Both the lottery and first-come, first-served approaches have their faults, but I really don't care any more which method they choose. It's not very often that I'm after one of the extremely low inventory products. Even the Produttori in the last release wasn't particularly difficult to get a hold of, provided you were online right at 8:30. And if I had missed it, it wouldn't have bothered me. I'm getting a bit zen-like in my approach to wine buying. It took a friend to point out the obvious to me when he said, "There will always be more wine. Perhaps not that bottle. But one that's equally good, if not better."
While I wish that Ontario had a competitive open market system for wine retailing, there are times when their strict pricing formula works to our advantage. Other times, not so much.
If I were living in California, some things would be considerably cheaper than here. Other things would be more expensive.
I'd love to live in the Cote d'Or or Provence (really I would), and I expect that the quality and variety of French wine that I buy would increase dramatically without having to spend more than I spend now on French wine. But I wonder what the cost of new world wines would be like in France. Or even the cost of wines from other European countries. (I have no idea about the relative cost of, say, Barolo in France vs. Canada or the USA. Can anyone enlighten me?)
Anyway, no matter where you are it's always a bit of a trade-off. The flaws of Ontario's wine retailing are legend, but between the KGBO, the various distributors, the SAQ, and shipping from US retailers/auction houses to Lewiston, I think we have great choice, if not the best price.