I couldn’t choose which of these two booze-related issues to write about for this week’s Wine Wednesday. So let’s discuss them both!
1. The LCBO’s new bottle-weight restrictions
I couldn’t hold back an audible groan when I read on Dr. Vino’s Wine Blog that the LCBO has decided that (as of 2013) it will not carry any sub-$15 wine that has a bottle weighing more than 420 grams. For comparison’s sake, the wine itself weighs around 750 grams and most bottles currently weigh over 500 grams.
Let me be clear: I am a big fan of reducing the carbon footprint of wine (remember that time I tried to find a good wine in a box?). One of my favorite things about my LCBO fave Obikwa Shiraz is the new lightweight bottle. But I am annoyed that this new LCBO rule has only been applied to wines that cost less than $15. I worry that the new rule will only reinforce consumers’ impressions that wines in heavy bottles are luxurious and superior and will actually decrease incentives for higher-end producers to make the switch.
Furthermore, while I do anticipate that large distributors will adjust their bottling accordingly, in the short term I think this will have a negative impact on consumer choice in Ontario as smaller producers decide it’s not worth the trouble to meet the LCBO’s criteria and either raise their prices or pull their wines from the shelves. And frankly, it’s already hard enough to find decent sub-$15 wines at the LCBO. So in conclusion: blergh.
2. SERIOUS Beer vs. Light Beer: Beerpocalypse 2011!
I was fascinated by the comments that followed last week’s Ask Team Practical column over at A Practical Wedding. The conflict between a bride and groom who described themselves as “SERIOUS beer drinkers” and the bride’s father, who was insisting on adding a case of light beer to the bar because that’s what his family drinks, drew impassioned comments from both sides. Some insisted that the father-in-law was being meddlesome and that the “crappy” beer drinkers should just try the better brews selected by the bride and groom. Others said the groom (who is standing firm against the addition of light beer) was being a snob and should just agree to the light beer in order to be a good host.
In a way I did sympathize with the beer-loving groom. First off, although I do not consider myself to be very beer-knowledgeable, I also hate light beer. Bud Light is on my list of the Top 5 Most Disgusting Things I’ve Ever Tasted (just below glorified rice).+ Second, the alcohol selection was important to us at our wedding too. My husband and I put a lot of thought into the wines we served. If my family had insisted that my aunts and uncles could not find anything appealing on our wine list and would only drink white zinfandel, I would have been a little annoyed that they wouldn’t even try the wines we had so carefully chosen. There is such a thing as accepting hospitality graciously, which sometimes means that you try something new and/or find a way to cope without the exact type of booze that you would have personally selected at the liquor store.
But you know what? If family members wanted the white zin so badly that they offered to add it to our bar at their own expense, I would have said yes.* Preventing people from drinking a wine I dislike is not worth a knock-down drag-out fight with family. That’s not the hill I’d want to die on. Heck, it’s not even in the same mountain range as the hill I’d want to die on.
Any thoughts on the LCBO’s new rule? What was your take on the beer throwdown?
+ Edited to add: There’s sort of a story here. At one of the first college parties I attended, a very drunk guy with serious alcohol-related BO and the worst breath on the planet started chatting up me and my friends and he would. not. leave. us. alone. The next time I tasted light beer I thought, “this tastes the way Gary smells!” (I think his name was Gary. Or Gerald. Or possibly Mortimer. It was hard to tell through the slurring.) That impression has endured.
* If my family was trying dictate how we spent *our* money, that strikes me as a slightly different issue.