Fine Canadian Winemaking with Mr. Frugal Toque

Clearly, a prime vintage has been produce.

Clearly, a prime vintage has been produced.

Foreword from MMM: Mr. Toque is back with more advanced Mustachi0-Canadian techniques! While the methods described within definitely work in Ontario, if you have similar tricks for your own area, please share them in the comments. In the mean time, at least I have my Bota Boxes..


If you grew up like me, which isn’t terribly likely, then the moderate consumption of alcohol has been a part of social gatherings your entire life. Sometime around the age of eight or ten, your parents might have started offering you sips of their drinks. By the age of twelve, when the shot glasses were passed around at Easter or Christmas, you would get a trace of whatever was being drunk at the bottom of your very own tiny glass.

When you left home, you might have carefully added the beverage of your choice to enhance your enjoyment of a quiet evening of fellowship or a raucous night of step dancing to the latest Maritime fiddle tunes. (Again, your experience may vary.)

As discussed ages ago, a proper Mustachian is a person capable of enjoying his life without breaking his bank. Instead of going to a bar and buying round after round of expensive drinks, we clever lot gather in houses and back patios, ever respecting our neighbours’ right to peace and quiet, and enjoy our lower cost beverages and the camaraderie that comes from being able to control the musical volume and thus carry on conversations. If we do go to out dancing establishments, we have a few drinks beforehand and limit our further consumption of alcohol to that required to maintain our respective buzzes throughout the evening.

All that said, the point is thus: moderate alcohol consumption has been a part of our lives for some time and will continue to be with us for years to come. So let us see what we can do to optimize the cost of it.

A Little Bit About Sin Taxes

A short aside for those living outside of Canada. Around these parts, we went through a period of alcohol prohibition because of a thing called the “Temperance Movement”. Now before you curse it out, Prohibition wasn’t all bad. It allowed criminal organizations to grow like wildfire, giving us the Godfather and the Sopranos. As well, my grandfather ran rum into the United States during their Prohibition period, which is almost as good as having a pirate in your family.

When the Temperance Movement gave up, its laws were replaced with “Blue laws”, making it very annoying to get alcohol. You had to have a permit which got filled in every time you bought any booze. The liquor stores were to keep track of you and make sure not to sell you too much. Taxes were levied to keep people from turning to evil.

Even today, every province has its own strange rules. In Quebec, you can buy beer at a corner store. In Ontario, you can only buy liquors and wines at licensed “Liquor Control Board of Ontario” outlets and beer from either a “Beer Store” or from the LCBO.

As well, such things are heavily taxed in many jurisdictions.

However …

What If You Make Your Own Wine?

There’s a trick that was discovered a long time ago and it works in many provinces in Canada and, I’m told, many states down south. People who make their own wine don’t have to pay sin taxes. How could they? All they’re doing is buying grapes from somewhere – that’s totally not alcoholic in any way, is it? Then they ferment those grapes in their basements, bottle it and drink it. Where can the Puritan/Tax Man nab you? Nowhere.

Now you’re probably saying, as a Mustachian, “Whoa, there, Mr. Toque. That sounds like a lot of work and a lot of start up cost. There must be barrels and bottles and … um … fermenting stuff. Maybe, like, sulfites? Or something?”

You’re absolutely right. Who has the space for all of these barrels? Who has the corking devices? The know how?

Sounds tricky, and I’m a guy with a rumrunner on one side of his family and a whole host of wine farmers three generations back on the other side. More on this “trickiness” later.

Why Wine?

Why not beer? Why not make your own whiskey?

Those are equally valid things to make, as you suit your own tastes. One man’s finest Scotch Whiskey is paint thinner to his wife. One woman’s fruited wine is sugar candy to someone else.

For me, wine has always been the classy way to go. Just the scent of a nice, dark red is capable of putting me in a calm, serene frame of mind; that of a man prepared to let the world be as it is while it gently floats by his window.[1]


But do I need to pay $100 a bottle. Hell, no. How about $20? That’s better, although I prefer, if I have to, to pick up a $10 or $12 bottle.

