In order to ensure the safety of both customers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, BC Liquor Stores (BCLS) has moved a portion of its annual Bordeaux release to an online pre-order system.
Customers have the opportunity to pre-order products online on a first-come, first-served basis in advance of the Sept. 26, 2020, release date. This will mitigate the need for lineups that formed hours, and even days, before stores opened. The pre-order window will close on Sunday, Sept. 13.
“Every year, hundreds of people line up for the chance to purchase these sought-after wines as part of our annual Bordeaux release event,” said Mike Procopio, executive director, retail liquor, BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB). “This year, we’ve made a number of changes to ensure we can safely manage the number of people in our stores and can maintain physical distancing throughout the event.”
Products with bottle limits are available for pre-order online, replacing the order forms handed out to customers lining up on the morning of the release. Participating stores throughout the province will open at 7 a.m. (Pacific time) on Saturday, Sept. 26, to further avoid congestion.
While the quality of this year’s buy is as high as ever, the volume of wine overall is much lower due to the weather conditions during the 2017 growing season.
“Thanks to the long-standing relationships we have with Châteaux and négociants in Bordeaux, we were able to source small amounts of our most desirable wines,” said Barb Philip, master of wine and category manager for BCLS.
For savvy sippers hoping to take part in the event, Philip recommends the Château Lilian Ladouys, St. Estèphe ($55), Château Ferran, Pessac-Léognan ($39) or the Chateau Floridène, Graves ($45). At the other end of the affordability spectrum, the Duclot Bordeaux Collection Case brings together 12 of the top Bordeaux chateaux (all 97 points or higher) in one offering for $18,000.
BC Liquor Stores are operated by the LDB, which contributes over $1 billion annually to the Province of British Columbia. Its contribution helps provide financial support for vital public services, including health care and education.
A backgrounder follows.