Ontario announces grocers permitted to sell wine

Shoppers will have less to whine about as sales will extend to grocery retailers in October.

Wine is finally coming to Ontario grocery stores, with the provincial government announcing its list of stores that will soon be able to sell the drink.

The grocers announced are the ones that were selected through a competitive bidding process held by the LCBO, with the intention of having a mix of large and independent retailers and geographic representation. Sales are set to begin Oct. 28.

Loblaws, Metro, Sobeys and Walmart are among the large stores that will be able to carry wine.

The grocers will all have the same requirements for the safe sale of alcohol overseen by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), including designated sales areas and standard hours of sale, limitations on package sizes and alcohol content and staffing and social responsibility training requirements.

Wine sales in grocery stores are part of the province’s changes to alcohol retailing generally, including extending beer sales to grocery stores last year, cider sales this past June and adding online shopping capabilities to the LCBO website.

The government says that, eventually, up to 450 grocery stores will be authorized to sell beer and cider and among those, up to 300 may also sell wine. Up to 70 existing winery retail stores operating outside the checkout area in stores will also be able to operate inside the store and share the checkout.

“These ‘wine boutiques’ will broaden their assortment to sell wines made by other Ontario producers, and will be located at grocery stores that sell beer,” according to the government. Those locations will be permitted to start operating this fall.

The full list of grocers now permitted to sell wine includes:

Canex Canadian Forces Exchange System
Coppa’s Fresh Market
Farm Boy 2012
Fresh Market Foods
Highland Farms
Longo Brothers Fruit Markets
Metro Ontario
Sobeys Capital
Starsky’s Fine Foods Hamilton
Uxbridge Food
Walmart Canada
Yummy Market

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