Newsletter #289 - LCBO: Products of the World Program

08 Aug 2018

 Newsletter #289 

August 9, 2018


  • WineReview: LCBO: Products of the World Program

  • Grape Guy’s Picks of the Bunch: New & Noteworthy Wines

  • Weekly Wine Video SeriesA Recap of The Latest Videos

  • Ontario Wine UpdatesRe-Tastes and Other Interesting Finds

WineReview:  Introduction to ... LCBO: Products of the World Program

As someone who seems to criticize the LCBO from time to time I’d also like to give them a pat on the back when they do something right (it’s rare but it happens). I recently learned about the exciting possibilities of the Products of the World (POTW) program – it’s like nothing else the LCBO has introduced to date, and it’s so much more than just the 17 destination stores they have been touting in the occasional press release; but the LCBO has been rather quiet the full extent of this initiative in its marketing campaigns, so let’s see if I can shed a little light on the program. I interviewed Tod Stewart (Operations Analyst, Products of the World, Private Ordering, LCBO) about what the deal is with the POTW and here’s what I learned with this little Q&A:

What is the Products of the World Program (POTW)?
“An exciting LCBO initiative designed to enhance customer choice and flexibility, while allowing agents to offer unique and/or niche products in quantities smaller than typically sought by Vintages and/or General Purchase.”

“Items are sold through the POTW program either via e-Commerce ( or at one of the program’s current 17 “destination” stores. As there are no product “calls,” all agents are free to submit products for consideration. As such, new products are continually appearing online and in the destination stores.”

“Consumers can conveniently access an ever-changing range of products that would not be readily available, by-the-bottle, via any other program or service. POTW gives LCBO customers the opportunity to purchase rare, unique and limited availability wines and spirits from around the world.”

Is there a full, comprehensive list of all the products available through the program?
The short answer to that question is “no” – but there is a way for you to look on-line and get an idea of what products are available – you just need a little patience:  “you can go to the search engine of and enter any information on the product you might be interested in (assuming you know it). Another way – if, for example, you want to see all the POTW items from, say, Italy – type “Italy” into the search engine. Then, to the left of the screen you will see “Availability.” The “Online Exclusive” usually denotes POTW items.”

How many products are currently part of the program?  
There are currently more than 2,400 unique wines, spirits, beers, and liqueurs available for purchase via a combination of POTW destination stores and online, and most will never show up in Vintages or any other Category, so those are the only ways to get them.

How much can I order?
In the past to get unique products like this you needed to go through an agent and had to purchase a case; but through POTW it’s a different story:  Single bottle purchases can be made at the destination stores, and most POTW items are also available for purchase by-the-bottle online, with more selections to come in the future. Minimum order is $50 with free shipping to a store near you or a nominal fee for home delivery.

To see the why and how I got interested in this topic and to find out the locations of the current POTW stores – follow this link.


Grape Guy’s Picks of the Bunch:  New & Noteworthy Wines

Angels Gate 2015 Syrah, Mountainview - $34.95 (W)
There’s a real prettiness here that one would not immediately expect: floral, white pepper and black cherry kick things off … soft leather, mocha, vanilla, cinnamon add an extra layer and some depth while the tannins and subtle oak do not overwhelm the tongue … the impressive part is this is the first crop off this vineyard, which shows even greater things are coming with more time in ground.  (****+)

Featherstone 2016 Cabernet Franc - $19.95 (W, L)
Wow, truly the best Cabernet Franc in recent memory from Featherstone … and they have made some excellent Cabernet Franc over the years; this really does show the consistency of Cabernet Franc in Ontario and what David Johnson is doing at Featherstone. This fruit forward 2016 has loads of black fruit: cherry, berry and even some blueberry notes, plus typical Franc characteristics of tobacco leaf backing it all up – the upfront fruit allows the spice to gently settle in and finishes with cassis and tobacco notes on the long lingering finish … another great job with this grape and so well-priced. Buy a half-dozen – some to cellar, some for now.  (****+)

Fielding NV Sparkling Rosé (2018) - $29.95 (W)
(2018 Tasting) … Last year’s sparkling rosé was a true delight and sold out quickly; this follow up is just as delightful on the palate: 69% Pinot Noir and 31% Chardonnay spending one-year on lees in bottle and delivers quite the one-two punch of strawberry and raspberry, plus the addition of lime and grapefruit keeping it zesty and lively … finish pulls off some strawberry pith and acidity that helps prolong that linger for a long time.  (****+)

