Don't worry about whether the LCBO workers might strike, take the opportunity to go out and discover the wineries, microbreweries and craft distilleries in your area.
In Prince Edward County with its 30+ wineries, they are making it even easier for you to choose before you buy as Saturday May 25 is County Terroir and many of them will be under one roof at Crystal Palace in Picton from noon to 6:00 pm. Tickets are $35 in advance if bought online or $40 at the door. The ticket price covers the cost of wine tastings. There will also be food pairings and seminars about wines and the Prince Edward County terroir.
While you are in Picton just go down the road to Barley Days Brewery to select a brew that matches your style or head up towards the Bloomfield area to the Gilead Road and visit 66 Gilead Distillery, a craft Distillery that opened two years ago and has a selection of vodka, gin, rum and shochu.
Although you won't be able to buy your wine at the event in Crystal Palace, you can either enjoy a drive through the greening roads of the County to visit the winery or wineries of your choice to make your purchases or shop online. Most of them have online wine stores and have low or no shipping charges if you purchase 3 or more bottles.
Among those exhibiting are familiar County names you may have seen in the LCBO are Huff Estates, Closson Chase, Rosehall Run, Norman Hardie, Casa Dea Exultet and Sandbanks. Not in the LCBO but on many restaurant wine lists are Karlo Estates, Keint-he, By Chadsey's Cairns, Sugarbush, Lacey Estates, Harwood, Bergeron Winery & Cider and Stanners. Lighthall and Halfmoon Bay both from the South Bay area made their debut at Terroir in 2011 and this year Broken Stone Winery is the new kid on the block.
Broken Stone is the newest of a string of wineries on the Closson Road. They have a fascinating blog on their website brokenstone.ca started in 2009 about the journey of building a winery and a dream. If you want to understand why Canadian wines are more expensive then the South American imports at the LCBO, have your passenger read through excerpts of these blogs while you drive down from the city. The return on investment comes in many intangible things but money won't be one of them for years.
If you want to enjoy the event without the need for a designated driver several wine tour companies are making the event more enjoyable. Short Trips have five pick up points in the Toronto area. The trip includes transportation, a boxed lunch at Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park, cheese tastings at historic Black River Cheese, entry and unlimited wine tastings at the Terroir event in Crystal Palace and a stop for a complimentary ice cream cone at Slickers Gourmet Ice Cream in Bloomfield. All for the amazingly low price of $115 per person.
Sandbanks Vacations in partnership with Savvy Company are offering residents of Ottawa at the chance to experience County Terroir for $89, ($79 for people who book before May 22), and $55 for people who already have their Terroir tickets. The bus leaves the Costco parking lot on the Hunt Club Road in Ottawa at 11:00 am and returns around 9:00 pm leaving lots of time to taste the wines and enjoy the shops & bistros of Picton.
Admit it, this sounds like a lot more fun than the possibility of crossing the picket lines at the LCBO.