Elena Galey-Pride, host of Winestains, came up with this brilliant concept recently: 5H Giving. Homemade, Handmade, Healthy, Helpful, from Here. The object is to give from at least one (preferably more, ideally all) categories to benefit one's community, the environment, those in need, local producers, etc.
Like I said, it's brilliant. (I particularly like that the icon for the "from Here" category on Elena's Facebook page is a pair of wine bottles.) So I've been doing my part to "5H"-up my shopping list, picking up jewelry from VersaTile Design, creating photo memory books for family and buying local foodstuffs, including as much from-here beer and Ontario wine as I can fit in my trunk.
Shopping for the latter can sometimes be a challenge; many exceptional wines and beers from the area aren't carried by the LCBO, requiring travel times ranging from a cross-town jaunt to hours on the road or a weekend stay just to stock up. (There's direct ordering, as well, but then you get into shipping costs, minimum orders, blah blah blah.)
Wouldn't it be great if local breweries and wineries could sell direct through markets, artisan fairs and the like? I can go to Urban Craft to try on a fascinator, sample rosemary-infused truffles, pick up some earrings and find that perfect knick-knack. I can head to the Ottawa Farmers Market and fill my pantry with honey, cider, veggies, games meats, pies and ice cream.
But I can't buy booze. Whassup with that?
According to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, "manufacturers can apply for a special occasion permit, which allows them to promote their products, provide samples and take orders for products at qualifying events." But the permits cost $25 a day, need to be cleared by the AGCO and agreed on by the municipality. Orders would then have to go through the LCBO, which takes time and likely more money than either the seller or buyer wants to spend. Maybe that's why it hasn't happened ... yet. (I can dream, can't I?)
Until then, be sure to visit your favourite local brewery and/or winery to stock up on holiday libations. And, as always, serve and consume them in a responsible manner. HHHHHappy Holidays!