Day #3 of Sélections Mondiales des Vins Canada started with a presentation about Quebec’s wine market by wine personality Réal Wolfe, Directeur Général of Francs Vins, leading agent into SAQ, Québec’s Monopole. From his speech on the role of promotional wine agents, I share with you (window shopping wine snobs excluded) the basics to access one of the main world wine markets.


Some figures: Québecoises consume 23 litres of wine per capita per year; total volume is around 16 million cases (of 12 bottles) and the turnover is above 3 billion Canadian Dollars. The average price is 14,45 CAD and the SAQ Monopole has more than 12000 active alcoholic references. So how do you get in? “Finding a good agent that will act on your behalf is the best way”, Wolfe says. A good agent will make an annual plan for your brand, will be attentive to all new bids and promotional plans in your category. Unlike other historical wine producing countries the ensemble of Portuguese wine regions are included in the same SAQ category, meaning that Portuguese shelve space is narrow and underrated. Thank God Port is in other category. What are the contracting rules that you must comply? An agent will charge you between 10-12% of total turnover. Than you must take good notice that your offer must include a promotional sum, from 10% to a fee per case. To enter SAQ your product will be evaluated according to an extensive score sheet where brand notoriety is a key issue. So please prepare a good dossier de press with all articles and medals on your wine. If you can overcome all those steps and get yourself a good agent, please remember that you will still probably fail: if the chance of entering as a deputy and underperforming niche wine specialty is already scarse, only 1300 regular wine references from all over the world are present in all SAQ wine shops. Would you like to know how many are Portuguese?


Sobre Aníbal Coutinho

Anibal Coutinho lives in Lisboa and he is a Portuguese independent wine commentator. For the first time ever a well known Portuguese professional is writing in English about Portuguese wines. Using the letter W for his wine philosophy, Anibal shares his passionate view as a wine consumer, winemaker, wine writer, wine voyeur, wine bullshitter, wine buyer, wine educator, wine judge and amateur sommelier. He has a MSc and an ongoing PhD in Sensory Analysis. He will also share his passion about other W liquids. Anibal sings in the Gulbenkian Choir. Last but not least he is a devoted husband and father.
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