Honsberger 2016 Cabernet Franc - $32.00 (W)
I think Kelly Mason has a handle on Honsberger’s Cabernet Franc, this is the third year in a row she’s made something truly wonderful. 18 months in all “used” French with a combination wild ferment and inoculated yeasts … plenty of fruit appears black cherry and cassis lead things off with some smoky, oaky, mocha pulling its weight around the mid-palate – yes there’s a little gritty and oaky undertones but with that long spiced-cherry finish all is forgiven, but not forgotten. (only 240 cases produced).  (****+)

Organized Crime 2017 Pinot Gris - $21.00 (W)
I’m not a Pinot Gris fan but when something special is done to Gris it can be a deliciously decent wine – here they even named it right “Gris” (it is not Grigio). Hand-picked and whole bunch pressed, giving it a little colour in the process (orangey-pink) – then 60% of want into neutral oak (1000L barrels) for a little complexity … yet still keeping its naturally fruity nature: peachy, lemony and apple-y with good weight on the palate and zingy acidity – fresh, lively and colourful. It’s a beauty of a Pinot Gris – and it’s not often you get to say that.  (****)

The Farm 2015 Pinot Noir, Mason Vineyard - $55.00 (W)
Keep your eyes wide open because Mason Vineyard is going to appear on more than a few labels in the coming years. Winemaker for Honsberger, Kelly Mason, is also working her magic at The Farm Winery – and winning red wine of the year honours from the Ontario Wine Awards with this bottling – so she got it right, right out of the gate. This 75 case production Pinot Noir is made from 25 year old vines and spends 18 months in 25% new oak, all while going through wild fermentation: aromas are black cherry, white pepper and smoke, while the palate is wild cranberry, strawberry and dark cherry. It’s a muscular and ballsy wine with a long finish. Imagine a man, smoking a cigar, a bushy mustache and wearing work boots and you have Mason Vineyard Pinot personified ... think Sam Elliot (you youngers might have to look that one up).  (****+)

BONUS REVIEW:  The Farm 2015 Pinot Noir, Neudorf Vineyard - $55.00 (W) ... ****

The Rose spotlight is on the Domaine Queylus 2017 Rosé - click here to see the review.

Availability legend:  W (Winery) – L (LCBO/Vintages) –  OL (On-Line)

Wine Meme of the Month ...

The Weekly Wine Video Series: A Recap of the Latest Videos

The Weekly Wine Videos
Every week I'll introduce you to another fabulous wine that you've just gotta try – Check out the YouTube Channel Now

 Weekly Ontario Wine Videos

Video #285 : Bachelder 2016 Gamay Noir (Niagara)
Video #284 : iCellars 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Niagara)
Video #283 : Pondview Estate 2015 Bella Terra Chardonnay (Niagara)
Video #282 : Adamo Estate 2015 Cabernet Franc, Wismer Foxcroft (Niagara)


National & International Wines Series ... 

Concha y Toro 2014 Terrunyo Cabernet Sauvignon  (Chile)
Dutschke Wines 2013 GHR Shiraz  (Australia)
K Vintners 2014 The Deal Syrah  (Washington)
Philip Shaw 2016 Shiraz  (Australia)

Subscribe to the YouTube channel by clicking here

Ontario Wine Updates Re-Tastes and Other Interesting Finds

On the Road : A Taste of Domaine St Jacques (Quebec)
On the Road : Some "Found" Wine Reviews
On the Road : A Quick Peak at Burgundy


From the Cellar (blog)
When it’s not an Ontario wine, here’s what I’m pulling out of the cellar
New Posts Added


WEEKLY PODCAST:  Two Guys Talking Wine
Join me and my co-host Andre Proulx as we discuss all things wine, and sometimes we're not afraid to go off topic
with Bev Carnahan of the All Canadian Wine Championship  (episode 101)
Shooting The S***  (episode 100)
Talkin' with Ivy and Saguenay  (episode 99)
Talkin' with Donald Triggs  (episode 98 - Legacy #10)


Vintages Release (blog)
Saturday August 4, 2018 - A Taste of Domaine St Jacques (Quebec)
Saturday July 21, 2018 - See it Here

OntarioWineReview’s bi-weekly newsletter is devoted to the love, enjoyment and promotion of the wines of Ontario and the wineries that make them.

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