If you are looking for a place to buy Quebec wine in the Sherbrooke area, there is a good chance that you will find what you are looking for at a Bières depot Au Vent du Nord branch!
Already having two points of sale, this specialized grocery store will open two additional branches in the Sherbrooke region in 2022, at the same time as it celebrates its twentieth anniversary.
Although beer occupies a good part of the shelves, Au Vent du Nord offers an increasingly large place to Quebec wines. We discussed it with Émile Cardinal-Bernier, co-owner of the company.
Since when has your company been interested in Quebec wines?
When Bill 88 – which allows Quebec wine to be sold in grocery stores – was adopted [in 2015], we were on board! Since then, we have expanded our selection and we offer around fifty Quebec wines. This is a booming sector. We really have everything now.
How do you present Quebec wines to unfamiliar customers?
Personally, as I have a sommelier training, I try to find out what customers drink from more traditional regions. Depending on their response, I am able to find Quebec equivalents that will remind them of Pinot Noir, Sauvignon, etc. These are references that customers like to have.
Often people are very open to discovery and just want a wine that goes with their meal. The “wine and food pairing” formula always works very well.
The pandemic has a big impact for us. We have never sold so many Quebec wines as in the first six months of 2020. Since then, many people have got into the habit of buying Quebec and have discovered that Quebec wine is good! There is always educational work to be done, but curiosity and customers are there.
Can we establish a common profile for Quebec wines?
Less and less. Five or six years ago, Quebec products were often compared to fresher wines, Beaujolais style. This is still true, but less and less.
Producers will look for other palettes of completely different flavors, by going into natural wine, for example, or by favoring facilities that give more maturity to the wine. We quietly deviate from the palette of light reds that characterized Quebec wines.
Quebec wines are a very wide range of products! Just taste it!