With the province under heightened lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Manitobans urged to reduce their contacts outside their household, those looking to imbibe in wine, beer or spirits may be looking for ways to get their hands on a bottle of something or other while minimizing interactions at brick-and-mortar stores. And while Liquor Marts, private wine stores and beer vendors remain open, there are plenty of options for contactless pickup and delivery for your booze — in some cases above and beyond what was available during the first lockdown in spring.
During the April lockdown, Liquor Marts initially offered a few hundred of their products for delivery in Winnipeg, for which they charged a flat rate of $8 for up to 10 cases, gradually adding products as days went by. And while the delivery fee remains the same, their website now offers more than 1,600 products (including wine, beer and spirits) for delivery in the city, with a contactless option for prepaid orders providing ID is shown at the door. Liquor Marts now also offer same-day delivery in Brandon for $11 for up to a full case (and $2 per additional case after that); Brandonites can call 204-571-5105 for delivery and details.
Most of Winnipeg’s private wine stores continue to offer both curbside pickup (not offered at Liquor Marts) and delivery — either same-day or next-day — and typically offer such services on any products shown on their respective websites. Some private stores now also offer delivery beyond the city limits; the Winehouse, for example, is offering delivery to Steinbach, Niverville and Ile Des Chenes on Wednesdays, with free delivery on orders over $40. Kenaston Wine Market delivers to communities within a 30-minute drive of the Perimeter Highway and is offering free delivery on all orders during the pandemic.
If you absolutely must venture out to do some shopping for the holidays or otherwise, De Luca Fine Wines (942 Portage Ave.) is staying open until midnight on Fridays starting on Nov. 20. They also offer curbside pickup and delivery (and, as an aside, have put together a wine advent calendar for $225 that features 24 different 187-ml to 473-ml cans or bottles while supplies last).
With tap rooms once again shuttered for sit-down service, local craft breweries are focused on curbside pickup, and have ramped up delivery options to accommodate thirsty Manitobans. Sookram’s Brewing Co., for example, is offering citywide delivery from Wednesday to Saturday, with a $5 delivery fee and a minimum $20/four-can order. Barn Hammer Brewing Co. offers similar options, with a $5 delivery fee and a minimum $35/six-can order. Trans Canada Brewing Co. is one of the local breweries offering delivery beyond the city limits; those in western and southwest Manitoba can get deliveries on Wednesdays and Fridays, while they head to southwest Manitoba on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Those who aren’t offering their own delivery can typically be found on delivery services such as SkipTheDishes, where other local producers, such as local wine/mead/cider/vodka soda producer Shrugging Doctor Beverage Co., can also be found.
On the local spirits front, Patent 5’s vodka and gin are available via Liquor Marts, and the distillery also offers delivery of its own on a wider range of spirits as well as merchandise and (on Fridays and Saturdays) single-serve cocktails to go. For details and to order see patent5shop.ca. About a half-dozen of Capital K’s spirits, including its vodka and gin, are available for delivery via Liquor Marts.
For beer drinkers looking for the Budweiser, Labatt and Molson products of the world, many beer vendors now have their lagers and ales (and coolers, ciders and the like) available for delivery via the Bottle Drive website (thebottledrive.com) and app.
Finally, Manitoba wine lovers with a bit more patience (or foresight) can also explore Canadian winery websites, as many ship directly to consumers in this province. It’s a good way to stock that wine cellar during the lockdown while supporting Canadian producers.
Wines of the week
Orchard Lane 2019 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand – around $20, private wine stores)
Pale straw in colour, there’s a chalkiness that works quite nicely with the gooseberry, grapefruit, lime and subtle bell pepper/herbal notes on the nose. It’s dry and light-bodied, loaded with green/tart citrus and hints of green apple, a touch of chalkiness and mouth-puckering acidity — almost everything you could ask for from a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Quite tasty for the price, and would work brilliantly with vinaigrette-based salads, mild cheeses, sushi or grilled seafood. ★★★★ out of five
Baluarte 2017 Roble (Navarra, Spain — $17.99, Liquor Marts and beyond)
Made from the Tempranillo grape and aged just three months in oak, freshness is the name of the game with this Spanish red. The blueberry, raspberry and plum notes are lively, with pretty violet notes also showing well. On the dry, medium-plus-bodied palate the concentrated dark/red berry flavours come with chewy tannins that add to the texture before a long, pretty finish with no apparent woody notes. A great example of what Tempranillo can do when made in a ripe, fresh style. ★★★★
Masi 2014 Brolo Campofiorin Oro (Verona, Italy — $29.99, Liquor Marts and beyond)
A red blend of indigenous Corvina, Rondinella and Oseleta grapes, some of which were dried before vinification, there are deep raisin, dark chocolate and black cherry notes on the nose along with the plum and violet aromas. It’s dry, rich and full-bodied, bringing impressive concentration of dark fruit flavours, secondary cedary and resinous notes from time in barrels, modest tannins and a long, warm finish. It’s drinking very well now but is a baby, and could age for five-plus years. A great value, especially while it’s $25.99 (until the end of November). ★★★★1/2
Literary editor, drinks writer
Ben Sigurdson edits the Free Press books section, and also writes about wine, beer and spirits.