But Mr. Toque, what about tannins, and body, and bouquet! Don’t you care about those things?

Uh, no. I care about how good it tastes to me. I also resist, as is the nature of the ancient Stoics, becoming a connoisseur of material goods. Becoming the kind of person who can only enjoy the very finest and most expensive of anything, be it wine, automobile or speaker cable, is doubly wasteful.

First, you are foolishly using your educational time while you become an expert and second, you’ll have to spend the rest of your life incurring expenses as the price of having achieved such expertise.

Besides which, it’s been proven repeatedly – at least to my satisfaction – that most wine experts are just as susceptible to pretty bottles and wine glasses as the rest of us. But, hey, if you want to go on paying $200 per bottle of wine, you can skip this blog post and drive your SUV across town to that really good wine store. You should know, however, that every time you say, “I can’t imagine drinking anything that doesn’t come from the Loire”, the babel fish I stuck in my ear the last time I passed through the Betelgeuse system will always render this statement as, “I can’t imagine not drilling a hole in my head and pouring in battery acid every night.”

Back on topic, now, let’s see if we can’t get that $10 just a wee bit lower by eliminating the 19% to 29% taxes and a good deal of the marketing cost that goes into it.

How Do I Make My Own Wine?

Loading 'em up.

Loading ’em up.

The answer is that you do the wine making on some other person’s property with that other person’s barrels. The laws for making your own wine, in the province of Ontario and many other places across Canada, require you only to take part in the bottling process. This has led to a large number of small businesses popping up all over the province where you can “make your own wine.”

So, on behalf of my northern friends and blog readers, I undertook to determine exactly what was involved in this process of “wine making.” Sure the wine comes out cheaper, but what about our time? Let’s find out exactly how much this process costs and how much effort it requires from the “winemaker.”

Step 1 – Order Your Wine

Go to a wine making place nearby. I’ve never yet heard anyone warn me away from a winery, so I just grabbed the one closest to the dojo where the Toque family does their karate lessons – this particular one was called The Wine Garden, but there are many similar facilities around town. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the place was exactly what I expected: just as friendly and relaxed as you could expect a place run by a married couple who spend all day around vat after vat of every kind of wine you could imagine.

You know when you walk in to the lumber yard, take a whiff of the sawdust and think, “Yeah, that’s the ticket.”

It’s like that, but with wine.

So you’ll meet the friendly staff and, given how casual things are, they’ll probably give you a tour of their facility and answer any questions you have. For us, this was half an hour or so, since I was collecting information for all of you. In theory, you could do Step 1 in about five minutes, but just try not to hang around for a bit whilst soaking in the atmosphere

Once you’re satisfied that the facility checks out, you decide what wines you want and in what batch sizes. You can choose from a wide variety of grapes or juices from which to make the wine. Organic is one of the options and they’ll have occasional specials, not so much by price, but by what sorts of grapes from what exotic regions.

Prices ranged from $4.25 a bottle to somewhere around $7 or $8 a bottle.

Mrs. Toque and I, being the frugal sorts we are, chose to make two of the lower cost 24-bottle batches, one of Merlot and one of Pinot Grigio, so we’d have a red and a white to test.

The first step was completed when we paid the 50% deposit of $102. I also scheduled an appointment, two months hence, at which time I would come back to bottle the wine.

Cost so far: 10 minutes (at most), $102

Step 2 – Bottle Your Wine

Two months later, I came back for the bottling. I arrived during my lunch hour, noting the time to be 12:07pm.

Without any rushing at all, because you just can’t be in a hurry when your nose is full of the soothing smells of so many wines mixed together, two wine barrels were tapped to fill a pair of containers capable of holding 24 bottles’ worth of wine each.

Each in turn is attached to a machine which pumps the wine simultaneously into four wine bottles. My job in all of this is to detach the wine bottles as they fill up (the machine will not allow overflows) and move them over to the corking device. I insert a cork, close the door, listening for a satisfying “fsh” sound and then remove the bottle.

A satisfying conclusion to the experiment.

A satisfying conclusion to the experiment.

