5 bestselling bottles — and why diehard fans love them so much: The Wine Find

A roundup of Ontario’s five bestselling wines by volume sold and why people love them so much.

By: Carolyn Evans Hammond Published Tues Jun 6 2017 on Star Touch and Sat Jun 10 2017 in The Toronto Star, syndicated

Pssst. Ever wonder what the most popular bottles of wine are right now in Ontario? I do. So I drew on my industry connections to find out, then interviewed a diehard fan of each. Here’s the juicy lowdown: The five bestselling bottles (by volume sold) and a sneak peek at who’s drinking each and why. 

1. 2014 Apothic Red, California (LCBO 234369 $16.95 in stores and online) 

Kristi Foley, 47, works for a medical billing company as a claims agent

“My favourite thing about (Apothic) is it’s just so versatile! It goes with anything. It’s easy. I’m not a wine connoisseur or anything so I don’t know what wine is supposed to go with what. But I just find this wine goes with everything and it’s so smooth. If you’re just having a glass, it’s nice; and we also have chicken with it, or shrimp, or meat. We served it at our cocktail party at Christmas and everyone liked it. It’s great!” 

2. 2016 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand (Vintages Essential 35386 $19.95 in stores only) 

Barb Goggin, 49, owner and principal instructor of the Goggin-Carroll School of Irish Dance

“I was introduced to this wine by other mothers who are also dancers at the school and by my sister-in-law who has always been a religious drinker of this wine and still is. Traditionally, I’d been a Pinot Grigio drinker and never really liked Sauvignon Blanc — including other New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. Then I tasted Kim Crawford and it was really light, really refreshing, not overly fruity or heavy — sort of like a Pinot Grigio but with a bit more body. I don’t drink red wine so I drink this with everything — steak, barbecue, pastas and chicken.”

3. 2014 J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, California (Vintages Essential 656561 $23.95 in stores only) 

Robert Antolini, 58, works as a financial planner

“It’s a very approachable wine and I think a very good price. Because everyone talks about Brunellos, Bordeaux and Napas — and I love Napa wine — but it’s kind of easy to find a good wine at $100, right? But to find a $23 wine that’s good; that’s something, right? It’s a bit more fruit forward — you’ve got to like that. It’s fruity. You know, tasty. Some people might like something drier. But for the dollar value, it’s just great. I’ve never had anyone not like it when I serve it — unless they’re a wine snob. And the world’s full of them.”

4. 2016 Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio Valdadige, Trentino, Italy (Vintages Essential 106450 $19.95 in stores only) 

Katrina China, 21, works at Starbucks and attends university 

“I usually drink it at home with dinner with my fam — like for family dinners. We tend to buy this wine a lot, maybe because we’re Italian — ‘Santa Margherita’, you know? My family is not big on red wine; we’re white wine drinkers. And we like it because it’s not sweet — it’s, what do you call that? Dry. Not too fruity. And we basically eat it with a full-blown meal — salad with a vinaigrette, a pasta, and a meat like chicken or veal — and this wine goes well.”

5. 2016 [Yellow Tail] Shiraz, Australia (LCBO 624544 $11.95 in stores and online) 

Curiously, 800,000 bottles of this stuff was sold in Ontario April 2016 to April 2017, yet I could not find a single soul willing to admit to drinking it — despite repeated efforts. Why? Probably the stigma — it’s a bottle snobs love to snub. My final tweet, “Does anyone know anyone who drinks this wine?” was met with this quick public shaming starting with this reply from one follower who describes himself as a philosophy professor and oenophile. He wrote: “Thankfully not since the impoverishment of a grad school. It tastes like a Lowney Cherry-blossom (remember them?) put through a blender.” Yikes. I say drink and let drink


Carolyn Evans Hammond is a Toronto-based wine writer. She is also a London-trained sommelier and two-time bestselling wine book author. Reach her at carolyn@carolynevanshammond.com