Quebec wine lovers, beware the price of wine is going up.

The SAQ, the Crown corporation that distributes and sells liquor and wine in the province, says it has to raise prices to keep up with inflation.

Every February for the past few years, the SAQ has increased its prices by at least five cents a bottle, but this year, some bottles are becoming significantly more expensive.

According to VinQuebec.com, a magazine on wines available in the province, the price of some wines has gone up 70 cents this month.

Yves Mailloux, the president of the Great Wine Tasting Club of Montreal, says the SAQ’s constant increasing of prices has had, and will continue to have, some negative consequences.

“It has reached a level [where]… some people have decided to drink less wine or stop drinking wine,” he says.

Mailloux says that the price increase has further reduced the number of affordable wines available at the SAQ.

He says that four years ago, about 1,000 wines at $15 or less were available at the SAQ. Now, there are 590 wines in that same price range.

The SAQ’s recent announcement of adding six new wines under $11 does little to staunch the exodus of cheaper wines from store shelves.

SAQ wine

The number of wines under $15 has been halved over the past five years. (CBC)

“There are so many wines available on this planet, that they could choose some less expensive wine,” Mailloux says.

Meanwhile, wine sales at the SAQ have decreased, according to the company’s financial reports. Mailloux says the decrease in sales is directly linked to the increase in prices.

SAQ officials would not do an interview on the price increases on Thursday, noting that prices needed to increase in order to keep up with inflation.

The number of wines available at the SAQ in four price ranges over five years:

March 2009 Nov. 2012 Jan. 2013 Feb. 4, 2014 Feb. 5, 2014
-$10 183 90 67 30 26
-$15 1040 902 895 638 590
$15-20 1262 1721 1635 1599 1568
$20+ 4658 5636 5749 5778 5905

Source: VinQuebec.com