The winery offers a device for heat-shrinking caps onto the top of the wine bottle and fancy decorative label stickers for you to attach. If you’re planning on taking this wine to a Fancy Gathering, you might do this to some of the bottles for show. You should note, however, that you do have pay $0.75 for each bottle and you have to clean the stickers off when you bring them back for reuse. So consider how many annoying heat-shrunk caps you want to scratch off and how many labels you want to remove.

The bottles are placed in cardboard boxes, one dozen per box. The boxes are closed and loaded in your car.

The last invoice is $102 for the second half of the wine payment and $36 for the bottles.

The time when I sat back down in my car seat: 12:37 pm.

Total cost: 40 minutes of my time, $240.

That means it’s $5 per bottle, including the reusable bottle, and less than a minute of my time per bottle.

Even if you went to the liquor store, which is what you’d have to do in Ontario, you’d still spend more than a minute per bottle, so I’d have to argue that we can ignore the time part of this equation altogether and just say that I’m getting wine at $5 per bottle and leave it at that.

Step 3 – The Taste!

Wine has two general uses in the Toque household: drinking and cooking. First, we cooked up a beef stew (plenty of vegetables and barley), adding a cup or so of wine. This came out delicious, modified as it was by all the pleasant flavours and aromas of the finest Merlot ever created.

Dinner, naturally, was complemented by the very same same wine. It tasted as excellent and luxurious as any red wine I’ve ever tasted at any convention I’ve ever visited. The aroma brought back memories of many similar evenings and the senior members of the household received the pleasant alcohol-induced relaxation they always do. If there is some subtle difference between this and the much more expensive varieties available from professional wineries, we found ourselves unable to detect it.

What else is there to say?

The effort to produce your own wine is minimal; the cost savings is at least 50% and the taste is indistinguishable from the finest. The only question is: why isn’t everyone else doing this?


[1] – Also, please don’t go on about the value of “anti-oxidants” in red wine. The virtues of anti-oxidants, though much touted by marketers of anti-oxidizing products, have never been scientifically demonstrated. It may be that red wine is less bad for you than beer or whiskey, but let’s not pretend we know that for sure.


And don’t get me started on that resveratrol stuff, either. The science on that is equally ‘meh’, unless you’re getting 60 litres of wine’s worth of the chemical – every day.


  • HealthyWealthyExpat February 1, 2014, 9:28 pm

    Great article. As an expat Canadian planning to move back in a few years, I’m always eager to hear from Mr Frugal Toque on how to enjoy the simple life back home. Yes, wine might be a luxury, but at these low prices, a very cheap one at that. And I think this blog is just as much about enjoying life to the max as it is about cutting your living costs so that you can achieve financial independence before you are 90. Here in the UAE I don’t think I could make my own wine unless I want to end up in jail, but having said that, I can get tax-free wine at the shop much cheaper than in Canada. And like many of you, have found the boxed wine (here mostly from Australia and South Africa) just as good or even better than the mid-range bottled wines at about 1/2 the price. Why pay more for the same thing? Cheers!

  • goatmom February 2, 2014, 11:53 am

    Great article! I need to try making some wine, but for now I pick up the Costco brand 1.5 L cabernet or chardonnay for $7.99 when I happen to be driving past in D.C. I usually stock up on their vodka which is cheap and quite good i hear. I don’t drink it, I just use it to make my vodka sauce.

  • Mark February 2, 2014, 7:29 pm

    Wow, this was a good post, I even read most of the comments. I live in Colorado as dose mmm, but on the other side of the rock, (the western slope, our spilt wine flows to the Pacific). I did the home brew thing, however I went really cheep and grew and malted my own barley and grew my own hops, and some times used wild yeast strains. However, I have gone primal as well as some of the commenter’s have, and do not consume, as much, beer as I did. That said, time costs were hi, but it was time well spent and fun too,that and making beers that are found no where else in the world but my own back yard, and $ cost? After converting some old beer kegs to mash tuns, dirt cheep.

