Montreal

Quebec wants to make local wines available at grocery stores

Local wine could soon be available on grocery store shelves across the province after the Couillard government tabled a bill Thursday authorizing its sale outside SAQs.

Quebec wine and cider producers can currently only sell their products wineries and SAQs

Quebec wine could soon be widely available in grocery stores, not just SAQs. (Radio-Canada)

Local wine could soon be available on grocery store shelves across the province after the Couillard government tabled a bill Thursday authorizing its sale.

Finance Minister Carlos Leitao tabled a bill on Thursday that would authorize the sale of local wines — along with ciders and ice wines -— outside of SAQs.

The move, which was promised by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard following his 2014 election victory, is an attempt to give producers in the province greater access to the local market. 

'We can increase our visibility'

At the moment, Quebec wine producers can only sell bottles at wineries and SAQs.

Local producers, not surprisingly, welcomed the proposed change.

Léon Courville, who runs a vineyard in Lac Brome, said the SAQ can be a "complex and not always profitable" network to navigate.

With grocery stores, he said, "we can increase our visibility."

Microbeweries also stand to benefit

The bill is also intended to help local microbreweries, as well, by allowing them to sell bottles of beer to go.

Frédérick Tremblay, head of Quebec's association of microbreweries, said the change would provide a big boost, particularly during the tourist season.

Not everyone is happy with the proposed bill, however.

Quebec distillers won't be allowed to sell directly to customers, because they use products from outside the province to produce vodka, gin and whisky.

Nicolas Duvernois, head of PUR Vodka, said local distillers should have been consulted.

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