Launches a Monthly Wine Subscription

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With the FreeMyGrapes movement pushing for opening up the flow of wine across provincial borders, Toronto-based has joined forces with several boutique Canadian wineries to offer this new monthly wine subscription. Each month, Canadians can  experience some of Canada’s best small lot wines, shipped direct from the winery to their home or office.   Here is their press release.  Maybe a good Christmas present to your spouse or significant 0ther (and to you).


fall wine cellar collage

Canadian Fall wine cellar collage

TORONTO (Dec. 9, 2013) –, the new online marketplace where you can buy directly from Canada’s best small batch food and wine makers, announced today the launch of the Hidden Gems Wine Subscription, a convenient way to access hard-to-find small lot Canadian wines.

“The Hidden Gems Wine Subscription is a way to connect Canadians with amazing Canadian vintners, providing customers with the best small lot selections from British Columbia and Ontario,” says CEO Erin Maynes.

Wine enthusiasts* can expect a monthly shipment delivered to their doorstep. Each Hidden Gems Wine Subscription shipment contains 3 bottles, handpicked by Canada’s top small lot winemakers. A British Columbia winery is featured one month, and an Ontario winery the next. Each wine is paired with a recipe crafted by a top Canadian chef, allowing members to create delicious food and wine pairing experiences at home.

Convenience: 2-3 bottles shipped direct from a top Canadian winery to your door, every month.
Variety: We’ll alternate a BC winery one month, and an Ontario winery the next.
Impeccable sourcing: Crafted by Canada’s best small lot winemakers
Food pairings: Customized recipes for each wine from Canada’s top chefs
Great value: You’ll pay $75/month, including shipping and taxes

December Featured Winery is Award-Winning Meyer Family Vineyards

Jak Meyer and Janice Stevens purchase a small 1.62 hectare vineyard on the Naramata bench in 2006, and 3.9 hectares in Okanagan Falls two years later.  They hired the best winemaker and viticulturists and focused on small lot single vineyard wines made in the traditional of Burgundy style.  Today Meyer Family Vineyards produces less than 3000 cases from mature 14 year old vines, making some of the finest wines in the Okanagan (MFV was one of the top 10 vineyards in Canada at the 2013 National Wine Awards).

Wines Included in December Shipment:

The three wines include in the December shipment are a fantastic representation of Okanagan Valley wines at great prices:

2012 Okanagan Valley Chardonnay – Only 555 cases are produced, a blend from two family-owned vineyards, McLean Creek Road in Okanagan Falls and Old Main Rd in Naramata. Anthony Gismondi recently gave it 89 points and described this as a “lively, fresh, green apple, citrus, skinny chardonnay whose strength is nuance and simplicity.”

2011 Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir – A bronze award at the National Wine Awards of Canada; 89 points from Anthony Grimondi; and 88 points from Beppi Crosariol, who described this wine as “medium-bodied, tight and chewy, with soft raspberry fruit, zippy spice and a whisper of beetroot.  It is a great choice for grilled salmon or poultry.”

2012 Gewürztraminer – Made in the traditional Alsatian style to enjoy as an aperitif or to accompany a wide range of cuisine, especially Thai, Mexican and spicy dishes.  Aromas of Lychee or Turkish Delight, citrus and spice.

Let’s celebrate Canadian winemakers – subscribe to the Hidden Gems Wine Subscription here.

For more information, contact:

Erin Maynes


* Only available to customers with shipping addresses in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island.  Customer must be over 19 years of age, and someone over 19 must receive the shipment.


A Few Provincial Wine Protectionist Thoughts

Ever so slowly people are starting to be able to order wines from wineries in other provinces.  BC is wide open for business, while Ontario still has restrictions, apparently, to their consumers.  I’m not going to go into each province and which wine they can and cannot purchase from other provinces.  There are other articles out there that have this covered.

What I would like to briefly talk about is one of the reasons I hear about why people should not be able to buy wines from wineries in other provinces.  And that reason is that the provincial government where the person lives, will not get their provincial sales tax added to the wine, so the province will be losing out on revenue.  From statistics that I read from the USA experience, 2% of wine sales are online, which doesn’t sound like a huge amount to me.

Who is Buying Wine Online?

If we look at the VQA wines that are for sale from wineries across Canada, I’d dare guess that most are in the $20 range or higher.  Juxtapose this with the statistic that the highest volume wines sold in Canada are around $15.  From this I am going to guess that these sub $20 wines are probably non-VQA and a fair number will not be produced in Canada.  There are many southern hemisphere wines that you can buy in your local liquor store that are sub $20 for example.

When purchasing a case of BC (or ON) VQA wine online I think most wineries ask for 6 or 12 bottle purchase.  These wines I think would not be what the general sub $20 bottle buyers want to purchase.  I think that the profile of the purchasers of these case and half cases would be people that have been to the winery before, possibly attend wine festivals and other wine events, and have a bit more disposable income.  I could be wrong, but I think I’m pretty close.  These $20+ wines would probably not ever be sold in a volume large enough for a provincial government liquor board to bring into their inventory, so no significant loss of income.

Selling Wine Online Creating More Revenue?

But here is another argument.  Maybe these wines that are ordered online, creates MORE revenue to the government coffers in other items taxed, plus grows the economy for the private sector.  What?  How can this be?

How are these wines shipped?  By courier.  The courier companies charge taxes for shipping, so there is tax revenue to the government, plus money to the courier companies, and wages to their employees.  I think that companies like AMAZON and EBAY with all their online retail are helping courier companies and Canada Post with their volume of packages sold, plus as I mentioned the taxes on all those items shipped.  Besides the couriers and Canada Post making money, there are all the other companies that make the boxes and packing materials to ship the wines.  Again there will be taxes paid for these materials as well.

So overall maybe opening up the provincial borders will do more net good to both the private and public sector, plus increase tax revenues.  It’s worth a try!

Enjoy the Cuvee 2013 Grand Tasting Gala in Ontario

Cuvee 2013Have you been reading my articles on Vancouver’s International Wine Festival that starts at the end of the month for a week, but you live in Ontario, and can’t make it out to enjoy all the featured wines?  Don’t fret as you have an Ontario wine event that you should be attending and enjoying.  The Cuvee 2013 Grand Tasting Gala kicks off on March 1.   Here is the information from the event organizers.  Read on for more information at: Cuvée Weekend • March 1 to 3, 2013


Ontario’s hottest wine event kicks off on March 1 with the Cuvée 2013 Grand Tasting Gala. New features have been added this year, making the gala event more buzz-worthy than ever before. Over 40 winemakers will play favourites and each will pour a wine which they feel most proud of. As always, guests have the opportunity to mingle with the winemakers as they sample locally inspired cuisine prepared at live cooking stations by 10 of Niagara’s top chefs.

Après Cuvée

Après Cuvée is returning in 2013, so even as the Grand Tasting winds down, the party keeps going with live music, dancing, an Icewine and Bubbles Bar and Craft Beer.

Cuvée en Route

Each Cuvée ticket is also a pass to Cuvée en Route, which allows guests to tour and taste along Niagara’s Wine Route from Friday through Sunday. En Route participants enjoy exclusive tastings, special meals and menu items at participating wineries and restaurants.