  • Trombonedadio February 3, 2014, 7:00 am

    Great article! I spent many years making my own beer, however now, many years on, I find that homebrew tastes like, well, homebrew! Ditto for home-made wine. The products from the companies that basically do the work for you (aside from bottling and corking), seem to taste a little better…… For me the bottom line really is – how does it taste? One question – why is it spelled “toque” and not “tuque??”

    • Mr. Frugal Toque February 3, 2014, 8:33 am

      For the wine, my tongue just doesn’t seem to care whether I made the wine or someone else did, so I’m very happy with my own. (Although I have several jugs of cranberry juice in the basement which I absolutely have to try turning into wine on my own.)
      For the “toque”, that’s just the way I’ve always spelled it.
      Wikipedia seems to agree that “toque” is the most common Canadian spelling for the knitted cap I wear, which allows me to use a bicycle on cold days.

      • Trombonedadio February 4, 2014, 6:31 am

        Yup you are right – taste buds don’t give a flying @#$% where the wine came from! You trust wikipedia??? Better tell the fine folks of La Tuque Quebec that they’re writing it wrong!

        • Mr. Frugal Toque February 10, 2014, 9:42 am

          As a decade-plus inhabitant of the area along the Quebec-Ontario border, I know better than to get into heated debates about the French and English spellings of words.

  • Free to Pursue February 3, 2014, 7:30 am

    Mr. Frugal Toque,

    Sounds like we had a similar upbringing!

    Like Prairie Practicality, I live in the Canadian Prairies. Home wine making has quite a following here. My husband and I dabbled and realized we could make pretty good stuff (and I’m the fussy type when it comes to reds). We have enjoyed the process enough that we are converting a storage room in our basement into a small wine cellar – building it ourselves, of course. We find that some reds need a year or two to get as good as they can be, so a stable environment helps and it’s just plain fun to store them nicely.

    The value is definitely there if you make your own. Once you have the equipment, you can make a very good bottle (one I would not be proud to give to someone – that’s my measure anyway) for about $3.50/bottle. Despite the occasional messed up batch – especially at the beginning – that’s pretty cheap!

    I am intrigued by the no fuss option you described for $204, so I will hunt around in my neck of the woods to see what I can find.

    Thanks for another great guest post.


  • Jon February 3, 2014, 10:00 am

    We have been making wine from kits for a couple of years now and have never had a bad batch. They are very cost effective and we have got rave reviews from friends and family, some who have followed our example and tried their hand themselves at making a batch. We have also been able to barter wine for services.

  • Jacob February 3, 2014, 10:32 am

    I have not ventured into the great hobby of winemaking, but definitely will. My neighbor makes killer beer, so might as well be the wine guy. As someone who does enjoy great wine, but won’t pay $50+ a bottle for it, this is right up my alley.


    As an A/V professional, I absolutely detest “cable snobs” and people who enjoy paying a ridiculous amount of money for some twisted pair copper that can be had for $5. When I used to install high-end home theaters for rich people, We used something called ‘Transparent Audio Cable’ . Just look it up, and then puke, and then laugh because the prices are so ridiculously high. I once installed a $10,000, 12′ audio cable from a $40,000 amplifier to a $120,000 speaker. AND THAT WAS JUST ONE SPEAKER! Anyway, just wanted to put that out there.


    • Marcus February 3, 2014, 4:30 pm

      Once knew a guy who insisted his speaker cables were laid out in a 90-degree angle, since the audio quality was better.

      Poor idiot is probably still sitting in front of his over-priced speakers listening to his ‘high fidelity’ audio system, sipping over-priced wine, while paying off his credit-card.

      • Jacob February 3, 2014, 9:50 pm

        LoL….that’s a funny joke. You know he’s not paying off his credit card. ;)

    • Mr. Frugal Toque February 10, 2014, 9:49 am

      Indeed, I could write an entire post about the ways that people develop strange connoisseur habits.
      Wine, bottled water, clothing, handbags and wallets all rate pretty high on the list, but none of them can touch the extreme audiophiles with their platinum plated wires, multi-MHz skin effects and little rubber knobbies they put on windows to “dampen overtones”.
      Come to think about it, don’t wine aficionados use the term “overtones” too?
      I remain safely ignorant of such minutiae.

