Malcolm Jolley backs a drive to let Ontario restaurants sell you a bottle of wine out the door…

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that this has not been a good week for the hospitality industry in Ontario. This is certainly true for our friends in the wine trade, who Jamie explained are ready to deliver wine to your door in this very popular post. A great deal of the business of vintners and wine agents, however, is ‘on premise’ sales to restaurants. While the Ontario government has allowed restaurants to stay open to sell food for take-out or delivery, our antiquated liquor laws won’t allow them to sell you a bottle of wine from their cellar to go with your dinner. This state of affairs limits desperately needed sales for the restaurants, severely suppresses sales for the agents and local wineries (and breweries, and distillers), and increases retail pressure on the LCBO. It also means that when things finally get back to normal and restaurants can go back to serving customers on and in their premises, they will have fully stocked cellars to sell out before making new sales. Unlike so much of the Covid19 mess, it doesn’t need to be.

A Niagara-based vintner and wine agent Marcel Morgenstern, has decided to try and fix the problem and has created this petition at Directed to Finance Minister Rod Phillips and Premier Doug Ford it asks their government to: ‘Allow Ontario Restaurants to offer wine, beer, cider, spirits in take-out and deliveries.‘ Urging the government to “get rid of the red tape”, the petition points out that our restaurants are “are licensed and are paying their taxes on every bottle sold.” The initiative would actually help government finances at a time when every penny must surely count.

I’ve signed the petition Jamie’s behind this and we urge GFR readers to as well. Please click here.