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Private Wine Buying 101

Avoiding the Dreaded ‘Wine Wall’

If you’re like us, you find the ‘wine wall’ intimidating.

The ‘wine wall’ is that massive sprawl of product after product that means nothing to you because you don’t know what it tastes like, what’s in it or who made it.  The ‘wine wall’ makes the process of choosing a quality wine near impossible and makes most people feel like they’re staring at the wine equivalent of the cereal aisle or hundreds of different soup options.

Wine has become a commodity, but there are different ways to learn about the wine you’re buying.

Yes, There’s a Another Source for Wine!

People that love wine or that like to collect different wine tend to want variety from around the world.  They want unique products, but they also want affordable products that they can share with their friends.  They crave quality and many collectors even have a wine cellar or have visited a favourite wine producer on their travels.

Most people just want to try something new.  Too many times, we’ve heard about people being overwhelmed when they shop at the LCBO and they simply go for the product with the most Miles or something that’s on sale, not knowing what they’re paying for until they get home.

Private ordering changes what can be a very stressful experience to something that we think is thoroughly enjoyable and will enhance your appreciation of the world of wine and the passion that goes into the creation of these libations.

What Is Private Ordering When It Comes To Wine?

Private Orders are orders for wine that are placed with a wine agency that is licensed by the Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).  While the entire system is still under the control of the LCBO, agencies are more nimble and flexible and can obtain unique products from around the world, usually at a substantially lower cost and with greater variety.

These cost savings are passed on to you, the wine enthusiast.

Placing private orders starts with sampling the product that you’re about to buy.  Once you’ve chosen your favourite style of wine, we give you a form from the LCBO, you sign it and the order is placed.

Why Buy Through A Wine Agency?

We invest a lot of time, money and effort into finding the best possible wines for you, your friends and your family.  At the same time, we are nimble and we’re able to find unique and value-oriented products that we believe you will enjoy.

As a wine agency, we also focus on responding to your demands and do our best to help you build a cellar or inventory of wine product that you can be proud of.

Why Can’t I Get Your Wine Through The LCBO?

The LCBO sends us ‘Calls for Submissions’ on a regular basis and we respond to them when we feel we have the right product to reflect their request.  We’ve already seen significant success with the acceptance of Zantho’s St Laurent wine.  This brilliant red from Austria’s Zantho Fine Wines is now available at an LCBO near you.  The product number is 315556.

We hope to have other wines accepted by the LCBO, but in the interim, we’re happy to serve you.

How Does It Work?

It’s pretty straight forward:  you try the wine, you decide on how many cases you want, and then we prepare an invoice that gets sent to the LCBO once you sign it.  All purchases require a payment up front before we place the order.  This is a similar requirement with programs like Opimium and even other kinds of transactions like buying a book or something else online.  Why should wine be any different?

When the wine arrives from our supplier, we deliver it to you or at a location that you specify on the final invoice.

After that point, you’ll be considered part of the ‘Member’s Club’ and you’ll be contacted to confirm if you’re enjoying your wine and if you’d like to order more.

Finally, once you give us your approval, we will add you to our regular order list and we will routinely place an order on your behalf.  You can cancel this at any point.

Why Do I Have To Order By The Case?

The LCBO monopolizes what we call ‘single bottle sales’ and prohibits us from selling you anything less than a case per order per person.  However, nothing is stopping you from joining up with a couple of friends to share the cost.

How Long Does It Take?

Because the LCBO prohibits us from keeping an inventory, the turnaround time reflects the time it takes to send the order to the supplier and have the supplier deliver the product.  For our California wine, this process takes just a few business, but some of our European products take several weeks to arrive in Canada, mainly because all shipping is by surface.

How Much Does It Cost?

There are no membership fees when you buy through a wine agency and because Noteworthy Wines is a small, local business, we keep our costs and overhead as low as possible so that we can pass on those savings to you.

Where Do You Deliver It To?

Depending on your location, we will deliver your wine to your door.  Alternatively, we can arrange to have the LCBO bring product to a location that’s closest to you in order to avoid any potential delivery charges.

How Do I Pay For the Wine?

All wine orders are paid 100% up front, but we make a practice of postponing the invoice for several weeks in order to minimize the amount of time that you are actually ‘out of pocket’.

Once the order is placed, you will be sent a final invoice by email and you can pay this amount by cash, cheque, PayPal or by Interac transfer.

Like all things in life, you can pay by cash, cheque, credit card and even PayPal.

What Are My Risks?

The LCBO is one of the world’s best shippers of wines and spirits, and as a result, we are able to guarantee the quality of the wine product that we order from our wine suppliers as a result of their expertise.

What we can’t guarantee is every single bottle of wine that you receive.  Of course, we value your business and your confidence more than anything and if you open a product you bought from us and it doesn’t taste the way it’s supposed to taste, we will take back what you bought and will refund your purchase or put the amount towards a new purchase.

Add Character to Your Cellar

Ordering through an agency is relatively easy.  While it takes a little extra time, the story, the character of the wine and the opportunity to try something unique all outweigh the overwhelming moments that most of us have when we visit the ‘wine wall’ at the local LCBO.


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