Slovenian wines in Canada: LCBO Central European Destination Store has opened in Ontario!
June 10, 2022, the Canadian Slovenian Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the opening of LCBO’s Central European Destination Store! This initiative has been many years in the making, and the final result is this well-located store showcasing wines from Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, and Austria. Located at 3020 Elmcreek Road (Mavis and Dundas) in Mississauga, the store is a close drive for much of the Slovenian community. All listed wines are also available online for delivery to your home or your local store.
Having our Slovenian wines offered in this prominent store section simplifies purchasing these sought-after wines and is sure to attract new consumers to try varietals that they may never have seen before.
At the grand opening, along with other guests and representatives of the diplomatic corps, the store was opened by LCBO Executive Director and President George Soleas. The LCBO – Liquor Control Board of Ontario is owned by the Government of Ontario and is one of the world’s largest buyers and distributors of alcoholic beverages.
In his welcome speech, the Honorary General Consul for the Republic of Slovenia, Mr. John Doma thanked President Soleas and the LCBO Board for their efforts, the Croatian ambassador, and importers. Mr. Doma emphasized that Slovenia has a vital wine industry that has many varietals to enjoy despite its small size. The history of winemaking in Slovenia goes back centuries and Slovenia has the world’s oldest living grapevine located in Maribor at over 400 years old. Also, an interesting fact about this area in Maribor is the Vinag Wine Cellar, which is one of the biggest classical wine cellars in Europe at 2.2 km! Slovenia has many wine regions that offer high-quality, unique wines and we look forward to bringing more Slovenian wines to Canada. Slovenia offers electrifying sparkling wines and dry white wines like Rebula, Furmint, Yellow Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio. Their native red wines include Blue Franconian, Refosk, and Žametna. Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet also thrive there.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia in Ottawa, Mr. Vice Skračić remarked on “the synergy of the work of our winemakers in the production of excellent wines, persistent placement in the Canadian market of Croatia Unpacked and with the continued support of the Croatian Embassy in Ottawa to make a themed shop like this. “
Mária Vass-Salazar, Ambassador of Hungary to Canada, and Gregor Postl, Consul and Trade Commissioner for the Austrian Consulate also spoke of their countries’ wine industry and congratulated the LCBO for the opportunity to share their many award-winning indigenous varietals.
The beauty of the wine regions throughout all four countries is breathtaking and is becoming a must-see on any trip to Central Europe.
The Canadian Slovenian Chamber of Commerce was invited to this launch by import company Croatia Unpacked, which must be commended for its tireless efforts in the past few years to import, distribute and educate consumers about Croatian wines in Ontario and to be the catalyst for this Central European Destination Store concept. We are proud to have them also apply their resources to bringing Slovenian wines to Canada in the coming months.
Sonya Rosenwirth, the executive director at the Canadian Slovenian Chamber of Commerce has been in meetings with Mr. Saša Muradori and Ms. Tanya Schmidt from Croatia Unpacked over the past months to promote Slovenian wines and was pleased to learn from them that Slovenian wines were part of the strategic plan for this Central European Destination store.
Co-owner of Croatia Unpacked, Mr. Saša Muradori explained: “LCBO as one of the world’s largest buyers and distributors of wine and other alcoholic beverages demanded from us a detailed plan for market entry and very specific goals of the sales and growth plan as a prerequisite for further serious cooperation. With the support of winemakers, we tried to justify their trust and create a wide range that would show the richness of indigenous varieties and their characteristics within the terroir from which they originate. The wine portfolio for Ontario is designed to present Croatian wines for the first time through the prism of excellent, award-winning, and authentic wines produced from Croatian indigenous varieties. We are pleased with this decision because cheap wines that were previously placed on the market have now been replaced by high-quality wines and education that informs customers about wine and offers a complete experience with a story of origin, terroir, vinification, and specifics of indigenous varieties.
With this being said about the Croatian wines, we know that Croatia Unpacked and other wine importers such as Buyers and Cellars from Ottawa are applying this same strategy to Slovenian wines as well. To keep our Slovenian presence in stores and to expand the Slovenian wine offerings, Slovenian wines must prove themselves to be worthy by being sought after, so we must ensure that we get support from our Slovenian community by purchasing the wines that are listed in the LCBO.
Slovenian wines featured:
- Movia Turno Malval Organic 2020
- Movia Rebula 2020
- Movia Exto Gredic Organic 2020
- Movia Sauvignon Blanc Organic 2019
- Sisi Pinot Grigio PDO Štajerska 2020
- Sisi Sauvignon Blanc PDO Štajerska 2020
- Sisi Traminer PDO Štajerska 2020
- Sisi Riesling PDO Štajerska 2020
After the very well-attended and media-exposed opening of the LCBO in Mississauga, Mr. Muradori commented: “LCBO’s expectations are high, starting with winemakers, wine associations, us representatives, especially the agency Croatia Unpacked in the continuation of building positive sales dynamics as well as regular promotion and education of customers and sommeliers. Winemakers and their associations, following the example of other established world wine regions, must follow the dynamics and provide the support that will ensure lasting success in this market. As of today, we have a solid foundation in this market on which we can plan our story further, and future successes depend only on us. On behalf of the Croatia Unpacked agency, I would like to emphasize the importance of individuals in the Croatian wine sector, winemakers, winery owners, and Croatian economic diplomacy in Ottawa who have supported us in our efforts so far.”
This type of destination store means recognizable quality and provides stability of wine presentation in Ontario, which is certainly a great success for Central European winemakers and also the promotion of Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, and Austria as wine destinations rich in wine tradition.
The LCBO Central European Destination Store is at 3020 Elmcreek Road in Mississauga, Ontario.
Come to the store to purchase these delicious, award-winning wines from Slovenia, or go to LCBO online and order, while they last!
The CSCC will keep you informed with new listings as we hear!
*Thank you to Boris Ulcar for photos.