Lost bottles… I’m talking about the ones that show up during a search of Outlet inventory (http://www.vintages.ca/) when you're looking for that elusive bottle rated in the nineties and priced under $20. The one you've decided to cellar. The one you've phoned several Outlets inquiring about and waited for some kind soul to confirm whether the ‘orphan’ actually lives there only to hear the answer, ‘Sorry, We’re not able to find that bottle. It appears to be lost.’
Occasionally I’ve heard the unmistakable sound of glass breaking on a trip to an Outlet. A shopping cart or basket has knocked a display or shelf. Red faced, the customer sees all eyes focussed on a moment of carelessness, the time when a bottle becomes ’lost’. I guess orphans can happen when a bottle is used for tasting by the Staff to nominate a ‘Staff Choice’ - or perhaps a carrier has a mishap loading cartons from dock to backroom storage or an unnoticed bottle remains on the truck. Bottles could go missing if used at a culinary class. I would assume each of these incidents is coded somehow and deducted from inventory. I’m not talking about the ones still on the books waiting for LCBO staff to discount and put in a Sale Bin. And there are likely other legitimate reasons for a bottle to go AWOL.
Being naturally curious and not having much to do now that my season’s shopping is complete, presents are in Stockings or under the Tree, just waiting for the flurry on the 25th undoing hours of meticulous paper cutting, taping and labelling, I did a count of single bottles in Vintages last Release, December 5th. As of December 24th the total number of singles in all Outlets was 1,059. This includes 49 spirits and fortified wines, 286 whites and 724 reds.
Maybe it's that bottle waiting for you or I to call to have put aside. On the other hand with more than 20 Releases a year, when all of the legitimate ‘missings’ are accounted for, are the ‘orphans’ eventually written off as MIAs and what is the cost? It would be interesting to know the statistics on 'lost bottles'…
PS. As a followup I did a recount of single bottles of the December 5th Release in LCBO inventory as of January 24, 2010. The total number of singles was 952 including 55 spirits and fortifieds, 266 whites and 631 reds. Ww