This 16-year-old winery is known for working with grapes that have yet to be widely planted in the Okanagan. Its flagship wine (the wonderfully named) Dead of Night is a blend of Syrah and Tannat. “As far as we know no one is making wine from that grape in Canada,” says co-owner, Beata Tolley. For fans of white, Moon Curser’s Afraid of the Dark ($20.99) blends Viognier, Roussanne, and Marsanne. Where it ships: Canada Post shipping across the country to your nearest post office; 6-bottle minimum.
Family-owned since 1956, Quails’ Gate grows 14 different varietals throughout the Okanagan. It's number-one seller is a fruit forward Chasselas ($18.99). “It’s beautiful in the spring,” says Michael Harris, director of operations, who notes that the Quails' Gate Estate Rosé is perfect for this time of year as well. The rosé, along with its Dry Riesling and Gewurztraminer Chenin Blanc, go for $17.99. Where it ships: Door-to-door within Kelowna, across Canada through courier; 6-bottle minimum.