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.