Does wine really cost more in Quebec?

While the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) is preparing to increase the price of several hundred bottles – but also to reduce the cost of a few dozen of them -, many may have the impression that alcohol costs particularly expensive in Quebec compared to the rest of Canada and the rest of the world. But is this really the case? Sommelier Véronique Rivest takes stock of the issue.

The price changes announced by the SAQ are not surprising, according to Véronique Rivest: It’s usual. Every year there are revisions upwards, but also, sometimes, downwards.

These changes can be explained by all kinds of factors, such as changes in the exchange rate, changes in the tax rate and market conditions.

However, it is wrong to think that wine is more expensive in Quebec than elsewhere, according to Véronique Rivest. If we compare ourselves with the rest of Canada, we are one of the provinces with the most affordable prices., she argues.

The price difference is particularly marked for wines over $ 15. The higher the price, the more advantageous it is to buy in Quebec, says the sommelier.

A bottle selling for around $ 15 in Quebec can sometimes cost $ 5 to $ 6 more in the western provinces.

Ontario is also renowned for its affordable bottles of wine, but Véronique Rivest specifies that only inexpensive wines are more accessible there than in Quebec.

The sommelier makes the same observation for wines bought in Europe: bottles over $ 20 are often cheaper in Quebec than in France or Italy.

If you go to a supermarket in Italy or France, you will find wines for 3 or 4 €, she concedes. We don’t have that here, but, on the other hand, I wonder if we really want it. These are industrial wines.

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