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Oct 15, 2009 02:59 AM

LCBO and Costco - best one

Looking for a really good LCBO - Imported wines; are there some locations better than othes?

I know by my visit to many, some COSTCOs have a better selection of foods; any come to mind?

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  1. The LCBOs at Summerhill and Queens Quay both have a massive selection on vintages. They are the flagship stores.

    2 Replies
    1. re: haggisdragon

      The LCBO's at Weston and 401 and Bayiew Village are both top notch as well.

      1. re: haggisdragon

        From what I've been told by LCBO employees, Queen's Quay is designated an "all-brands" location, meaning they are mandated to carry everything on the LCBO stocklist (at least in theory). My own experience in hunting for hard-to-find items is that they are more likely than Summerhill to carry a particular item. But while Summerhill is not QUITE as comprehensive as Queen's Quay, it's still an excellent store, and its location can't be beat.

      2. In my experience, there website is their best resource if you know exactly what you want. For example, last year, I was desperately looking for Catena Alta Malbec (2006 if remember correctly), really loved that wine. Went to Queen's Quay, Summerhill, Bayview, and others, but all were out of stock (and apparently had been for a few weeks).

        Finally, went online to see availability at other stores, and the location in Scarborough on Kingston Rd had 30+ bottles! Wish I had done that sooner, would have saved me time and fuel.

        Granted, I could have asked the employees at the various locations to check their system. But I always seem to get to the stores when they are either extremely busy or there is minimal staff around. Either way, I really dislike excessive waiting, I sometimes wish they would have terminal kiosks in their stores kind of like the ones Chapters has, so you can just browse on their system if no one is available.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Lazar

          Second the website!!! Have used it many times. Unfortunately, some of the better stores are also often sold-out of items. Best to check online, as you may find what you're looking for where you least expect it...

          1. re: Full tummy

            Agree, the website is a 'better' option. The all-brand stores get more traffic, so they often sell out sooner.
            However, if you care about the vintage of a wine, then find another province! The LCBO re-uses the same product code for later shipments from the same producer, so if you search for a specific vintage you could be in trouble. Then call the store as well - it may save you a fruitless trip. I've found this MANY times (most recently last week on a wine costing well over $100). The actual wine was an inferior vintage.

            1. re: estufarian

              I live in Windsor, where the wine selection is quite weak, generally. When I discover something I like or read about a wine that sounds good, but isn't available in Windsor, I go on the LCBO website and find a location in Ontario that has a number of bottles. I ask my local store to have 6 or 12 bottles delivered from the store I've found online. They always do it for me, especially since I've already done the legwork for them. I've even had Eastern European beers ordered to our local store in cottage country. I wouldn't bother for a bottle or two of anything, but if I'm going to go to the trouble, I'm usually happy to order a case of wine or however many cans/bottles of beer come in a flat.

              1. re: 1sweetpea

                I have done this as well (e.g. 6 bottles of Malbec sent from Scarborough to a Toronto store that is more local to me).

                All the stores normally do this or even offer right from the outset, but every once in a while, you get an LCBO employee who can be a real jerk and make an issue out of it (I am looking in your direction Bayview Village LCBO). If that happens, don't let it discourage you

          2. re: Lazar

            Lazar, if you like Catena's wines, you need to get their flagship Nicolas for the ultimate! They currently have it (2005 vintage) as a special limited offer (call them fast!), however, I expect they'll all be gone by the time you read this/

            1. re: syoung

              syoung, why do you do you dangle the carrot in front of me, only to snatch it away from my grasp?

              I will have to check, but I went on a Catena tear a while ago, and I think I did enjoy a bottle or 2 of Nicolas. Damn, my memory sucks...or maybe I just had too much Nicolas.

              The other thing I enjoy when I am in QC is to head to the SAQ, where the sell Catena Malbec in ½ bottles. Last time I was there, the were on sale, and I cleaned that particular store out.

              1. re: Lazar

                Sorry about that!!!

                If you haven't already and want to give it a try and call to see if any are left, here's the link:


                1. re: Lazar

                  Just want to drop a word out to Lazar to check out the May Vintages Classics Collection as there are a few single vineyard Catena malbecs that will probably be to your liking. No Nicolas but these single vineyards should be excellent.

            2. Agred with others that if you're looking for a specific wine, then check the website for inventory first. As well, if a store has less than 10 bottles, call them first to confirm inventory as sometimes it could be an error, timing difference (computer inventory only updated in the evening) or held by someone else.

              If you're just looking to browse, than check out these stores especially:

              Summerhill: Bordeaux (especially 1er Cru and other high $$$), Burgundy, California, New Zealand, Tuscany, Piedmont, Amarone, Portugal, Rhone, Alsace

              Queen's Quay: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Spain, Australia, Germany, US, all Italy, Germany

              Bayview: Piedmont, Tuscany, Spain, Southern Rhone, Australia, South America, South Africa, New Zealand, Burgundy, California Syrah

              For hidden gems, it's Summerhill by far.

              1. Almost forgot to answer the second part of your query. As far as Costcos go, I find it is pretty much a crap shoot. Sometimes certain items just take time to get to the particular locations.

                I remember once the Costco in Woodbridge had Bresola, but the one in Ajax didn't. A couple of weeks later, the Ajax had Bresola and would regularly stock, and the Woodbridge location wasn't going to be getting any more after their existing stock ran out.

                I guess they try to customize their products for the local demographic, but their stock changes so frequently it is hard to predict consistency. Of course, this is only my experience

                3 Replies
                1. re: Lazar

                  Interesting, then, that they do not stock smoked meat briskets in Downsview, but sell them in Ajax? Peterborough?

                  1. re: embee

                    I have a feeling the buyers are food people, and the local managers are bean counters.

                    1. re: embee

                      As I said, these have only been my experiences. But that particular situation has happened enough times (with different products) that I use it as a rule of thumb.

                      One thing I do know is that if you go to customer service, they will be more than happy to let you know which locations have specific products. The only issue with that is if you are willing to wait in the always massive line that seems to be the one consistent thing that every Costco has.

                  2. Summerhill is on my list,but I will be checking online first. Thanks all! I will take a chance with my trip to Costco.