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Best wines around town? Favorite Canadian wines?

I'm more of a red wine drinker myself, but I'm open to any suggestions.

It's been very difficult to find wine deals in the city. There is already a HUGE markup for Alberta imported wines, and that coupled with a paucity of decent wine selections without indecent menu markups in restaurants around town, I might just resort to buying wine online. But I wanted to give it a chance first --

-Where are wine stores with the best deals on bottles in the city?
-Where are restaurants with great wine selections at reasonable prices?
-What are some brands/years/vineyards of fantastic Canadian wines?

Help! I'm a wine lover lost in Calgary.

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  1. My partner is a huge oenophile and extols the wine offerings in Calgary constantly. His favourites include Highlander, Zyn and Metrovino. He's an Opimian member- www.opim.ca, check it out.

    1 Reply
    1. re: John Manzo

      I don't believe there is much reason for a wine lover to be lost in Calgary! The selection is really surprisingly good, I agree.
      "Best wines", as the query was titled, are not necessarily the cheapest wines, needless to say.
      it is only an opinion, of course, and a generality, but I have found Canadian wines to be overpriced for the quality, so if I was looking for bargain wines, Canadian wines would not be my starting point.

    2. I'm not sure how you'd go about buying wine on-line. There are a lot of restrictions on that here in Canada. Not to mention I don't think I want a case of wine being delivered to my house in minus 20 weather. Calgary has an amazing selection of wines to choose from if you know where to look and what you are looking for. You didn't mention where you are located or what you like. For the best deals I usually go to Superstore, although their selection is not the greatest. Willow Park (main store) has the best selection around and prices are pretty reasonable. As much as I like Kensington Wine Market, J Webb, Metrovino, and some of the other boutique shops, I can't abide by their prices, and they pretty much refuse to carry anything under $18-20. Sometimes (OK, most times) I just want a cheap bottle of Lindemans chardonnay or a $10 Spanish red. I refuse to shop in a store that won't cater to that very basic need.

      Lots of really good Canadian wines are on the shelves these days, and they are getting better all the time. I don't know of any that I would consider a great bargain now, but you can certainly find some fantastic wines in the $25-50 range.

      I'll reserve my comments on restaurant wine markups for another time. ;-)

      2 Replies
      1. re: Sneaky

        Thanks for the suggestions! And ooh, I am a bit interested in some Sneaky markup insights...

        1. re: summersupper

          No insights here. I'm just not a fan of 300-400% markups on anything, especially when there is no value added other than popping a cork. Fortunately some restos let you bring your own and charge a modest corkage fee.

      2. Well Calgary is an expensive city all around, wine being no exception!

        I find that Coop, particularly the Heritage and Midtown locations, have wine specials every week. Another good find is Liquor Depot. They put out a flyer you can view online (I don't think it's each week tho) and have some really great prices. I keep checking back for the flyer and then go and buy 6 bottles.

        As mentioned by JohnM above, I too am also an Opimium member (an online wine club) and they have some SUPER deals. Right now I'm getting nice wine from Chile and Argentina for $8-11/bottle. You do have to buy a case (some times that's 6 or some times 12), which sucks, but I share with a friend and we buy wine from them monthly. I have a lot of wine delivered during all times of the year, and it's all been fine - no problems at all. Hylander liquor store (near North Hill mall on 16th ave) will offer Opim members a discount on any liquor (not just wine) purchased from them, just show your membership card.

        As for what restaurant offer good prices. I really can't say. I just can't bring myself to pay $40 for a bottle of wine that I know is $18 at the liquor store! Look for some other threads on here for corkage fee deals at restos. I know I saw some, usually during the week to bring in business.

        I drink a lot of different wines, for Canadian, I tend to go for the Okanagan BC wines as they seem more plentiful here, than Ontario wines. I don't have a favorite though.

        My overall advise is to keep watching for specials and stock up!

        1. Shop the sales. This makes a subscription to The Herald worthwhile as pretty much any sale is in the Herald.
          As mentioned Superstore has good prices but limited sku's. Sometimes it's bizzare, fer instance Veuve was $40 in December.
          If you can fins an Ontario Baco Noir, try it, especially if it is Henry of Pelham.
          Again, if you can find one, try a Prince Edward County (growing region) pinot noir, try it.
          Also Ontario chards and reislings when you want to stray from red.
          Usually you will get what you pay for re Ontario wines.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Scary Bill

            As a note, Veuve is again $40 this weekend at Superstore. Crazy price! You'll have to hurry to beat me there :)

            1. re: nutellaluvr

              Bought some yesterday. It is a crazy price. Back home in Ontariariari-o it is $65. Gotta like the competition here. Just wish you could return empties to the store instead on lining up at a medieval bottle depot.

              1. re: Scary Bill

                Oh so true, Scary Bill (on both counts). In Holland you take your empties back to the grocery store and you get a credit to use against your bill. Sooo convenient and completely lacking in the scumminess. Oh I wish...

          2. I almost hate to mention it, but Costco has a liquor store attached to its store in the north. You don't need a membership card to shop it. They carry some very good wines from California and France at steep discounts from any other retailer. Think $10 off a bottle that would sell for $25 or $20 from a normally $50 wine, elsewhere.

            4th Street Liquor (1809 4 Street SW) probably has the best prices in the core and some very pleasing, if mid-range, wines. Willow Park occasionally does below cost sales, especially on Remembrance Day, but your mileage will very with regards to quality. Inglewood Wine on 9th Street SE has some nice finds for reasonable amounts and steeply discounts for volume orders online (inglewoodwine.com). So does Zyn.ca. Bin 905, Richmond Hill Wine, and MetroVino all have very good selections for standard (not outrageous) mark-ups.

            Stay away from Liquor Depots and Barns. Huge markups.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Leibowitz

              Costco opened a liquor store at Deerfoot Meadows recently, and agreed, pricing is good and there are some nice bottles of wine.

              Also for you vodka fans they sell a 1750ml bottle which I have been told is made by the Grey Goose people, 5 times distilled, etc.