La Boîte à Vins has been promoting Quebec wines since 2018 by offering a wide variety of bottles. The company has found its niche with a business model that combines two stores (in Montreal and Longueuil) and a web portal allowing you to receive your purchases directly at your doorstep. We spoke with Louis-Philippe Mercier, owner and co-founder of the company.
Tell us the story of your business…
My business partners and I come from the restaurant industry. When Bill 88 [adopted in 2016 and allowing the sale of Quebec wines in grocery stores] began to be discussed, the idea of building a 100% Quebec wine merchant seemed interesting to us. Our business model is similar to that of a delicatessen or a convenience store specializing in microbrewery beers, but with a “home delivery” component via Web orders.
What made you want to offer local wines in your business?
Our primary motivation is really to promote local purchasing. We want to serve as a showcase for Quebec wines. Today, we work with a hundred food producers, including 70 Quebec vineyards.
What advice would you give to a consumer who wants to discover Quebec wines?
The best way to discover Quebec wines is first to introduce the grape varieties that are grown here. I would start with the hybrid vines, which are truly emblematic of our terroir: the frontenac, the marquette, the vidal, etc. We make very accessible wines here with very few transformations, few sulphites.
What perception of Quebec wines would you like to change with your work?
Unfortunately, we still hear prejudices, particularly towards red wines. The wines produced here are fruity and light, but Quebec drinkers often tend to compare their Quebec wine with other wine regions.
Never, in Europe, would we compare a Chablis to a Bordeaux. Why would we do it here? Quebec is a wine region like any other, with its own particularities that reflect its territory and its artisans.
Do you believe that the enthusiasm for Quebec wines is sustainable?
With the pandemic, interest in buying local has exploded and Quebec wine has benefited: we have seen a meteoric increase in sales. In 2020, people have discovered or rediscovered Quebec wines. And in 2021, they came back! Interest is still high. The production of Quebec wines does not yet meet the demand of Quebecers. We’re literally running out of juice!