Tite Frette: more and more local wines

With about twenty branches throughout Quebec and several others in the works, Tite Frette is establishing itself as an important player on the market. Initially known for its selection of local beers, the chain is increasingly investing in the sale of local spirits, ciders and, of course, local wines! We talk about it with Karl Magnone, president of Tite Frette. 

Tite Frette

We know Tite Frette for its microbrewery beers, but what made you interested in Quebec wines?

We started doing so in 2019, when we opened our Cowansville location, right in the heart of the Wine Route, in the Eastern Townships. At that time, we hired a sommelier who told us that there were too few places dedicated only to Quebec wines. She convinced us to sell Quebec wines to test the interest and it was an immediate success. 

When we saw that it worked in Cowansville, we applied the formula in our other stores. Since then, it has become part of our business model to have a section dedicated to Quebec wines in each store.

What can you find there?

The range of wines varies from one store to another, but on average there are about 50 different products, sometimes more, sometimes less. In some boutiques, you can find up to 100 different products from the different wine regions of Quebec. 

How do you introduce Quebec wines to a clientele that is not familiar with them?

First, we have put in place a training plan that allows all our franchisees and their employees to understand the difference between Quebec wines and what is available elsewhere, and to know the different grape varieties and varietals available in Quebec. 

It also involves tasting: each franchisee and their employees take the time to taste the products they offer to their customers. They are then equipped to present Quebec wines to a neophyte clientele because they know what distinguishes Quebec wines. And because they have tasted them, they can find familiar taste references for this clientele.

What is your customer’s attitude towards Quebec wines?

All of our alcoholic beverages are increasingly in demand and wines are no exception! And generally, when you taste them, you adopt them. Expectations for Quebec wines have increased. Older customers, who have experienced another era, are often surprised by the quality. For younger people, it’s not surprising, it’s just good. They are very happy to simply discover good products from their region! 

What role would you like to see wine play in your company in the future?

The more wines we can have, the better! But we are limited by quantity. In beer production, we can always get hops and malt from elsewhere, but wine production is limited by the amount of vines that grow here.

But we definitely want to continue to increase our selection, add more wine coolers and continue to promote local products!

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