  • Mike G February 3, 2014, 11:37 am

    Costco sells cheap apple juice. Just add dry yeast and you have cheap cider. I’ve done well in competitions using this method.

    On brewing beer: I’ve brewed for 13 years or more (all-grain). I am not sure it has really saved me $$. Being an automation freak, I tend to buy devices that improve my brewing experience and cut down on the time investments every year (e.g. pumps, stir plates and other new equipment). Brewing beer also leads to a better-beer palate which often leads me to buy other good beer..Hey, you’ve gotta compare your brew against the best, right?

    But brewing is an awesome hobby and sometimes, the experience gives back in more ways that saving $$$..

    BTW, grain is much cheaper than extract, so all-grain brewing will save in the long run….

  • Graceful Saver February 3, 2014, 11:39 am

    My housemate in university got me into bottling wine at a make-your-own store. The first time we ordered wine, we had a wine and cheese party at our house in order to collect enough bottles. The party was so much fun, and we ended up with 30 or more bottles. If you are going to try this for the first time, I highly recommend having a wine and cheese to reduce your bottle costs. I now live in Ottawa and frequent a local wine-making store, owned by a great couple. My boyfriend and I love visiting every few months. We make a batch or two, and now we have a stockpile so that we can let the wines age. After a year the wines are as good, if not better, than the $20+ bottles available at the LCBO. It is a great way to save on wine and meet awesome people in your community.

  • Marcus February 3, 2014, 4:09 pm

    How do you get “cheap” red wine taste great?

    Easy, red wine needs to breathe to develop all of its flavour. Pour it, leave for say 1/2 hour at room temperature swirling it once or twice, then just enjoy.

    If you want to go fancy, get yourself a wine decanter and repeat the procedure above, but I recommend the wine decanter only if you pour at least half the bottle.

    Delayed gratification at its best!

    My friend, the wine buff, couldn’t tell the $5 bottle from the $15 bottle, which prompted me to never to buy the $15 bottle again :-)

    • Karl February 3, 2014, 9:21 pm

      YES! Many people do not realise how important it is to decant wine, especially red wine that is being served at room temperature. A friend of mine bought a amazing looking 1L wine decanter for $3 at the op-shop and it turned out to be a great investment as well as a decorative centerpiece in the kitchen. Essentially you can make a cheap bottle of red taste quite fresh and delicious just by pouring it out and letting it decant for 10 minutes. Also make sure that you give it a few swishes in the wine glass too to move it around. Of course this wont help much if the wine has been stored incorrectly at the store or your house (wine doesn’t like being exposed to sunlight, heat etc, makes it taste horrible no matter how much you air it out).

  • Karl February 3, 2014, 9:17 pm

    The situation in Australia sounds very similar to Canada. Generally, in all states and territories (although there may be some exceptions) you may only purchase alcoholic beverages in dedicated, licenced ‘bottle shops’ or ‘liquor stores’ which are usually adjacent to the grocery store for convenience.

    Similar again to Canada there are now a number of small ‘DIY’ breweries and wine makers which enable people to participate in the brewing process in order to qualify for a significant tax break.

    One such company in Australia is U-Brew It ( http://www.ubrewit.com.au/ ). I have actually drank beer from this company before for a university event that our social club organised. It was really cheap to order a few different types of beer in kegs. Essentially $5 a head got you a biodegradable cup and as much beer as you wanted.

    As non-stoic as it is, I am a bit of a beer connoisseur these days (not really a bad thing as I only drink a beer on rare occasions), but I distinctly recall the beer tasting pretty darn good and well above expectations.

    I rarely drink these days so buying in bulk doesn’t work for me (the beer is preservative free, so you have to keep it refrigerated), but if I was going to have a big party or celebration I would definitely look into DIY brewing again to save money and make the exact type of beer or wine that you like.

  • KarenwithaC February 3, 2014, 9:19 pm

    Thanks for another great guest post, Mr. Frugal Toque!

    When I lived in BC, my friend and I would split the cost of a batch of red and a batch of white, bottle it together and then take half of each home. It was a great way to “expand the cellar” and keep the costs down!

