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Ontario to launch Bring-your-own-wine


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Ontario Consumer Minister Jim Watson officially introduced the long-awaited plan that would allow restaurant patrons to bring their own bottle of wine to the table.

The plan, which was to be introduced in legislature Thursday afternoon, would be voluntary and only at licensed establishments. Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec and New Brunswick already have similar programs in place.

“Ontario has been perhaps a little small-c conservative over the last several years with respect to liquor laws,” Mr. Watson told a news conference. “[This] helps bring us into the 21st century.”

The program is likely to be launched in time for the fall, he said. Participating restaurants will be allowed to set a corkage fee to cover the cost of glassware and labour.

Mr. Watson told reporters that his office has been “inundated” with public comment, running nine to one in favour of the proposal. Toronto restauranteurs have mixed feelings about the announcement, though.

Grazie manager Vito Brancatella says it's hard to guess what the restaurants will do. He predicted the idea will probably catch on only if owners can charge a reasonable amount for corkage.

Mazzone Antipasti manager Ruban, who declined to give his surname, said he would not introduce the program. He insisted that, to cover expenses, corkage fees would have to be so high that patrons would actually prefer paying the current markup. He said he would expect to charge $20 to open a $20 bottle of wine.

Sassafraz owner Zoran Kocovski didn't have a problem with the proposal, but said he won't be introducing corkage at the swanky Yorkville restaurant known for catering to celebrities. He noted that none of the wines they offer are available at the LCBO.

Mammina's co-owner David Valentini welcomed the program and promises to introduce it if legislation is passed. For the past 12 years the restaurant has marked up all bottles at a flat rate of $5.

“We can give our customers the choice to bring their own wine or buy ours,” he said. “The only advantage now for the customer is that they can bring their own wine,” he said. It is likely they will charge about $5 for a corkage fee.

Mr. Watson is also proposing changes that would allow patrons to take home unfinished, re-sealed bottles of wine brought from home or purchased at the establishment.

It's a move some say is meant to mollify groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving. But Andrew Murie, MADD Canada national executive director is appalled by the announcement.

“The government has put the agenda of their popularity at the throats of the people who work in our hospitality industry,” said Mr. Murie.

He believes servers and restaurant owners will feel less inclined to refuse intoxicated patrons who have brought their own alcohol, at the risk of losing tips or customers. He said research shows that allowing people cheaper wine increases consumption and alcohol-related harms.

When MADD Canada sat on a provincial task force on liquor reform about 18 months ago, they recommended that there should be no bring-your-own-wine amendment and Minister Watson promised to take their suggestions into account after meeting with them.

“He didn't have the gall to tell us he'll do it. I didn't expect this,” he said, adding he had hoped to hear the news from the Minister and not on the morning radio.

MADD Canada is not against bringing home unused wine “in the interest of public safety,” Mr. Murie added.

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Guest Low Roller

THANK YOU! It's about friggin' time. Seeing that I'm Montréal born-and-bred, one of the things that made small quaint restaurants such an attraction in Québec was the ability to bring your own bottle of wine. Once there you either had the option of drinking your own bottle, or trading it in for a bottle that someone brought to the restaurant. It was a really neat way of discovering new wines, and also it allowed the restaurants to focus more on what makes them unique, the food. It would also allow small restaurants to save on costs and last longer in a growing competitive field.

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I think this may cause problems for the already troubled hospitality industry as they adjust, having worked in fine dining for awhile I know that wine service and the markup is one of the few things that makes the heartbreak of serving worthwhile. That said I think people will adapt and restaurants will find other distinctive competencies like roller said. They pretty much had to bring this in given that the other provinces had it although the restaurant lobbies are quite well off and would've likely lobbied against this for awhile.

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Ya - wait till you get pulled over by the cops and they ask you "hmmm, I se we have an OPENED bottle of wine in the back seat -especially if you tell him/her that you were just leaving a restauraunt - you may as well cut your tongue after that one - - - - - YOUR F****ked - no excuses - easy way to get fucked by them - - - Soliciting will no longer be a fine in my books - - LET ME TELL YOU - plus running in and out to have a smoke -- -(they'll probably put a dollar surcharge for every washroom stall just like in cheech n chong - - - Shouldnt bar owners and restaurant owners MAKE A PETITION - - - - - BUSSINESS WILL BE LOST - - -For every smoker - there goes 20-30 bucks - 20 customers(smokers)

5 bucks a drink(avg) - - 400 bucks - GONE - (((( i think that there's gonna be more house parties with this new law - - he he he )))

HMMM lets see on what kind of taxes to expect in the future-

vision tax - ( if you can see the charge - pay the bill)

walking through the park tolls( if you want to walk it off cause you'r pissed)

sunglasses tax - (government will never look cool)

"Dealer" tax - (fuck that) cant really write those off

Any type of scene will be lost in bars - Bars will not be the same because of this - a barrier in social activity amongst smokers - - A stupid rule - ??? Form of pubilc control? No mention on how many bottles - -he he he :: ::

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Guest Low Roller

Usually the smaller restaurants do. Anything that looks like it's owned by some Mom and Pop operation. It's best to always call ahead to make reservations at places like this anyways, so take the opportunity to ask about the wine dealio.

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