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@juliawine offers convenience to even the most discerning sommelier

About three weeks ago Julia Wine announced that they would be stocking ‘upscale’ wines in convenience stores in the eastern part of the province of Quebec. For readers unfamiliar with the distribution of wine in my home province, here’s a brief overview. Wine is purchased through the alcohol commission throughout the province. Wines purchased there are imported from all around the world and their bottles’ are identified with key information such as the type of wine, the winery its’ from and its year of fabrication.

However, one can also purchase wines from their local supermarket, convenience store or Costco. The only difference is those bottles can’t be identified in terms of what kind of wine is inside the bottle, which winery it originates from or the year it was produced.

Normally these wines are ‘bottom of the barrels’ that are sold off and then combined to make the wines we find outside of the alcohol commission. As I regular wine drinker of these products, it sometimes happens that no matter how many bottles of the same wine you try, it tends to vary, but not dramatically.

Enter Julia Wine. They have a twist to this whole situation and it comes with mixed reviews. I tend to be on the pro-side.

As it so happens, I was driving up to Mont Tremblant with my husband when Julia Wines launched their campaign of fancy-ing up dépanneur wines back at the end of August. My husband was listening to a Quebecois radio show hosted by Denis Arcand. He had one of the distributors’ representatives on his show that morning.

One question that struck me as relevant was the following. Why would someone purchase a bottle of $65 wine at a convenience store without knowing exactly what it was? But they have a found a way to accommodate the client, through their website. With a quick click you have the power to determine what you’re paying for. Even cleverer, most bottles have a box on them that can be scanned with your cellphone with a simple download of an application. Once clicked, it will take you directly to the bottle’s information card.

A sidenote. Most acclaimed wineries around the world only produce a controlled amount of their batches of wine. Classic supply and demand. By limiting what they put out, there’s a constant demand and higher pricing. Julia Wine buys off the excess wine that these wine makers have. Thus the quality of the wine is far superior.

I can only see what Julia Wine has done as a positive action for everyone. They have made quality wine affordable and easily available. This can and will benefit the wine community.



Wine boxes – classy or trashy?

I’ve been met time and time again with either drastically positive or negative feedback when I bring up the wine box question. From the most educated sommelier to average wine drinkers, it just seems that the wine box has gotten a bad wrap over the years. I, on the other hand, find that the wine box is a brilliant and economical invention. BUT, it depends where you buy it.

I don’t understand how someone who enjoys wine, can’t also be a smart shopper? Wine boxes have come long way…

The Alcohol Commission in Quebec doesn’t believe in more for less. Their pricing always comes down to what it would cost for one bottle. Therefore, if you’re trying to buy in bulk in terms of cases, it’ll still cost the same per bottle. Which is the same concept with the wine box – if the box contains the equivalent of three bottles, then you’re going to be charged for three bottles. Sure the wine’s quality is a little better in the boxes sold at the commission, but why buy a box when you can get three bottles for the same price, right?

You need to get savvy if you want to save money with the box – which in all honesty is the main reason I buy wine boxes. My husband has a rather large family, so it makes more sense to get boxes for our family functions.

More wine for less

More wine for less

Do your research. How much would you normally pay for a bottle? Normally it will contain 4 litres – the equivalent of about 5.5 standard bottles of wine. In Quebec, we can purchase wine at the convenience store, supermarket and even Costco. There’s some really great brands available in box format. Most boxes will vary between $30-$40. Keep an eye out for sales or rebates, the better wines are always around the $40 mark – you can get them for $30-$35 on sale most of the time.

As many of you have already read in my previous posts, I’m partial to Wallaroo Trail wines, as well as the Toro Loco brand. Due to the vacuum sealed bag, I find the wine doesn’t ‘go bad.’

Come on…. Wine boxes aren’t that bad.