  • Steve February 4, 2014, 12:39 pm

    Is there anything like this in Virginia? If so, where?

  • NRG February 4, 2014, 8:06 pm

    I have been making wine for 10 years now. It all started when I bottled 5 cases for my daughters wedding. I got such rave reviews on it, that I started making all types of wine. In Alberta, you buy the grape juice, and you do all the work at home. The juice can be purchased from any wine area of the world. So my wine cellar has wine from California, Washington, BC, Portugal, Chile, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Africa, South America. The cost of the kits are $60 to $130 dependant on the type of grape and whether it is concentrated or pure. Corks, bottles, shrink wraps, labels are your responsibility. I have not had a bad batch yet. Best value for the dollar for me is Cheeky Monkey brand. About $3.25 per bottle. Total hours for two kits of 60 bottles is about 6 hours. I have between 200- 300 bottles in my cellar. Empty clean, bottles are about $1 each from the store. So I ask my friends to rinse out their empties and I will give them a full bottle for every 10 empties. Did not take long for me to build up a 200 bottle reserve of empties. Or you can go to the bottle depot and they will save and sell you empties for 0.30

    • KarenwithaC February 5, 2014, 7:15 pm

      Getting the bottle depot to hold and sell you back bottles is a brilliant idea. Extra frugal kudos for this tip!

  • Momster February 5, 2014, 3:12 pm

    what about the white? Did you make a Swiss fonfue? Ciffhanger Mr Toque !

    • Mr. Frugal Toque February 10, 2014, 9:39 am

      I admit that we haven’t tried the white yet.
      Mrs. Toque and I are very fond of reds, so the white is down the list somewhat but we’ll give the Pinot Grigio a shot as soon as we can. (the very next chicken alfredo …)

  • Jamie February 5, 2014, 8:39 pm

    I make my wine for about $1.10 a bottle. I buy freshly squeezed grape juice from a company in Hamilton, Ontario for $27.00 per 19L bucket tax included. I ferment it at home. Of course you need some experience but really not much, and some equipment which adds to the cost but the equipment (carboys, etc.) lasts a long time. (and its an enjoyable hobby – I also make fruit wines) This is the best mustachian way to go and time wise it really isn’t much.

  • Ryan February 6, 2014, 12:31 pm

    That was a good read, but to be honest it is more fun, and quite easy to make wine yourself at home, and it is quite cheap too. I have been making wines from Paklab, and wineexpert. Wineexpert kits are a bit more expensive, but make a better wine. You don’t need much in the way of equipment, and as long as you take your time. I also really enjoy the process.

  • Erich February 6, 2014, 1:02 pm

    The “problem” for me is the necessary volume to visit a place like this. My wife does not drink at all, and myself sporadically. My brother went to one of these brew it yourself beer places a couple of times years ago, but the minimum batch is huge for an occasional drinker, you need to split it with other people. We had our spare fridge totally full with 2 batches of beer one time so we could have 2 kinds. Also, this beer does not have preservatives so I find it does not last as long and its flavor sometimes changes more rapidly than mass manufactured beer. It is especially unfortunate when you find a flavor you don’t enjoy.

    If you’re a person who has at least a beer a day (or glass of wine), this would probably “save” you money (or for a party). On the other hand, you could save more money by drinking less than 1 beer/wine per day. :)

  • imsharper February 19, 2014, 6:26 am

    Planning on making 30 bottles before we leave for Portugal (which means they will be cellaring for 6-8 months lol) … so by the time we get back they will be ultimately drinkable!! There is a sale on currently at U-cork-it for $69.95 for 30 bottles …

  • Ed in Ontario February 20, 2014, 10:33 am

    Mr Toque, you are paying toooooo much for the wine. Shop around. See if you can find a Wine Butler in your neck of the woods. Typically costs between $90-$150 per batch of 30 bottles (they always have some sort of promotion going on). And the $150 is for the top notch stuff.

  • Patrick July 25, 2014, 9:09 am

    I have just moved from Sudbury to Ottawa and placed my first order at DeFalco’s pretty much downtown (the only place I could find that is easily bikeable from my apartment). My appointment to bottle the wine is August 22nd :)

    Thanks for this tip, I honestly had never heard of winemaking at a store. I assumed you had to do it at home. I’m very excited.

    • Patrick September 7, 2014, 3:15 pm

      Just to update for any future internet adventurers, I did end up bottling the wine at DeFalco’s on Gladstone in Ottawa and it’s great. Hauled 28 bottles home on my Burley Travoy bike trailer.

      After all expenses I’m at $4/bottle but I paid $1/bottle for the actual bottles, so for my future trips it’ll be $3/bottle which is exceptional. Granted I chose their cheapest – a nice Shiraz which I taste tested next to a $11 bottle of Shiraz from the LCBO and they were very similar. The subtle taste differences are not worth $7/bottle, especially since some of characteristics favored the cheaper bottle!

      As a Canadian, this was my favorite MMM post. When do we get more Frugal Toque posts?!

      • Mr. Frugal Toque September 17, 2014, 1:08 pm

        Glad you enjoyed your wine! I’m still enjoying mine – although I’ve also learned how to make my own fruit wine based on those 4L jugs of Cranberry Juice you can get from Costco. Delicious!
        I imagine I’ll write more posts when the urge to straighten the world out strikes me again.

        • Patrick October 13, 2014, 8:35 pm

          I did the math on Costco and don’t spend enough on food to warrant the membership, and even in Ottawa, the bike ride to Costco is slightly unpleasant and a Costco trip on a bus is awkward so I’d have to be saving a decent amount of money to make the trip. I’m pretty much exactly in the middle of the 3 locations. I think the one in Gloucester is the safest bike-wise.

          But sometimes I really wish I had a membership for certain items. Will keep pondering…usually I can find sales to get similar prices. Produce is great but I would waste half before I ate it all.

  • Frugal North January 22, 2015, 3:48 pm

    Great Post. I have made my own from kits in the Northwest Territories where there was no “UBrew” type of business, but now I have access to a wine-making shop here in Whitehorse, Yukon. The owner has set up a rack where you can leave a bottle of the wine you just bottled, and take in exchange another bottle someone else has left. It’s a great way to try new varieties of wine to see if you want to make a whole batch.

  • Rick May 6, 2015, 6:41 am

    Are you kidding me? 5 bucks for a bottle of wine? I thought this site was about frugal living! In Manitoba we can buy a juice kit at Costco $65 that gives us 60 bottles. Some times they go on sale for $45.

    • Patrick May 6, 2015, 7:22 am

      I’ve heard Costco had juice kits. If you have enough space in your home for brewing equipment it sounds like the cheapest way to go, assuming your price and bottle yields are correct.

      Here in Ontario it’s very nice to get wine at $3-$5/bottle and not have to pay the LCBO ~$10 minimum. It’d be nicer to brew it myself and save a bit more, but the $2/bottle savings wouldn’t come close to the costs of paying for a larger home to store all that stuff. We’re cozy in 500sqft so far and loving the cheap rent.

  • Kiev October 26, 2017, 1:05 am

    Greetings from germany!!

    We do have beer, whine, whiskey and everything you like in best quality for a very good price. But I am not using it excessively. My wife and I drink together about 3-4 bottles of beer per week and a bottle of wine every second week. This way it does not really matter if the wine costs 5$ or 10$.
    Since I am drinking less I feel more comfortable and do enjoy the wine or beer even more. And I need to pick up the beer (2 packs of 24 bottles with each 0.5 liter) with my bike trailor just a couple of times per year. This includes serving guests at my place. Not that cycling with a trailor is no fun to me. But I can deliberatly choose when to do it instead of needing it 1-2 times per month. I have to admint that I often have to do it when I expect guests for some days at my place. So I do have to do it occasionally within time frames.
    I do find enjoy in my café. After work I usually make two cups of Capuccino with my filter basket coffee maker (Faema E61 base), because coffee at work sucks. At work I switched to drink tea. So it is all about habits. I replaced bad habits by good ones without feeling a loss for something.


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